Take our advice...
our advice ... on breast health
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. In recognition,
nutritionist Jennifer Lucas of U.Va.'s Cancer
Center offers some nutritional tips that may help women reduce
their risk of breast cancer and improve their overall health.
Avoid alcohol. Studies have established a link between
alcohol consumption and an increased risk of breast cancer,
although they have not determined the level of consumption that
increases that risk. An occasional drink may not be significantly
Soy products contain isoflavones, which researchers suggest
may protect against breast cancer by imitating human estrogen.
Lucas recommends consuming 30 to 50 milligrams a day from foods
like soy milk, soybeans, tofu, tempeh and soy nuts. One cup
of soy milk and a half-cup of tofu and tempeh each contain about
40 milligrams of isoflavones. (Soy sauce, however, has none.)
Eat your fruits and veggies. Besides being regular parts
of a generally healthy diet, fruits and vegetables also provide
chemicals called antioxidants, which repair naturally occurring
cell damage. They also provide a better, more natural source
of many nutrients and vitamins than dietary supplements.
Cut the fat. Studies on the role of fat in cancer are
divergent, although it has been shown that weight gain after
menopause increases the risk for breast cancer, and a low-fat
diet can address that. There is also a stronger link between
a low-fat diet and prevention of heart disease, which is the
No. 1 killer of women -- far beyond breast cancer. During October,
the U.Va. Medical Center is offering reduced-cost screening
mammograms. For information and to schedule an appointment,