When it comes to nutrition, we are typically thinking about our weight and muscle tone, our skin, our glow. But eating an intentional, mindful, nutrient-dense diet is also about prevention. We prevent aging and chronic illnesses with every meal when we do so thoughtfully. Eating with the rest of our body’s health in mind is crucial, and it’s smart to think about individual areas of need, too. Consider your breasts.
This is important for every woman, but especially for those with a history of disease in their family, and even breast cancer. Holistic nutritionist Shauna Faulisi of Soul Wellness Method is a big fan of food as medicine. “One of my favorite parts about holistic nutrition and wellness today is the focus on preventative medicine. More and more people are taking to everyday healthy living to live and function at their best now and for years to come. We want longevity, energy, mental clarity, and health,” she shares.
Eat for your all-over health, first and foremost. But Faulisi explains that “when it comes to eating and living in ways that allow our bodies to thrive, it requires some effort in a world that doesn’t have the same goals as we do.” As a general rule of thumb, Faulisi recommends sticking to whole foods and staying hydrated.
“The less processed the better. Stick to as many whole foods that grow in the ground or are found in nature, and not in a factory. If you’re shopping for food on the go and have to go with packaged, look at ingredients, and not calories. You want to avoid sugar, inflammatory vegetable oils, and other ingredients that are just unpronounceable or that you have no idea what they are. Whole is best.”
“I know it’s not the first time you’re hearing this, and it won’t be the last. But we are made up of mostly water, and in order for our bodies to perform these natural functions, we must provide our body with water.” Heed her top foods to aid in maintaining optimal breast health:
Greens and Cruciferous Veggies
“Fill your plate up with above-ground vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale, and cauliflower. All of these taste amazing baked in the oven with a little salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Fill your plate up with at least 50% of these at each meal. Lettuce like arugula, radicchio, and romaine are wonderful additions too.” These greens are highly alkaline and contain powerful carotenoid antioxidants.
Eat Berries and Citrus Fruits
“When it comes to fruit, stick to mostly berries—they’re filled with antioxidants, and they’re the lowest in sugar, and we want to keep that sugar intake down.” Citrus fruits, while higher in sugar, are also high in antioxidants that fight cancer and inflammation.
Aliums like onions and garlic contain organosulfur compounds, which are protective against breast cancer.
Studies show that treatment with probiotics reduced tumor growth. Since fermented foods are teeming with gut-friendly bacteria, incorporating these into your diet—like kimchi, yogurt, sour breads, miso, and so on—is a smart move.
“The mother of all oils. The nutritional benefits of this oil stand on their own. Good olive oil will have a little stinging sensation that sometimes catches you off guard and makes you cough. I’ve learned to love that slight burn because it has a high anti-inflammatory profile and potency similar to the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin, without the side effects.”
“Additionally, the aforementioned vegetables are all fat-soluble, meaning that without fat, the nutrients are not easily absorbed by the body. If you don’t have EVOO, have some avocado instead. Or, for bonus points, both! Note that highly refined and processed vegetable oils are very inflammatory.”
“Astaxanthin is responsible for the vibrant red/pink pigment in things like salmon, shrimp, and krill. It’s a potent antioxidant that has shown positive results in reducing oxidative stress and inflammation and promoting apoptosis, which is the process of the body removing damaged or dysfunctional cells, aka cell death.”
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