Originally published October 27 2009
Prevent Breast Cancer with Vitamin D and a Vegan Diet
by Allison Biggar, citizen journalist
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(NaturalNews) In 1940, the risk of a woman getting breast cancer was one in 20. Today that number is one in eight. Risk factors for breast cancer include genetics, family history, and diet. Western diets have changed dramatically since 1950- and not for the better. As our food is filled with more preservatives, toxins, and unnatural fillers and as fast food restaurants appear on every corner, cancer rates consequently have skyrocketed.
The best cure is prevention. The National Cancer Institute estimates that as much as 80% of cancer cases are preventable. Maintaining a healthy diet is the number one thing you can do to prevent yourself from getting breast cancer. A diet low in sugar, dairy, and meat and high in leafy greens, fruits and vitamin D can prevent disease and promote well-being.
Vitamin D is an immune system booster that aids the body in attacking breast cancer cells by preventing them from dividing and multiplying. "Vitamin D is a key component in helping the body respond to many different kinds of assaults and stimuli," says Robert Heaney, Ph.D., professor of medicine at Creighton University. "In the absence of it, you're asking the body to defend itself with one hand tied behind its back."
You can get vitamin D from mushrooms, dark leafy green vegetables, fish oil, soymilk and rice milk. In the summer, spend some time in the sun. Sunlight exposure stimulates vitamin D production in the skin. According to Dr. Oz, host of The Dr. Oz Show, fair-skinned people need about 10-15 minutes of sunshine a day while darker skinned individuals can benefit from up to an hour of sun exposure. In the winter months Dr. Oz recommends taking vitamin D supplements.
In addition to getting enough vitamin D, maintaining a healthy diet is key to breast cancer prevention. Breast cancer survivor Elaine Sloan attributes her vegan diet to keeping her cancer-free for 17 years since her diagnosis.
"Before my mastectomy, I ate lots of eggs, cheese, and other dairy products," says Sloan. "I knew I had to make some changes if I wanted to live a long, healthy life. My son suggested I consider a vegan diet. After reading that high-fat diets may well contribute to breast cancer, I knew that going vegan would be a step in saving my life in the future."
Studies have shown that a diet high in animal products and dairy- which is full of hormones and saturated fat- can cause breast cancer, while vegan diets can help prevent and even reverse it. A vegan diet is a plant-based diet where all animal products such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, and dairy are avoided.
There are several ways that a vegan diet reduces the risk of breast cancer. When our body is overloaded with toxins, it is unable to fight off disease. However, the body naturally wants to heal itself and we can help it do that by eating the proper nutrition. According to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "People consuming a low-fat vegetarian diet tend to have higher levels of natural killer cells, which appear to make the immune system more effective in destroying tumors."
A diet high in animal fat, especially the carcinogens found in cooked red meat, and the fat-soluble hormones found in milk from cows can be toxic to your system. According to Arthur Upton, former Director of The National Cancer Institute, "Both breast cancer and colon cancer have been generally associated with the level of consumption of animal fat."
A diet high in fruits and vegetables is beneficial because of the phytochemicals found in produce, which aid the immune system in destroying tumors. Plant-based dieters tend to get the recommended amount of servings of produce while those following a typical Western diet do not.
Western countries have much higher rates of breast cancer than Asian countries such as Japan where the diet is much lower in animal fat. When Japanese women are raised on Western diets, their breast cancer risk dramatically increases.
"A Harvard Medical School study of more than 90,000 women revealed that the women who ate the most meat were nearly twice as likely to develop breast cancer as those who did not eat much meat," says Sloan. "Personally, I don't need another study to tell me that meat, eggs, and dairy products are unhealthy and vegan foods are wholesome and beneficial. I can feel the difference for myself."
Following a vegan diet has many health benefits. "Since I switched to a vegan diet, my energy level has increased, my cholesterol level has decreased, and I feel healthier overall," says Sloan. "But the best health benefit is the peace of mind I get from knowing that I'm much less likely to have a breast cancer relapse."
www.cnn.com, Rhodes, Phillip, "Vitamin D is hot! Here's how to get it" http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/diet...
www.holisticvoice.org, Sloane, Elaine, "How I Beat Breast Cancer with a Vegan Diet and You Can Too" http://www.holisticvoice.org/3d%20E...
www.cancerproject.org, "Cancer Prevention and Survival" http://www.cancerproject.org/surviv...
About the authorAllison Biggar is a writer and filmmaker who believes in using the media to empower people to make a difference.
Allison is directing a documentary on people who have cured themselves of disease naturally without drugs, surgery, chemotherapy or radiation.
You can visit her Natural Health web site at www.holisticvoice.org.
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