Eating to Lower Risk of Breast Cancer {Guest Post}

Guest Post by Ashley Brainerd RD, CNSC, CSO Oncology Dietitian for Sinai-Grace Cancer Center at Detroit Medical Center

Breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women after skin cancer and is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Extensive research suggests that diet and exercise can help to prevent the risk and recurrence of breast cancer. Below are some tips on what you can do to lower your risk of breast cancer through diet and exercise:

  1. 30-60 minutes of moderate to strenuous exercise 5 days per week, preserve muscle mass with strength training (greater than 2 times per week)
  2. Eat a wide variety of fruits (2-3 servings per day) and vegetables (4-5 servings per day). Focus on big colors and strong flavors such as spinach, greens, blueberries, red grapes and bell peppers to name a few
  3. Choose complex carbohydrates such as non-starchy vegetables, beans/legumes, fruits and whole grains rather than sugars and foods made with white flour
  4. Choose healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados and fish and limit/avoid fried foods, fast foods, red meat and high fat condiments such as mayonnaise or ranch dressing
  5. Limit alcoholic beverages to 1 or less drinks per day. 1 drink= a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or 1 ½ ounces of liquor
  6. Reach and maintain a healthy weight: To safely lose weight, aim for no more than 1-2 pounds of weight loss per week. Watching portion sizes, limiting the calories and fat you eat and keeping active are all effective strategies for reaching weight loss goals.

It’s never too late to make healthy changes and lower your risk of breast cancer. So try out a new group fitness class such as zumba or cycling, add a handful of lettuce and a slice of tomato to your sandwich or swap out that cookie for an apple with low-fat peanut butter. Just a few small changes can lead to big results. If you need a little help getting started, speak with a Registered Dietitian near you!

About the Author

Ashley Brainerd, RD, CNSC, CSO, is a Registered Dietitian at the Detroit Medical Center, Outpatient Sinai-Grace Cancer Center. She received her Bachelors Degree in Science with an emphasis in Dietetics from Michigan State University and completed her Dietetic Internship at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Ashley is a Board Certified Specialist in Oncology Nutrition and a Certified Nutrition Support Clinician. She is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the Oncology Nutrition Dietetics Practice Group. Ashley has been working in the field of oncology since 2012 and is passionate in her role in educating and guiding patients throughout their cancer treatment and survivorship phases.

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