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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Can a healthy diet reduce the risk of breast cancer?

    As breast cancer tends to run in the family, I am doing my best to lead a healthy lifestyle which includes eating lots of fruits and vegetables. Can this reduce my risk of getting breast cancer?
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  • 1

    Thanks

    Janice Bartley

    Massage Therapist, Western Herbal Medicine Practitioner

    Janice Bartley is a university qualified Medical Herbalist who fosters an evidence-based integrative approach to healthcare. Integrative healthcare focuses on the complexities of each individual’s … View Profile

    Absolutely yes! Congratulations for having the insight and taking the initiative to think about your long term health picture. The best cure for cancer is prevention and a healthy diet is a big part of the prevention strategy.

    A healthy diet that is overflowing with fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains and low fat dairy is best. Fruits and vegetables in particular are a great source of fibre, vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals and antioxidants; these antioxidants can destroy cancer-causing agents (carcinogens) and cancer cells before they develop into a more serious problem.

    Overweight and obesity are strong risk factors for some types of cancer, fruit and vegetables play a really useful role in helping to maintain a healthy body weight because they are low in energy (kilojoules or calories) and high in fibre, which helps us to feel fuller and may help us eat less!

    So eat a rainbow and exercise every day, limit or cease your alcohol consumption, don’t smoke, get a good night’s sleep every night, and look for ways to manage stress in your life. If you can manage to do all of these things cancer will have a very hard time catching up with you!

    Keep up the good work!

  • 1

    Thanks

    Chris Fonda

    Dietitian, Nutritionist, Sports Dietitian

    As an Accredited Sports Dietitian, APD and athlete (springboard diver), Chris has both professional and personal experience in sport at the sub-elite and elite level.Chris … View Profile

    The World Cancer Research Fund recommends the following dietary and lifestyle guidelines for prevention of all cancers:

    • Be as lean as possible, maintaining a healthy body weight without becoming underweight
    • Be physically active for at least 30 minutes each day
    • Avoid food and drink that promote weight gain (e.g. sugary drinks, and limit energy dense foods)
    • Eat more of a variety of plant based foods such as fruits, vegetables, and pulses
    • Limit the consumption of red meats and avoid processed meat
    • If consuming at all, limit consumption of alcohol to 2 standard drinks per day for both men and women
    • Limit the consumption of salty foods and foods processed with salt
    • Don't use dietary supplements to protect against cancer alone, and
    • Support and encourage mothers to breastfeed exclusively for up to 6 months.

    I hope this helps. For more specific examples seek the expert advice from an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD). You can find one at www.daa.asn.au

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