Anne-Marie B. is a 2x breast cancer survivor. Upon her diagnosis, she decided to research everything she could do to prevent recurrence and improve her whole health. She found many studies that showed how nutrition could have an impact on cancer prevention. She’s sharing a summary of her findings in this article.
Decreasing the intake of carbohydrates and practicing intermittent fasting - which allows for a temporary installation of ketosis - has been proven to help control the development of cancer, and in particular breast cancer.
Intermittent fasting and ketosis
Two studies have shown the positive impacts of intermittent fasting on cancer prevention. A study conducted at the San Diego School of Medicine on 2433 women with breast cancer, who were followed for 7 years, confirms that observing an intermittent fast of 13 hours each night reduces the risks of cancer recurrence by nearly one-third. According to a second study on mice, intermittent fasting can be effective in slowing the growth and spread of cancer.
Intermittent fasting helps with:
reducing insulin production
decreasing in tissue inflammation
better brain function which, nourished by ketones instead of carbohydrates for a large part of the day, produces new neurons and impacts cancer.
strengthening the immune system, thanks to the production of numerous white blood cells, and slowing down the aging process.
mobilizing body fats and creating ketosis - a metabolic state that occurs when your body burns fat for energy instead of glucose.
How to do intermittent fasting?
Many diets focus on what to eat, but intermittent fasting is all about when you eat. With intermittent fasting, you only eat during specific time periods. There are different ways to do intermittent fasting, but they are all based on choosing regular time periods for eating and fasting.
In the case of the study mentioned above, it has been proven that 13/11 fasting is beneficial for breast cancer patients. In practice, this means that you can eat for 11 hours of the day and fast for 13 hours. For example, you can decide that your eating period is from 9 am to 8 pm and that your fasting period is from 8 pm to 9 am.
If no contraindication is identified, intermittent fasting is an excellent way to reduce the risks of breast cancer. It’s important to check with your doctor before starting intermittent fasting.
Foods to include
An anti-inflammatory diet with plenty of vegetables protects our immune system with its fibers, minerals, and vitamins. A diet rich in vegetables preserves the intestinal flora, directly involved in certain cancer processes, particularly digestive ones, with the intake of fibers and minerals.
A Cretan or Mediterranean diet protects against the risk of cancer and recurrence. They are based on the consumption of many fruits and vegetables including:
raw fruits and vegetables
whole grains and cereals
fish 2 to 3 times a week
meat 1 or 2 times a week
olive and linseed oils rich in omega 3
Foods to avoid
Excess meat, dairy products, sugar, saturated fats, industrial products, and alcohol favor the onset of cancer, by creating a low-grade inflammation of the body, constituting an environment conducive to cancer. Today, studies have shown that excess dairy products are harmful to health. Even cows fed as well as possible have excess saturated fats and pro-inflammatory omega-6s.
The main foods to avoid are:
Frozen and prepared meals: meals that have a long list of ingredients, or that have preservatives or additives.
Sodas and juices: make your own juices at home or add some slides of lemon and cucumber to your water.
Processed breakfast cereals: even those that are sugar-free or low-calories.
Processed foods done with potatoes: mashed potatoes from flakes, chips.
Industrialized oils: avoid sunflower, peanut, grape seed, or corn oil, and use olive and linseed oil instead.
Refined carbohydrates: white sugar, white bread, white pasta, starches.
In order to limit the silent inflammation that creates cancer, eating a Mediterranean diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and limiting refined carbohydrates, has a favorable impact on our health. Even if the culprit of cancer remains unidentified, there are some well-known risk factors for breast cancer that can be modifiable by adopting a healthier lifestyle: overweight, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, alcohol, and deficiencies in vegetables.