Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Breast Cancer and Food - What Foods Can Cause Breast Cancer?

Many women have been searching for something they can actually do for themselves, or their daughters, to reduce the risk of developing breast cancer or reproductive diseases such as endometriosis, fibroids and PCOS. The good news is, you can make dietary changes and eliminate foods that can cause breast cancer.

A study conducted by the American Cancer Society identified a strong link between adults (over 18 years) weight gain and postmenopausal breast cancer. Another study, published in 2009 by the Harvard School of Public Health in conjunction with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, concluded that women who were lean at age 18 and who maintained a healthy weight through mid-life had the best odds of achieving optimal health later in life.

Current research also reveals that dietary choices have a direct impact on your health. In particular, the type of fat you consume in your diet may be a risk factor for hormonal imbalances leading to reproductive disorders and cellular changes leading to breast cancer.

The “Bad Fats” - Trans Fatty Acids (TFA’s) and Breast Cancer

The type of fat in your diet, rather than the total amount, may be a risk factor for female reproductive disorders according to researchers in a study published online in the journal Human Reproduction.

Researchers have reported there is a strong link between diets loaded with trans fats and female reproductive disorders such as endometriosis, fibroids and PCOS. On the other hand, a diet rich in tuna, salmon and other foods high in essential fatty acids (EFA’s) omega-3 and omega-6 oils might mean you will be less likely to develop female reproductive disorders.

Is Your Diet Supporting Healthy Hormonal Balance? Find out now with my FREE online test.

So What Are Trans Fats and how are they linked to breast cancer?

Trans fats are formed when liquid fats are processed and hardened (hydrogenated) to make them more like butter or lard. They are found in many everyday processed foods such as breakfast cereals, biscuits, cakes, fast foods, pies and other pre-packaged foods. They are also found in foods fried in hydrogenated oils.

According to Dr. Stacey Missmer of Brigham and Women's Hospital, trans fats increase the body's level of many inflammatory markers. These inflammatory markers have been shown to be associated with many diseases, including cancers, heart disease and hormonal imbalances. Hormonal imbalances often lead to reproductive disorders such as endometriosis, fibroids and PCOS.

Foods that are highly inflammatory are also those that tend to lead to weight gain. These findings suggest that dietary changes to reduce intake of inflammatory foods and maintain a healthy weight is something every woman can do.

Find Out What Dietary Changes You Can Make To Overcome Female Reproductive Disorders by Clicking Here

How can trans fats contribute to breast cancer?

With trans fats becoming such a mainsteam component of our food chain, the prevalence of medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer are increasing. Over the long term, trans fats interfere with your body's ability to ingest and utilise the good fats. They also promote fatty body tissue to synthesize small amounts of testosterone and related hormones. These play roles in fuelling hormonal imbalances such as PCOS, fibroids, endometriosis, PMT, menopausal symptoms and low libido. TFA’s stop the essential fatty acids (EFA’s) from getting into the cell wall. The EFA’s have to find somewhere else to go; new fat cells have to be built to keep them in. Over time, more and more TFA's block more cells, you build more and more new fat cells, you get fatter.

The Residual Effect of TFA’s potentially leading to breast cancer. Once consumed, TFA’s are hard to eliminate. They can remain in your body long after you finished eating that pie, biscuit or piece of cake. Some countries, such as Denmark and Canada, regulate the amount of trans fats that can be added to processed foods.

Denmark has banned foods with a TFA content of more than 2% of total fat content. Canada has set a limit of 5% (or 2% for margarines). In the US, food manufacturers are required to list trans fats on the label only if the amount per serving is 0.5g or higher. This leads to manufacturers manipulating serving sizes so they can list trans fats as 0g. Other countries, such as Australia have no such regulations. In these countries it is impossible to tell from a food label if a packaged product contains any trans fats.

It can be safe to assume that the majority of people have consumed trans fats at some point in their life. If you regularly consume fast food or any type of food made in a factory, there is a good chance you are consuming trans fats. These trans fats will continue to have a disruptive effect on your endocrine (hormonal) systems for many years, unless you take steps to eliminate them from your body.

Where To From Here?

Consuming trans fats may lead to weight gain and imbalances in your hormonal systems. These in turn put you at increased risk of developing reproductive issues in the short term and chronic diseases, including cancer in the longer term. Maybe you are already on the path to increasing weight, hormonal imbalances and long term ill health? A naturopath can help by eliminating the stored TFA’s and rebalancing your hormones, leading you to better health.

Is Your Diet Supporting Healthy Hormonal Balance? Find out now with my FREE online test.