Breast cancer prevention diet
With this simple, low-fat eating plan you'll not only lose up to 7lb in a fortnight but more crucially you could also reduce your risk of developing breast cancer
The average British woman has a one in 10 chance of developing breast cancer. But that risk doubles to one in five if you gain three stone during your adult life. Lose just a stone of that weight gain and your risk can be reduced by up to 40 per cent.
Dr Michelle Harvie, from the breast cancer prevention team at Manchester's Nightingale Centre and Genesis Prevention Centre, has been studying the link between weight gain and breast cancer for the past 10 years.
'A study completed in the US in 2006 looked at 3,000 women who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Half were put on a low-fat diet during treatment, with the other half continuing with their existing diet,' reveals Dr Harvie. 'After seven years, they discovered that the women who had followed the low-fat diet were 25 per cent less likely to relapse than their counterparts who had continued with their comparatively unhealthy eating habits.'
As a result of these findings, Dr Harvie wrote 'The Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Diet' (Rodale, £10.99), an eating plan that both healthy women and breast cancer sufferers can follow to improve their health, whilst losing weight.
'There is no specific research as yet,' she says, 'but this diet will give healthy women the best possible chance of significantly reducing their chances of contracting breast cancer.'
Why does fat gain increase the risk of breast cancer?
'Fat cells in overweight people tend to behave differently from those in healthy people, producing more of the hormones that stimulate cancer,' explains Dr Harvie. 'Fat is the main production site of oestrogen after the menopause – and this is the major breast cancer-promoting hormone. Fat cells are also the major site for production of the hormone leptin, which is known to promote the growth of breast cancer. Furthermore, larger fat cells in overweight people reduce the amount of the hormone adiponectin that is produced – which is known to halt the spread of cancer.'
Diet, lifestyle and cancer - the good news…
• A diet rich in a variety of fruit and vegetables can help prevent the initiation of breast cancer, while reducing the spread of cancerous cells.
• According to the American Cancer Society, eating two or three servings of calcium-rich, low-fat dairy products is linked to lower breast cancer risk.
• Folic acid can be useful in the prevention of cancer.
…and the bad news
• Being overweight promotes the initiation, growth and spread of cancer cells.
• A lack of exercise doesn't affect the initiation of breast cancer, but it does promote the growth and spread of cancer cells.
• Alcohol can increase the initiation and promote the growth of cancerous cells.
The 14-day Genesis Breast Cancer Prevention Diet
The eating plan devised by Dr Harvie is not a guaranteed way to avoid the disease, but expert research built up over the last 60 years suggests that it will certainly help to reduce your risk. The extract below is only two weeks of an easily adaptable menu to help you change your eating habits – for life!
See the next two pages for week 1 and week 2 menus
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