Sample Meal Plan for Breast Cancer Prevention
How This Helps
When we refer to breast cancer, it is important to remember that breast cancer is a particularly aggressive type of cancer. Even though it is caught at an early stage, miniscule breast cancer cells like to hide from the view of the operating surgeon and chemotherapy or radiation specialists. These hidden cells are called micro metastases. It is because of these micro metastases that sometimes breast cancer can recur years later when the patient has been told they were “cured”.
Traditional Western medicine providers and large pharmaceutical companies have underplayed the importance of diet in breast cancer. In the practice of holistic medicine, I do not advocate nor discourage one type of treatment over another. This diet plan is not intended to replace a mastectomy, for example. However, specific foods CAN be used to not only reduce the risk of breast cancer and prevent its recurrence, but also improve recovery from conventional breast cancer treatments, namely surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. A holistic approach to breast cancer can augment benefits from each modality of treatment.
This plan for Breast Cancer prevention diet provides an example of a full day’s healthy diet, inspired by Asian cuisine. Prevention is always better than cure. Therefore, the focus of the meals are on foods that reduce the risk of getting breast cancer or, if the person has already been diagnosed with it, foods that reduce its recurrence.
Foods that have been shown to have this potential include cruciferous vegetables, black pepper and foods with soluble fiber.
- • Cruciferous vegetables
- - This includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and bok choy
- - A large study showed that cruciferous vegetables reduced breast cancer risk by 15%.
Broccoli is particularly rich in compounds known as glucosinolates, which, when ingested, are converted to sulforaphane and indole-3-carbinol. These have both been proven to have anti-cancer properties. In a large review of studies done involving more than 18000 women, researchers in China found that cruciferous vegetables reduced breast cancer risk by 15%. This study was published in 2012.
- • Black pepper
- - The key compound in black pepper, which prevents breast cancer, is piperine. In order for tumors to grow and spread, they need to form a network of blood vessels that can supply it with nutrients from the body. This is a process known as angiogenesis. A study published in 2012 in the Journal of Nutrition and Biochemistry proved that the dietary phytochemical, piperine, slowed down tumor growth and progression by preventing angiogenesis.
- • Soluble fiber foods:
- - Good sources of foods with soluble fiber include oatmeal, apples, nuts, lentils, pears, flaxseeds, blueberries, carrots and cucumbers.
- A review published in the Annals of Oncology 2012 that followed women who ate diets rich in soluble fiber over many years showed that every 10g of soluble fiber reduces a woman’s breast cancer risk by 26%.
Breakfast: Oatmeal with Blueberries
- 1. Bring milk or non-dairy substitute to boil in a saucepan
- 2. Add in the oats and cook over low heat until it is thickened or until your desired consistency
- 3. Top off with blueberries
- 4. Optional: sweeten with a drizzle of honey or add flavor with a dash of cinnamon
Lunch: Teriyaki Chicken with Brown Rice and Broccoli
- 1. Cook the brown rice in a rice cooker/pot – 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water
- 2. While the rice is cooking, chop up the broccoli and chicken into small pieces
- 3. Make the sauce in a separate bowl: 2 tbsp. soy sauce, 2 tbsp. honey, 1 tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 tbsp. mirin, minced garlic and ginger
- 4. In a large pan, fry together the broccoli and chicken. Once it is half cooked, pour in the sauce. Let everything simmer together for about 10 minutes until fully cooked.