The foods that really take a bite out of breast cancer

I’m a firm believer in the disease-preventing power of healthy living.  But sometimes people get sick even when they’re doing everything right…

The youthful 50-year-old who runs marathons gets prostate cancer. Or the friend who does yoga and drinks green smoothies every day gets breast cancer.

What gives when wellness warriors like this get sick?

Well, there’s no good answer. Diseases are complex. There are so many factors that play into them — genes, environment, past viruses, stress and other mental-emotional struggles. In most cases, it’s impossible to identify a single cause for any chronic disease.

But here’s something we know for sure….

Lifestyle factors like diet and exercise do make a difference. Sometimes a big one. So, don’t let a scary, unexpected diagnosis in your social circle shake your faith in healthy living. Keep eating your kale and doing your downward dogs.

And if you ever wonder whether your diligence is paying off, just think about this…

A recent study from Harvard found that eating lots of fruits and veggies can lower your risk of aggressive breast cancer. Sounds like a good payoff to me!

How much do you need to eat to fend off breast cancer?

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health confirmed what healthy eaters always hoped — eating more fruits and vegetables lowers your risk of breast cancer. But how much exactly?

Well, this study (which included data from more than 182,000 women) found that women who ate 5.5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day had an 11 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women who only ate 2.5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Now, 11 percent might not sound like much at first. But consider this…

Their cancer risk was 11 percent better than someone who was already eating 2.5 servings of fruits and veggies per day. So, imagine their risk compared to someone who eats one serving of fruits and veggies per day? Or none? The benefit is probably even greater.

Plus, there’s more good news…

Researchers found that eating more fruits and veggies was especially associated with a lower risk of aggressive breast tumors, including ER-negative, HER2-enriched and basal-like tumors. These breast cancers are more dangerous and difficult to treat. So, a decreased risk is great news.

But what is it about fruits and veggies that makes them so useful in breast cancer prevention?

Previous studies by the same researchers found that fiber is linked to lower breast cancer, and fruits and veggies contain a lot of fiber. But researchers don’t think that’s why they help ward off breast cancer. They think it’s antioxidants and micronutrients that do the trick.

So, keep eating your fruits and veggies, ladies. Every bite helps when it comes to breast cancer.

How to get more of the good stuff

The official RDA of fruits and veggies is 5 to 7 servings per day. But some studies show that eating 10 servings is best for optimum health. Can you imagine how much that might slash your breast cancer risk?

Just in case you’re wondering, a serving is:

  • 1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
  • ½ cup of raw or cooked vegetables
  • ½ cup of chopped or cooked fruits

If you haven’t been eating enough fruits and veggies most of your life, it seems hard to increase your intake at first. But once you get used to eating more, it becomes second nature.

You can easily add more fruits and veggies to your diet by:

  • Making sure half of your plate is filled with fruits and veggies during every meal.
  • Eating a fruit or vegetable salad with lunch and dinner.
  • Snacking on chopped veggies instead of cancer-causing chips.
  • Having your fridge stocked with chopped veggies and fresh fruit at all times.
  • Embracing smoothies (you can pack several servings into one well-thought-out smoothie).
  • Adding extra veggies to eggs, breakfast potatoes, rice, soups and stews.

Editor’s note: Discover how to live a cancer prevention lifestyle — using foods, vitamins, minerals and herbs — as well as little-known therapies allowed in other countries but denied to you by American mainstream medicine. Click here to discover Surviving Cancer! A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding the Causes, Treatments and Big Business Behind Medicine’s Most Frightening Diagnosis!

Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and