Gang, it’s time for some real talk about living with Breast Cancer. Because that isn’t done anywhere near enough. Which is kind of ridiculous given that it’s the most common cancer among women. If you’re one of the millions of women who currently have Estrogen-positive Breast Cancer foods to avoid are likely the last thing on your mind. But good nutrition can have a huge impact on your wellbeing post-diagnosis.
How can Breast Cancer be Estrogen-positive?
Well, that’s a question that doesn’t have a fun answer. Basically, and this generally applies to Postmenopausal types, breasts have a particular type of fat cell. And these fat cells produce Estrogen that can lead to and feed tumors. Why? That’s down to a complicated set of variables including Estrogen exposure over the course of your lifetime, as well as genetics and environmental factors.
These particular tumors as identified as Estrogen and, often, Progesterone-positive, which means that they’ll use your own hormones to grow and spread. But it also means that reducing those hormone levels can — and crucially does — help decrease tumor growth. In fact, one of the multiple therapies for these cancers includes hormone blockers.
You may well be wondering what the actual what any of this has to do with what you eat. And that answer is very simple: eating the right food can support your therapy and your overall wellbeing…
Estrogen-positive Breast Cancer and food
Now, regular Hormonas will probably already know how important diet and nutrition are for hormone health. But if your hormones also happen to be feeding a tumor, food suddenly becomes a minefield. Are there foods you should eat? What about things you shouldn’t eat? Does food really matter where cancer is concerned?
In short, yes. To all of those questions. Just like your parents always told you, a good diet is a great idea in general. But when it comes to living with Estrogen-positive Breast Cancer, foods to avoid most definitely exist. So here’s our guide to good food… And the food to steer clear of…
Estrogen-positive Breast Cancer: Foods to avoid
Now, for the most part, the foods on the following list are worth avoiding because they can increase your Estrogen levels, which is not great if your tumor is Estrogen-sensitive.
- Processed animal fats
- Low fiber foods
- Low fruit and veg foods
- Processed or non-organic produce
- High sugar foods
- Fatty foods
- Smoked meats
- Well-done fried meat or fish
And maybe also avoid…
- Sunflower seeds and oil
- Soybean paste
- Salty food
- Pumpkin seeds
Estrogen-positive Breast Cancer: Phytoestrogens
Regular Hormonas may well have seen our recent discussion around plant-derived Estrogens and Breast Cancer. Yes, it seems that plants also have to live with Estrogen, and as we often eat plants, we’re also ingesting those Estrogens. Why is this an issue? Well, some of those Phytoestrogens can interact and affect your own Estrogen levels.
Some, like those from soy and pumpkin seeds, can actively increase the levels of Estrogen in your body. Which, obviously, can be an issue for hormone-sensitive cancers. Others, though, can have the opposite effect, and reduce your Estrogen levels. And those Phytoestrogens can form part of the treatment for those cancers. Amazing, right?
Serious side-note gang, please make sure you’re having a conversation with your healthcare team about Phytoestrogens before adding them to your diet.
Estrogen-positive Breast Cancer: Foods you don’t have to avoid
Now, while you do have to say goodbye to overly processed foods, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing good left to eat. No, really. And while the following list might sound a little, er, boring, we promise you, it really isn’t.
- Low fat
- Low sugar
- Organic fruit and veg
- Lots of fiber
- Lots of water
- Green tea/Chamomile
- Omega-3 fatty acids
- Citrus fruit
Admittedly, that’s just a list of healthy food. And that’s because healthy is, without doubt, the way to go. And while fruit, veg, and fiber are pretty self-explanatory in a health-fashion, let’s unpack a few of the less obvious additions.
Aside from being delicious, what exactly does citrus fruit have to do with Breast Cancer? Well, there’s some promising research that shows certain elements of citrus peel and oils could have an effect on Estrogen-positive tumors. That’s down to the limonene the fruit contains, which, according to the literature, has anticancer properties. So adding oranges, lemons, grapefruits, and such to your diet might be worth considering.
In a related fashion, there’s a compound in red grapes that can be anti-Estrogenic. And that simply means that like certain Phytoestrogens, grapes can lower Estrogen levels. Which is fab news if you’re living with Estrogen-positive cancer. That said, please don’t make a dash for the red wine — alcohol, regardless of origin, is not a good idea.
Omega 3 fatty acids
This one might surprise you. You’ve probably heard of the overall health benefits of Omega 3s, one of the good fatty acids. It’s great for your immune system and brain function, but get this, it can also be one of those anti-Estrogen foods. Mainly found in oily fish like salmon and mackerel, some veggies also pack an omega-3 punch. And they include broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and spinach.
Organic fruit and veg
Now, while eating organic, loose fruit and veg is a good idea — mostly down to the lack of pesticides and packaging — we totally get that it’s not always a viable option. They can be ridiculously expensive at the best of times and this most definitely is not one of those.
So, if you’re picking up packaged fruit and veg, like we all are, here’s one simple thing you can do to help mitigate some of the chemicals: Wash them. Like, really wash them under cold water before you prep or eat them. That can remove external nasties, including pesticide residue and the like.
Estrogen-positive Breast Cancer: Foods to avoid and reality
Gang, continuing our theme of realness, we know that there are going to be times when you’re going to have a glass of wine, a cocktail, a takeaway, or a tub of ice cream. Food isn’t just about fuel. It isn’t just about nutrition. It can also be useful. Whether that’s fighting a tumor or putting a huge smile on your face, there’s nothing else like it. And both of those things are equally necessary.
So don’t feel too bad if you have a burger or a lovely glass of red on occasion. But do make sure you’re eating well, exercising, and taking extra care of you the rest of the time. Because that is also necessary.
As always gang, if you’re concerned about your breasts in any fashion — even post-diagnosis — please tell a healthcare type. ASAFP. Which leads us neatly to a quick reminder: Self-checking is essential to early detection. So get to know your breasts — it’s the best way to know what’s typical for you, and what isn’t.