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What’s the official color of October? With Halloween pumpkins and fall foliage in full force, you’re probably guessing orange; but you’re guessing wrong. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we’re just tickled pink about it. October is also the beginning of the super-calorific holiday eating season. With that in mind, here’s our guide to the latest in breast-healthy foods.breast cancer foods

A low-fat diet rich in fruits and veggies will go a long way to reducing your risk of breast cancer… and about everything else. Stay away from hormone-laden fatty meats and replace that protein with fish and beans. If you’re already doing these things, then it’s time to get a little more specific.

Sometimes Mother Nature can make things a little too obvious. Turns out peaches and plums have especially high levels of cancer-fighting acidic compounds called “chlorogenic” and “neo-chlorogenic.” The science can get complicated, but here’s what you should take away: in the lab, drops of this stuff have killed cancerous cells and ignored the healthy ones. Whether or not it works the same way when you eat it is still up for debate, but you don’t really need another reason to eat these delicious fruits, anyway.

Do you have any cruciferous vegetables in your fridge? Turns out this tongue-twister refers to veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, and watercress (and kale, cabbage, and brussel sprouts for the truly brave). These might be the bane of 9 year-olds everywhere, but researchers have shown that a diet rich in cruciferous plants can reduce breast cancer chances in some women by 50%. The fancy science term to write down is “phenylethyl isothiocyanate” – a handy compound that interferes with certain proteins that cancer needs. Now eat your broccoli, don’t just move it around with your fork.

So far, China hasn’t declared 2010 the “Year of the Pink Ribbon”; maybe that’s because they have far fewer cases of breast cancer than we do. Lucky for us, the reason isn’t some ancient Chinese poultice; it’s all the soymilk, tofu, and other soy products they eat. The humble soybean is chocked full of isoflavones, an organic compound that acts like estrogen in the body. Researchers speculate they protect by interfering with your cells’ estrogen absorption.

If your vocabulary feels a little stretched, don’t worry about it. Just remember to stock up on the fruits and vegetables listed above, and leave Aunt Bea’s honey glazed pork rinds where they are. / Issue 117 - September 0816
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