1. Lycopene which belongs to an important class of antioxidant phytochemicalled carotenoids, surpasses all other carotenoids in protection against free radicals. Although lycopene is usually associated with prostate health, researchers are just beginning to realize it is also a significant protector against breast cancer. Lycopene rich foods include cooked tomato products such as tomato paste and sauce, as well as pink grapefruit, watermelon and dried apricots. The richest sources of lycopene are ketchup, spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce, with 5 mg of lycopene per ounce.

2. Oligomeric proanthocyanidins, often known as OPCs, help to protect DNA from free radicals such as radiation and chemicals, and slows the mutation of cancer cells. Foods rich in OPCs include red grapes (especially the seeds), blueberries, blackberries, cherries and grapes.

3. D glucarate, a natural compound produced in small amounts by humans and some plants, encourages the detoxification of environmental carcinogens and estrogenic tumor promoters. Glucarate rich foods include broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, apples, grapefruit, apricots and cherries. Current studies on breast cancer and glucarate are being done at the AMC Cancer Research Center in Denver, led by Thomas Slaga, Ph.D.

4. Selenium causes cancer cells to die before they spread, repairs damaged DNA, protects against free radicals, and aids the body's natural detoxification process. Select garlic, onions, Brazil nuts, whole grains and greens (Brazil nuts that haven't been shelled are richer in selenium than shelled nuts).

5. Lignans, found in a variety of plant foods such as dried beans, are especially abundant in flaxseed. They help to regulate estrogen levels by binding to the estrogen receptors in breast tissue and protecting against the stimulation of estrogen. Two tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseed daily may protect against hormone sensitive cancers.

6. Breast protective fatty acids. Mediterranean women, who have one fifth the rate of breast cancer as in North America, consume a variety of foods that are rich in beneficial fatty acids, including tuna, sardines, salmon, purslane, goat milk products and olive oil. They also consume foods that aid in the utilization of fatty acids such as antioxidantrich vegetables and herbs, and enzyme rich salads.

7. FlavonoidS, a large group of plant chemicals (over 800 and counting), are found in every plant we consume. Flavonoids protect against breast cancer by protecting the liver, increasing immunity and inhibiting enzymes that produce cancer. Flavonoids are found in green tea, soybeans, cereal grains, cruciferous vegetables, celery, parsnips, carrots, parsley, tomatoes, flaxseed, turmeric, red grapes, blueberries and rosemary. Researchers are particularly impressed with rosemary's high antioxidant levels and have been studying its ability to protect against breast cancer.

8. Limonene (in lemon and orange peels and lavender oil) is effective in preventing breast cancer by blocking cancer cells' utilization of protein. Use thinly sliced organic citrus peel in salads and marinades. Breast protective limonene is also found in mint, dill, caraway and celery seed.

9. Tangeretin is a plant chemical found in tangerines. Tangeretin is actually 250 times more powerful than genistein (from soybeans) at squelching breast cancer cells.

10. Co Enzyme Q 10. CoQiO is a vitally protective antioxidant that we require in greater amounts as we age. This powerful nutrient enhances the immune system and protects cellular structure. Sources include sardines, spinach and peanuts.

11. Alginic acid, found in sea vegetables, possesses anti tumor activity, guarding against the initiation and recurrence of cancer. A variety of other protective vitamins and minerals, such as selenium, are abundant in sea vegetables. Choose from wakame, kombu, hijiki, arame and nori.

12. Curcumin, the active principle in turmeric and cumin, is an anti mutagenic agent that supports the liver in detoxification of carcinogens and helps to block environmental carcinogens. Use turmeric in scrambled tofu for breakfast (research shows that curcurnin empowers the protective effects of isoflavones), or in chicken salad. Cumin also can be used in stews, sauces and beans.

13. Polysaccharides, plant chemicals found in mushrooms such as shfitake, reishi and maitake, have been found to be effective in preventing tumor growth and in strengthening the immune system. Use mushrooms frequently in soups, stews and vegetable dishes,

14. IndoleS are found in cruciferous vegetables and help the body to produce detoxification enzymes that help to neutralize the effects of both potentially dangerous hormones and chemicals. Found in broccoli, Brussels sprouts, radish, cabbage (especially Savoy), turnips and collard greens. Savoy cabbage and Brussels sprouts are particularly rich in indoles.

15. Soy foods, Population studies find soy foods protect against breast cancer. Isoflavones in soy block estrogen from entering cells, possibly reducing the risk of breast cancer. Enjoy green soy beans, soy milk, tofu, soy sauce, tempeh and miso often.

Source: Total Breast Health (Kensington).

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