Breast Cancer and Diet: Expert Tips

January 2024.

Following a healthy diet – including nutrient-dense, plant-based foods and lean animal proteins – may help breast cancer patients.

Nutritional science continues to sharpen our understanding of how food can either nourish a patient or contribute to the development of cancer.

With breast cancer specifically, research suggests that because it’s often a hormonally driven disease, controlling your weight and managing your diet can be helpful during treatment. It may also help decrease your chances of developing the disease in the first place.

The Mediterranean Diet Approach

The Mediterranean diet – consistently ranked No. 1 on U.S. News’ Best Diets Overall ranking – should be top on your list too.

“The best diet for health in general – and to reduce breast cancer risk – is the Mediterranean diet lifestyle approach, which focuses on whole-grain carbohydrates as a foundation, with loads of vegetables and fruit,” says Justine Friedman, a clinical dietitian and a mindset mentor in private practice and a mentor on Belong.Life’s Belong-Beating Cancer Together App, headquartered in New York.

This diet also emphasizes healthy fats, which can reduce inflammation, lower your risk of cancer and help make treatment more effective, adds Nicole Gunnare, an oncology dietitian with El Camino Health Cancer Center in Mountain View, California.

Olive oil, avocado, walnuts, flaxseeds and salmon, for instance, are all healthy fats that offer lots of omega-3 fatty acids, which lower inflammation. Just be sure to eat them in moderation because they can be calorie-dense.

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Justine Friedman, RDN
Friedman is a clinical dietician and a mindset mentor in private practice and a mentor on Belong.Life group on its Belong-Beating Cancer Together App, headquartered in New York.

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