Fighting Breast Cancer with Food

06-24-2014 9:32 AM

The foods you eat can help to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. About one-third of breast cancers are related to diet and lifestyle choices.

One way Moncrief Cancer Institute, located in Fort Worth, Texas, is helping to educate patients on healthy diet choices is to first educate the doctors - or the doctors to be. Moncrief is part of UT Southwestern’s Harold C. Simmons Cancer Center. Moncrief, in collaboration with Texas Christian University’s Department of Nutritional Sciences and the University of North Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, is providing the first Culinary Medicine program in the North Texas area. This innovative program allows medical students an interactive, hands-on education in healthy cooking and eating. In turn, these future physicians will pass the knowledge they learn to their patients ultimately helping promote the prevention of disease, including breast cancer.

So, what are these medical students learning about diet and cancer prevention that you too can put to practice?

Here are some good tips for the upcoming summer:

Choose healthy portions of vegetables and fruits
Vegetables and fruits are loaded with cancer fighting properties including vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals, but are low in calories and fat. A plant-based diet high in vegetables and fruits can help to promote a healthy weight. Summer, when more produce is available locally, is a great time to experiment with new varieties and recipes.

  • Add fruit (strawberries, oranges, raspberries, etc.) to salads for flavor in place of high calorie dressings.
  • Burgers are popular this time of year. In place of chips, make a sliced tomato and cucumber salad to accompany this summertime favorite. This can provide you with a good dose of vitamin C and lycopene!

Choose whole grains
Whole grains provide you with valuable nutrients including antioxidants, B vitamins, iron, magnesium, and fiber.

  • Corn, often thought of as a vegetable, is actually a whole grain and can be a nutritious part of the diet. For a great summer treat, try grilled corn!

Choose more plant proteins
We’re talking beans, nuts, and seeds! Like other plant foods, these guys are a great source of cancer fighting nutrients as well as protein.

  • In place of high calorie queso, you can have a black bean salad. Mix black beans with chopped tomatoes, avocados, bell peppers, cilantro, and lime juice. This makes a great summertime dip or side dish!

To learn more healthy cooking ideas and how nutrition and breast cancer relate visit the American Institute for Cancer research at: http://www.aicr.org/reduce-your-cancer-risk/diet/

Stacy Shappley is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian who specializes in oncology nutrition. She received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics from Texas Christian University. For the past six years she has worked at Moncrief Cancer Institute helping individuals with cancer to live a healthy life through good nutrition.