On the occasion of the month dedicated to the prevention of breast cancer, the recommendations of the experts on the foods to be preferred and those to be reduced
One in eight women in their lifetime falls ill with breast cancer. In 2020, about 55,000 new diagnoses are estimated, making this cancer the most frequent among women in all age groups (30.3% of the total number of cancers, excluding skin cancers). In addition to heredity and the presence of genetic mutations, there are other factors that increase the risk of getting sick: age, reproductive and hormonal factors, smoking, obesity, metabolic syndrome. High alcohol consumption and a diet high in animal fat and low in fiber would also be associated with an increased risk. Keeping your weight stable even after menopause, not smoking, exercising, reducing alcohol consumption, preferring a diet that includes a daily intake of fiber and about 400 grams of fruit and vegetables are choices that we can make every day to avert the risk of developing cancer, experts recommend.
What to bring to the table?
A varied and balanced diet is enough to meet micronutrient needs and protect against many types of cancers. The World Fund for Cancer Research (WCRF), which has been dealing with the relationship between cancer and nutrition for years, in 2007, after reviewing thousands of studies, summarized the scientific evidence in these simple precautions to follow at the table most important (in 2018 the latest update was published):
The first tip is to maintain the healthiest weight at every stage of life. Avoid putting on pounds in adulthood, and pay attention to children: those who are overweight or obese in childhood have a high probability of being so even as an adult. Excess weight and obesity are at the origin of 12 different cancers.
Eating whole grains, foods that contain fiber and vegetables protects against several types of cancer. The recommendation is therefore to eat at least 30 g of fiber and 400 g of fruit and vegetables every day.
Then pay attention to so-called junk foods, but also to processed and packaged foods and drinks such as milk shakes and colas, foods rich in fats, sugars and starches that contain many calories.
Limit your consumption of red meats and avoid processed ones. The ideal dose? Maximum 3 portions of red meat per week (equivalent to about 350 – 500 grams of cooked meat), and not to consume, or limit as much as possible, processed red meat, i.e. hams, sausages, etc.
Yellow light also for the consumption of sugary drinks. There is no scientific evidence that links the consumption of sugary drinks to the development of cancer, while it is clear that they contribute to overweight and obesity, which are related to 12 different types of cancer.
Limit your alcohol consumption. There are many data that show the link between the consumption of alcoholic beverages and the development of tumors. There is no threshold below which the risk does not increase: it is better not to drink alcohol.
Yes, on the other hand, to breastfeeding, which is good for both the mother, because it protects her from breast cancer, and for the baby, for growth with a lower risk of overweight and obesity.
Last recommendation? Exercise: the World Health Organization advises adults to move every day and to do at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of high-intensity activity every week. And, of course, stop smoking. Remember that tobacco is the leading preventable cause of disease and death worldwide and is also the leading cause of cancer development.