Did you know October is Vegetarian and Breast Cancer awareness month?
Breast Cancer Facts
Breast cancer is the most common type of cancer found in women and is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States. Breast cancer affects both men and women. In the US, one in eight women and one in 833 men are diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2022, around 287,500 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed in US women.
Although no direct cause of breast cancer has been established, genetics, environmental, and lifestyle factors play a role in increasing breast cancer risk. Reducing smoking and alcohol consumption has been linked with breast cancer prevention, however, incorporating a healthy lifestyle with a well-balanced diet and physical activity, has been shown to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer and improve the chances of survival, if breast cancer occurs. A way to increase fruit and vegetable consumption is to try a vegetarian diet. Vegetarian diets focus on consuming more plant-based foods that are high in fiber, minerals, and vitamins.
Benefits of Eating Vegetarian
Animal products are the only source of cholesterol that are the primary source of saturated fats and fats that contribute to high cholesterol and heart disease, that we have in our diet. Choosing to avoid eating meat and other animal products can contribute to a much healthier lifestyle, and even lower your risk of diseases, like cancer!
Studies have found that vegetarians are 40% less likely to develop cancer when compared to those who eat meat.
- 80% of food poisoning comes from consuming contaminated meat.
- It takes 2500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of meat, but only 25 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of wheat.
Types of Vegetarians:
- Lacto-ovo: Do not eat meat, fish, or poultry, but still consume eggs and dairy.
- Lacto: Do not eat meat, fish, poultry, or eggs, but still consume dairy.
- Vegans: Do not eat any animal products, including dairy and eggs.
Although there are different types of vegetarian/plant-based diets, all diets focus on increasing whole foods, as it can help with the prevention of disease.
Eating a plant-based diet for reducing breast cancer risk
As stated previously, eating a vegetarian diet has been linked to a reduced risk of developing breast cancer. Incorporating whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, vegetables, and fruits can improve healthy eating habits but also has the benefits of high fiber, antioxidants, essential vitamins, and minerals.
Studies have shown that fiber plays a role in reducing the risk of breast cancer by controlling blood sugar levels and decreasing estrogen in the body. Along with this, antioxidants such as beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, and zinc have been studied to decrease oxidative stress and inhibit cancer cell growth.
Going completely vegetarian or vegan is not the only way to get the beneficial effects of plant-based foods. Incorporating vegetarian/vegan meals and snacks throughout your week can be a fun and interesting way to try out new fruits, veggies, legumes, and grains; a wonderful way to reduce breast cancer risk!