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NMU 150 – Foods Preventing Breast Cancer Update 2017

Nutrition / Natural Medicine Update No 150 (Dec 12, 2019)

with Dr. James Meschino


Topic: Diet and Breast Cancer Prevention Update

Source: Journal “Nutrients” (July 2017)


Globally, breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the major cause of cancer-related death among females. Genetic risk factors for breast cancer, which means inheriting the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation, account for only 5 to 10% of breast cancer cases. We know that the risk of breast cancer in women is also associated with hormonal, lifestyle and reproductive factors. For instance, breast cancer risk is also increased in women who reach menarche at an earlier age and in women who do not have a full-term pregnancy by age 30, or who have not breastfed their infants or have breastfed for only a short duration. Breast cancer risk is also higher in women who have used birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy, and in women who are obese, are diabetic, consume alcohol on a regular basis, even to a moderate degree, and in women who are nightshift workers, which disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm and melatonin secretion patterns. In addition to these factors, a large meta-analysis looking at the link between dietary patterns and risk of various types of cancer showed convincing evidence that breast cancer is one of the cancers where dietary influences showed a strong relationship. In fact, major studies suggest that up to 50% of breast cancer cases are avoidable via more prudent dietary practices.

Published in the journal “Nutrients” in July 2017, a team of researchers reviewed the published evidence highlighting the specific foods and their medicinal ingredients that appear to be most strongly linked to the prevention of breast cancer. To summarize the research paper the evidence supports the regular consumption of the following foods:

  • Soybeans and related soy foods
  • Citrus fruits, and some other fruits including Pomegranate (or pomegranate juice), Apples, Grapes, Some Berries (bilberries and strawberries) and Mangosteen fruit (from islands of southeast Asia)
  • Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, bok choy, turnips)
  • Two Medicinal Mushrooms: Oyster Mushrooms and Reishi Mushrooms
  • Some High Fiber Cereals (i.e. wheat fiber)

Certain spices also show impressive anti-breast cancer properties, which include:

  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Black Cumin
  • Red Chili Peppers
  • Black Pepper
  • Saffron

As the researchers conclude, “the anti-breast cancer effects of these natural products involve various mechanisms of action such as inhibiting proliferation of tumor cells, migration tumor cells, metastasis of tumor cells and angiogenesis of tumor cells, inducing programmed cell death of breast cancer cells (apoptosis) and cell cycle arrest, and sensitizing tumor cells to radiotherapy and chemotherapy.”

If this subject is of interest to you I suggest that you click on the link below and read the research review paper for yourself to gain a deeper understanding of the mechanisms through which these foods and their medicinal ingredients exert anti-breast cancer effects. I think it is important to research for women to be aware of.

I have included a link to the research paper below.


Li Y, Li S, Meng X, Gan RY, Zhang JJ, Li HB. Dietary natural products for the prevention and treatment of breast cancer. Nutrients (review). 2017, 9,728


Eat Smart, Live Well, Look Great,

Dr. Meschino

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