Breast Cancer Risk: The Best Plant-Based Diets for Postmenopausal Women
- Researchers have found that a diet that is based on plants can lower the risk of developing breast cancer in postmenopausal women.
- The FDA warns that a poor plant-based diet that includes processed food items and added sugars may actually increase the risk of breast cancer.
- Experts suggest making small, incremental adjustments as you add more fruits or vegetables, nuts, and whole grains into your daily diet.
Consuming a balanced plant-based diet that includes whole grains and seeds, nuts and legumes as well as fruits can lower the risk of developing breast cancer among postmenopausal women.
But, a poor plant-based diet may increase the risk. The most unhealthy plant-based diets are ones that consist of a large amount of refined and highly processed food items as well as added sugars.
According to a brand new study that was conducted in France and released in Current Advances of Nutrition.
The study looked at the intake of food for postmenopausal women in the age group of 65,574. The information about health and diet was collected from 1993 to 2014.
The results were analyzed by determining whether women were diagnosed with breast cancer during the time during the course of study. The research funding was provided by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation.
The study found that an energizing plant-based diet was associated with a lower risk of developing breast cancer whereas a poor plant-based diet was linked to an increased risk of developing breast cancer.
The authors of the study say that their research further underscores the importance of the quality of food in the fight against cancer.
What do nutrition experts have to say about nutrition experts’ opinions?
The findings come as no unexpected for Amy Bragagnini MS, RD, CSO, an oncology nutrition specialist at Trinity Health Lacks Cancer Center in Michigan and representative of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
Similar to Kristin Kirkpatrick MS RDN who is the chief dietitian and manager for Wellness Nutrition Services at Cleveland Clinic Wellness and Preventive Medicine.
Bargaining warns that the distinction between unhealthy and healthy can be inaccurate when it comes to eating plant-based, especially when you consider that healthy food items like broccoli that are consumed excessively are not necessarily better for you and might not be good for digestion.
She also says that eating unhealthy food in moderate amounts (for example, a serving of two portions of potato chips once in a while) is still a part of a healthy well-balanced diet.
For Kirkpatrick, The most significant conclusion from the research is foods made from plants with high levels of sugar and refined grains do not belong in the same class of benefits, for instance, fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains.
Tips from experts on eating healthy during menopausal
Experts advise you to alter your eating habits at any time however, it is particularly important during menopausal and postmenopausal.
They recommend focusing on the below recommendations from nutrition experts.
One tiny change at one time
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” says Bragnanini.
She suggests that the most effective approach to lower health risks in postmenopausal women is to make small adjustments.
Find out what changes can be implemented (for instance drinking more water and moving your body or limiting the sugars you add) and gradually implement strategies to help the changes stick. They will eventually turn into healthy routines she suggests.
Reduce the amount of added sugars
“Foods and beverages containing added sugar are generally filled with extra calories and may not add nutritional value to the diet,” says Bragnanini.
Being aware of sugar added levels by looking at the label on food items is a good place to start, she suggests.
Kirkpatrick states that the connection between sugar added to foods and the risk of developing cancer is well-documented.
She explains that for instance, a new study by the Trusted Source identified a possible connection between sweetened drinks that contain sugar and cancer.
Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.
Experts have established that increasing the amount of consumption of vegetables and fruits helps reduce the risk of cancer.
Bargaining suggests that you increase your consumption of vegetables by cooking more meals that use vegetables as the basis.
“It is important that we are all aiming to consume 5 to 7-plus servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but if a client is only taking in 2 servings a day, I generally don’t ask them to shoot for 7 servings immediately, as that rarely is a goal that can be reached right away,” she says.
Instead, Bragagnini suggests making modifications like substituting foods with lower nutritional value for vegetables and fruits. For instance, you could choose pancakes with blueberries rather than chocolate chips.
Experts also stress that it is important to consider non-dietary strategies to reduce the risk of cancer for postmenopausal women. These strategies include enough exercise, managing stress levels, as well as reducing consumption of alcohol.