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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Get screened and learn how a healthy diet may lower your risk

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a great time for you or someone you love to get screened for breast cancer. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends women age 40 and older get a screening mammogram every two years. An annual screening mammogram is covered at no cost to you as part of your preventive health benefits.

Nutrition and breast cancer

breast cancer awareness monthIn addition to getting routine screenings, there are other ways to help lower your risk. One simple way to help lower your risk is by eating a well-balanced diet. Here are some ways that eating a healthier diet may help improve your risk.

Fruits and vegetables

The American Cancer Society states that fruits and vegetables have minerals, vitamins and other nutrients in them that may help prevent cancer. Everyone should eat at least 2-1/2 to 3 cups of veggies and 1-1/2 to 2 cups of fruit every day. Make sure you eat a variety of fruits and veggies. One serving of fruit could be 1 cup of 100% fruit juice, 1/2 cup of dried fruit or one small apple. One serving of vegetables could be 1/2 cup fresh, frozen or canned vegetables, 1/2 cup vegetable juice or 1 cup raw leafy greens.

Protein-rich foods

Eat lean proteins like chicken, fish, lentils and beans more often than red or processed meats. These foods have good-quality protein with added benefits. For example, plant protein includes fiber, and fish adds healthy fats like omega-3s to our diet.

Whole-grain foods

Lastly, add whole grains to your diet. Whole grains include important nutrients like dietary fiber, B vitamins and other minerals. Whole grains can be found in foods like 100% whole-grain bread, wild rice, brown rice, popcorn, oatmeal and barley. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommends getting at least half of your grains from whole grains. If you do eat refined grains, make sure that they are enriched, which means some vitamins and minerals have been added back in after processing.

Schedule your screening mammogram

If you haven’t already had your screening mammogram, call your doctor today to schedule an appointment. Encourage your loved ones who may be due for a mammogram to schedule theirs, too. And try to build a healthy diet with some of the tips above. Small changes to your eating habits can make a big difference.

Posted: October 6, 2021

Updated: October 12, 2023