Breast Cancer Awareness Month

In case you didn’t know why everything seems to come in pink now, or why all the football players were wearing pink gear yesterday, it’s because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This year is the 25th anniversary of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  Scary enough,  about 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.   Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among U.S. women. More than 1 in 4 cancers in women are breast cancer.  In more positive news, there were more than 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the U.S. in 2010 (statistics from  There are a few things you can do nutritionally to help lower your risk of breast cancer.

  • Maintain a healthy body weight throughout your life (BMI less than 25)
  • Exercise regularly
  • Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, especially cruciferous vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and brussel sprouts.  Cruciferous vegetables are known for their protecting against all cancers.
  • Keep fat consumption at less than 30% of your total intake.  Avoid saturated fats which come from meat and high-fat dairy products.  Try to eat more mono-unsaturated fats from canola and olive oils, nuts, seeds and avocados and omega-3 fatty acids from salmon, tuna, trout, flax seeds, chia seeds, and walnuts.
  • Limit red meat and meats cooked at high temperatures.  Cooking meats at high temperatures produces chemicals called heterocyclic amines (HCAs), which have been linked to an increased risk of certain cancers.  The most HCAs are found in meats that have been fried, broiled or grilled.  Roasting and baking produce fewer HCAs, and poaching, stewing or boiling meat produce the least.
  • Eat moderate amounts (1-2 servings) of non-GMO (genetically modified) soy products.  One serving equals 1/2 cup of tofu, tempeh, or edamame (shelled), 1 cup of soy milk or soy yogurt, or 1/4 cup or soy nuts.
  • Get plenty of vitamin D.  Vitamin D deficiency is linked to many cancers, including breast.  We get most of our vitamin D from sun exposure, but you can also get it from fortified milk products, salmon and sardines.  When looking for a multivitamin choose one with at least 100% DV of vitamin D.

Info from: Joy Bauer, RD at