An important new study found that a five point increase in a woman's BMI (Body Mass Index) ups her chances of being diagnosed with breast cancer. The scientists found that for a woman who is 5'4 tall a 28 pound weight gain between the ages of 20 and 50 would double her risk of developing breast cancer after menopause. The likely link is that body fat produces hormones and chemicals known to spur the development of abnormal cells and eventually lead to cancer.
I've had a lot of clients who put on 20 pounds within the first few years of being out of college, getting married or having a child, and as I mentioned in one of my posts last week, the average adult gains about two pounds per year, so 14 per decade. The good news is you can take control.
This is a truly personal topic for me because one of my closest girlfriends recently completed treatment for breast cancer. I developed an eating plan for her designed to help her control her weight and eat in a way that will reduce the chance of reoccurrence. When I gave it to her she said, "I wish I would have started eating this way a long time ago." It's never too late to start.
The best diet for both cancer prevention, weight control and overall health parallels all of my advice in this blog - eating at consistent times, choosing right-sized portions of fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins and plant-based fats and moving away from processed foods.
But for more info that's very specific to cancer there are a few resources I recommend. One is the book Anticancer, A New Way of Life, by David Servan-Schreiber, MD, PhD
. Another is the American Institute for Cancer Research.
In addition to an overall pattern of eating, there are some specific foods known to be potent cancer fighters. I recently did a segment for the CBS Early Show about 5 foods that fight breast cancer. Check back tomorrow for the list and ways to incorporate them into your diet.