Breast cancer is a significant health concern for women around the world. As a matter of fact, it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women and accounts for 1 in 4 annual cancer cases worldwide[1]. However, emerging research suggests that dietary choices can play a crucial role in its prevention. This is particularly important when it comes to breast cancer, because by the time it is detected via a clinical breast exam or a mammogram, it may already be growing and maturing. In this article, we will explore the relationship between the longevity diet and breast cancer prevention, focusing on the insights provided in the book “How Not to Die” by Dr. Michael Greger, particularly the chapter titled “How Not to Die From Breast Cancer.”

Dr. Michael Greger’s book “How Not to Die” outlines a longevity diet that emphasizes a plant-based, whole-food approach to nutrition in general. This dietary approach prioritizes the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts while minimizing the intake of processed foods and animal products. These dietary guidelines align well with breast cancer prevention. Nevertheless, in this article, we will discuss specific dietary components that have been potentially shown to prevent and, in some cases, reverse breast cancer.

The chapter on breast cancer in “How Not to Die” highlights the impact of various dietary components on breast cancer risk. Some key findings include:

Alcohol: The World Health Organization, as of 2010, classifies alcohol as a categorical human breast carcinogen.[2] What about light drinking? Well, except for red wine, even this behavior has been implicated in a small number of breast cancer deaths. If you do wish to drink, make sure you do so responsibly. More importantly, and if possible, opt for a small glass red wine. This is because according to a study published in the Journal of Women´s Health, a compound found specifically in red (and not white) wine may inhibit the activity of the enzyme[3] aromatase, which breast tumor cells used to make estrogen, which stimulates their own growth.

Phytonutrients: Fruits and vegetables are rich sources of phytonutrients, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These compounds help protect cells from DNA damage and reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Fiber: The longevity diet’s focus on whole grains and legumes provides ample fiber, which has been associated with a lower risk of breast cancer.[4] But breast cancer risk may not fall significantly until at least 25 grams of fiber a day is achieved. This is easily achieved with a whole-food, plant-based diet.

Soy: Contrary to some misconceptions, moderate soy consumption, particularly from whole soy foods, has shown no adverse effects and may even reduce breast cancer risk and recurrence.[5]

Greens: Women who eat lots of greens are less likely to get breast cancer. Cruciferous vegetables in particular (like broccoli) contain a compound called sulforaphane, which has been shown in a petri dish to suppress the ability of breast cancer stem cells to form tumors. [6] While there are no studies on humans yet, with virtually no downsides and only positive side effects, we encourage you to incorporate greens into your diet.

The longevity diet, as advocated by Dr. Greger, aligns well with the goal of breast cancer prevention. The emphasis on whole, plant-based foods, rich in phytonutrients, fiber, soy and greens is consistent with the dietary choices that can reduce breast cancer risk. Furthermore, it is best to limit your alcohol intake, opting for red wine when you drink. While diet is only one aspect of breast cancer prevention, adopting a longevity diet can be a proactive step toward a healthier and potentially cancer-free future.

The Longevity Nutritional Concept involves a solid menu, carefully designed to reach a balance between the various macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats), gluten free, rich in fibers and with a low glycemic index, promotes weight loss, restores and regenerates the various metabolic and endocrine body systems. Furthermore, Longevity Nutrition is also by definition always anti-inflammatory and helps prevent diseases like cancer. Examples of anti-inflammatory foods include: olive oil, nuts and seats, cruciferous vegetables and berries. Thus, the Longevity Nutrition is a boost of overall health and well-being.

[1] Breast cancer (2022) Europa Donna. Available at: https://www.europadonna.org/breast-cancer/ (Accessed: 01 November 2023).

[2] Alcohol is one of the biggest risk factors for breast cancer (2021) World Health Organization. Available at: https://www.who.int/europe/news/item/20-10-2021-alcohol-is-one-of-the-biggest-risk-factors-for-breast-cancer (Accessed: 01 November 2023).

[3] An enzyme is a biological catalyst in living organisms which accelerates chemical reactions by lowering activation energy, without being used up or changed permanently.

[4] (2020) Fiber consumption and breast cancer incidence: A systematic review and … Available at: https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/cncr.32816 (Accessed: 01 November 2023).

[5] (2020) Fiber consumption and breast cancer incidence: A systematic review and … Available at: https://acsjournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/cncr.32816 (Accessed: 01 November 2023).

[6] Castro, N.P. et al. (2019) Sulforaphane suppresses the growth of triple-negative breast cancer stem-like cells in vitro and in vivo, Cancer prevention research (Philadelphia, Pa.). Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6425935/ (Accessed: 01 November 2023).

Longevity Wellness Team Signature