Breast Cancer and Diet: Advice From A Dietician

November 2, 2020

October is breast cancer awareness month, and in order to do our part to raise awareness on breast cancer, we spoke to Temitope Alao-Sanni, a registered dietician and nutritionist at Diet Tech Africa, on how diet affects terminal illnesses such as cancer, and health tips people can follow.

How does food affect cancer doc?  

There are some foods that are classified as pro-inflammatory. Diets that consist of a lot of these foods could increase the risk of breast cancer, while diets that encourage anti-inflammatory foods will reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, according to several research and clinical trials. 

What are pro-inflammatory foods? 

It basically means food that supports inflammation, and inflammation can play a significant role in developing cancer or tumors

So, examples of such food include?

Sugar, fried foods, processed meat, alcohol, fatty fast food.

*Puts down cookies and ice cream* Excuse me? 

Well, sugar, for example, needs about five minutes to travel into the bloodstream and cause an increase in blood sugar levels. Taking a lot of sugary foods at a sitting may lead to an excess amount of sugar and glucose in the bloodstream. 

Omo, what about fried foods and processed meat?

Cooking foods using frying and other methods that require very high temperature can result in having compounds called Advanced Glycation End-products (AGEs) in your food. AGEs are pro-inflammatory. Also, reheating oils to fry foods can increase the trans fat. 

Trans fat is bad? 

Yes. Trans fat is harmful and women who eat foods high in trans fat have high levels of inflammation. Processed meat however, usually refers to red meat that has undergone curing, or some sort of processing to lengthen its shelf life or improve playability. Due to the methods involved in processing meat, it contains high amounts of inflammatory compounds.

Is there anything that can combat these? Because this is tew much?

Although these foods are considered pro-inflammatory, it is good to note that low to moderate consumption can be tolerable, and no single food is capable of causing a disease by itself. 

There are anti-inflammatory foods that fight against inflammation in the body and prevent increased rate of cell division. Foods like tomatoes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds, fatty fish e.g titus, salmon sardines,olive oil, herbs and spices. 

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