Health and Wellness

Nutrition and Breast Cancer

An internist in Orange County, California, Dr. Bajpai received her medical degree from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and completed a Post-doctoral Clinical Nutrition Fellowship at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition.

The foods you eat certainly influence your overall health, and can contribute to reducing your risk of breast cancer development and recurrence. Just that piece of information is very empowering, because eating is something we do every day! This means that each and every day you have an opportunity to take care of yourself and play an active role in your body’s healing process. By putting in some extra time and effort into planning your food choices and meals, you can take a step toward recovery and healing.

My top 3 recommendations are:

Here are my top 3 recommendations:

Fruit and vegetable intake: Really boost your intake of fruits and veggies. An easy way to think about this is to make sure you are having some fruit and/or vegetable with every meal. Even try to make them the center of the meal! So have a cup of blueberries with some cereal, instead of a cup of cereal with a few blueberries on top. Another tip is to try to get 5 different kinds of fruits and vegetables from 5 different color groups (red, green, orange, yellow, purple) each day. Plant compounds, or phytochemicals, have a variety of health promoting effects and by choosing different colors and types, you will provide your body with a nice variety of phytochemicals.

Limit alcohol intake: This doesn’t mean you have to skip out on happy hour with friends or wine with dinner, but it is important to be aware that there is an association between moderate to moderate heavy alcohol intake (2-5 drinks a day) and breast cancer risk. So try to have some days without any alcohol, and on the days you do drink, remind yourself of the benefit of limiting it to one or two drinks.

Achieve and maintain a healthy body weight (BMI 19-24): Overweight and obesity are associated with increased cancer risk. And breast cancer recurrence is lower in women who are able to achieve a healthy body weight. Obesity promotes insulin resistance, increases insulin-like growth factor, and increases estrogen levels, all of which can contribute to tumorigenesis. So putting in your effort at 1) and 2) above will really help because both of those are helpful for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. Eating more plants and less animal products is another way to help with healthy weight. Put weight maintenance on your radar as a key goal.

We have a limited amount of time and energy each day, so focusing on our priorities and values will help us spend that time and energy in ways which will get us toward our goals.


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