Besides skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. To demonstrate how dramatically lifestyle choices may impact breast cancer risk, researchers followed about 30,000 postmenopausal women with no history of breast cancer for about seven years. Limiting alcohol, eating mostly plant foods, and maintaining a normal body weight was associated with a 62 percent lower risk of breast cancer.
Remarkably, eating a plant-based diet along with walking every day may improve our cancer defenses within just two weeks. Researchers attributed this effect to a decrease in levels of a cancer-promoting growth hormone called IGF-1, likely due to the reduced intake of animal (meat, egg white, and dairy) protein.
What about carcinogens in cooked meat? Women who eat more grilled, barbecued, or smoked meats over their lifetimes may have as much as 47 percent higher odds of breast cancer.
Consumption of animal-based products have also been implicated in earlier onset of puberty for girls, which had begun when girls were on average 16 or 17 until the 20th century, but now we see significant numbers of girls starting to grow breasts before they’re 8 years old, and increased risk of infertility.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), potentially the most common hormonal abnormality among young women in the United States and a common cause of infertility, menstrual dysfunction, and excess facial and body hair—may also be affected by diet. Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) may contribute to the cause of PCOS and infertility. So, in addition to not smoking, we should decrease consumption of foods high in protein and fat, and rich in AGEs, such as meat, cheese, and egg yolks, and increase intake of foods high in antioxidants, such as berries, herbs, and spices.
Plant-based diets appear to offer relief from a variety of menstrual symptoms, including bloating and breast pain (cyclical mastalgia), and women suffering with dysmenorrhea—painful, crampy periods—who switch to a plant-based diet experience significant relief in menstrual pain intensity and duration.
The information on this page has been compiled from Dr. Greger’s research. Sources for each video listed can be found by going to the video’s page and clicking on the Sources Cited tab. References may also be found at the back of his books.
Image Credit: Pixabay. This image has been modified.
Popular Videos for Women's Health
All Videos for Women's Health
Ending the Hidden Practice of Pelvic Exams on Unconscious Women Without Their Consent
Will #MeToo be able to break through the white-coat wall of silence?
Medical Students Practice Pelvic Exams on Anesthetized Women Without Their Consent
Shockingly, this “outrageous assault upon the dignity” of female patients continues to this day.
The Efficacy and Side Effects of Moringa Leaf Powder
Why don’t I recommend moringa?
The Effects of Cleaning Products and Air Fresheners on Lung Function
There is a reason the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prohibits not only smoking, but also scented or fragranced products in its buildings.
The Food That Can Downregulate a Metastatic Cancer Gene
Women with breast cancer should include the “liberal culinary use of cruciferous vegetables.”
How to Help Control Cancer Metastasis with Diet
Randomized controlled trials show lowering saturated fat intake can lead to improved breast cancer survival.
What Causes Cancer to Metastasize?
Palmitic acid, a saturated fat concentrated in meat and dairy, can boost the metastatic potential of cancer cells through the fat receptor CD36.
Benefits of Black Cumin Seed (Nigella Sativa) for Weight Loss
For three cents a day, black cumin may improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels, blood pressure, and blood sugar control, as well as accelerate the loss of body fat.
Are Vegans at Risk for Iodine Deficiency?
Most plant-based milks are not fortified with iodine.
Studies on Millet Nutrition: Is It a Healthy Grain?
Millet isn’t the name of a specific grain, but a generic term that applies to a number of totally different plants. Which is the most healthful?
What About the Heme in Impossible Burgers?
Is heme just an innocent bystander in the link between meat intake and breast cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure?
Plant-Based Meat Substitutes Put to the Test
What are the effects of plant-based meats on premature puberty, childhood obesity, and hip fracture risk?