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You may have heard the term “microbiome” before. It’s usually used in relation to your gut and means the composition of bacteria (good vs. bad) that you can find there.
However, you might not know that your breasts have their own microbiome.
And, research has proven that if you have more good than bad bacteria, it inhibits tumor growth.
So, how do you change your breasts microbiome?
Well, a new study found the answer to that.
The best food for better breast bacteria
Researchers at the Wake Forest School of Medicine found that you influence the composition of the microbes in your breasts through your diet, just like you affect the flora of your gut microbiome.
And they found that one diet, in particular, promotes the type of breast bacteria that can help stave off breast cancer.
Previous research had already shown that malignant breast tumors have a lower abundance of Lactobacillus bacteria compared to benign lesions so the researchers decided to look for a diet that would boost that bacteria specifically.
For the study, the researchers used macaque monkeys because the animals mimic human breast biology and randomly assigned them to stay on specific diets for almost three years.
At the end of that time, monkeys who had eaten a Mediterranean diet had a 10-fold higher abundance of Lactobacillus in their breast tissue than other diet groups.
And, that wasn’t the only benefit…
The Mediterranean diet also increased levels of bile acid metabolites and bacterial-processed bioactive compounds that have been shown to decrease breast cancer risk.
The scientists believe this explains the reason previous studies have shown that a normal Western diet, high in fat and full of sweets and processed foods increases breast cancer risk while a healthy Mediterranean diet consisting of vegetables, fish, and olive oil significantly lowers it.
Mediterranean diet how-to
To follow a Mediterranean diet you should:
- Focus on plant-based foods – Eat plenty of fruits, veggies, nuts, and whole grains.
- Switch out your red meat – If you’re a big red meat eater, it’s time to embrace a different way of life. A big part of the Mediterranean diet is eating more fish and chicken and only eating red meat a few times each month.
- Choose better fats – High-quality fats that are good for your heart and brain such as olive oil and avocados are the way to go.
- Limit salt – With the Mediterranean diet, you should decrease your salt intake and instead use herbs and spices to flavor your food.
- Drink alcohol in moderation – The Mediterranean diet allows for red wine, here and there. The key is moderation.
Make a change in your own life that reduces your risk of breast cancer and has numerous positive effects on your health in general. Switch to a Mediterranean diet to boost the levels of good breast bacteria.
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- Diet affects the breast microbiome in mammals — Cell Press