Roughly one in eight women in the United States will develop breast cancer during their lifetime – that’s roughly 12% of our population.
While the incidence of breast cancer in men was significantly lower, we should note that they are not immune to the disease.
As a dietitian, I have always promoted a healthier diet and although I do not have a “dietary cure” for breast cancer, I can recommend better options for reducing one’s risk. There is no single food that will prevent you from developing breast cancer, but a healthy and balanced diet consisting of fresh fruits & vegetables, dairy products and low-fat protein, will definitely help.
Some nutritionists have started promoting the benefits of mushrooms and mushroom powder to reduce breast cancer risk. Again, no single food can ward off cancer but the nutrients in mushrooms and powder form are undeniable.
Mushrooms stimulate the immune system, reduce blood pressure for some people, and are even believed to fight disease. Mushroom powder contains a certain amount of beta glucan, which has been shown to activate leukocytes. Leukocytes are involved in fighting foreign substances and diseases, such as white blood cells.
Mushrooms aside for now, I firmly believe that one of the best ways to start your day is with a breakfast parfait, which is a very healthy component. I have provided this version before but during this breast cancer awareness month it is important to emphasize it again.
This breakfast parfait is loaded with antioxidants and omega 3. It will keep you full and keep you going in the morning, but more importantly, it will provide you with the nutrients your body needs to stay healthy.
My recipe calls for blueberries but you can substitute strawberries or blackberries, or use a mixture of the three. Walnuts are most nutritious but replace them occasionally with pumpkin seeds. With this recipe, you will also get the healthy fats that your body needs. Feel free to try it for a week or two – it might even become a daily habit.
BREAKFAST PARFAITS (Serves 1)
1 cup low-fat Greek yogurt (preferably plain)
2/3 cup blueberries (frozen or fresh)
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
To prepare the parfait, in a bowl, coat about ½ the yogurt and top it with berries. Sprinkle about half the seeds and walnuts.
Repeat layers and serve.
(Candy Work is a certified physician assistant and registered nutritionist. She has been practicing at the Olean Medical Group since 2015.)