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On the Grocery List: A Healthy Diet for Preventing Breast Cancer

Nearly a third of newly diagnosed cancers among women in the U.S. involve breast cancers. For American women, it is the second-most commonly diagnosed cancer, trailing only skin cancer. Following a healthy diet and lifestyle can significantly reduce your risk of developing breast cancer, according to the American Institute of Cancer Research.

A good place to start the prevention process is by maintaining a healthy weight and adding generous portions of fruits and vegetables to your meals, which may help lower some breast cancer risks.

Have Another Bite

Diet plays a major role in one’s health, especially when it comes to the risk of developing cancer. While there are no guarantees, nutrition does help put the odds in your favor.

These familiar foods go a very long way toward decreasing breast cancer risk:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Berries
  • Peaches
  • Beans
  • Fish
  • Eggs

And don’t worry about limiting yourself: The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends between five and nine servings of fresh fruit and vegetables per day, so eat up!

Just Say No

Be wary of your alcohol intake, as it appears to increase the risk of cancer. It can increase estrogen levels and hormones tied to hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer. It may also damage DNA in cells.

It also is wise to limit or cut out sugar, fats (especially trans fats), red meat and processed foods. Doing so won’t just reduce one’s risk of developing breast cancer; it can also reduce the risk of recurrence. 

A Delicious Diversion

Get started on your journey toward prevention with this EatingWell recipe: a healthy, hearty soup with a collection of greens, cumin and coriander to add a gentle spicy note. Make it and enjoy it for dinner tonight!  

Very Green Lentil Soup


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for garnish
  • 2 large yellow onions, chopped
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
  • 2 tablespoons plus 4 cups water, divided
  • 1 cup French green (Le Puy) or brown lentils
  • 8 large green chard leaves
  • 1 medium Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed
  • 12 cups gently packed spinach (about 10 ounces), any tough stems trimmed
  • 4 scallions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 5 cups vegetable broth, store-bought or homemade
  • 2 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, lightly toasted and ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice, or more to taste
  • Crumbled feta cheese for garnish

Recipe Steps:

  1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cook, stirring frequently, until the onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add 2 tablespoons water and cover. Cook, stirring frequently until the pan cools down, and then occasionally, always covering the pan again, until the onions are greatly reduced and have a deep caramel color, 25 to 35 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, rinse lentils and pick out any small stones; combine the lentils with the remaining 4 cups water in a soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Trim the white ribs out of the chard; chop greens and slice the ribs (keep in separate piles). Cut potato into 1/2 -inch dice. Chop spinach; set aside.
  3. When the lentils have cooked for 20 minutes, stir in the chard ribs, potato, scallions, broth and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt; return to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in the chard leaves, broccoli, cumin and coriander. When the onions are caramelized, stir a little of the simmering liquid into them; add them to the soup. Return to a simmer, cover and cook 5 minutes more. Stir in the reserved spinach, cilantro, mint, jalapeño and pepper; return to a simmer, cover and cook until the spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes more. Stir in 1 tablespoon lemon juice. Taste and add more lemon juice and/or pepper, if desired. Garnish each bowl of soup with a drizzle of olive oil and crumbled feta cheese.

Recipe Tips & Notes:

  • Tip: Toast cumin seeds in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Cool slightly. Grind to a fine powder in a spice mill, blender or clean coffee grinder.

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