13 Friends for Life: Diet & Exercise

Reducing Breast Cancer Risk

Mercy Health Saint Mary's Registered Dietitian, Amy Bragagnini talks about things you can do to reduce breast cancer risks.

What are some of the risk factors for breast cancer?

· Being overweight or obese

· Lack of exercise

· Drinking too much alcohol

· Smoking

What are some factors that contribute to our obesity problem?

· Mindless eating (lack of portion control)

· Liquid calories

· Excess calories/inadequate exercise

· Relying on convenience foods/not planning

Getting in the recommended number of fruits and veggies can be hard for some people. Do you have some ideas on how people can fit them in each day? And, if I can't get all of them in, would taking a supplement be just as good?

I do not recommend that my patients rely on supplements to meet their recommended daily allowances (RDA's) for vitamins and minerals. The studies show that the best way to obtain vitamins and minerals is eating whole foods (fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean proteins).

Planning is the key to getting the number of fruits and veggies in per day. Suggestions include:

· Packing breakfast and lunch the day before

· Including fruits and veggies with both and packing them as snacks.

· Fruit and veggie smoothies.

· Adding extra fruits and veggies to sauces, soups, casseroles etc.

What else do you recommend to help reduce incidence and recurrence of breast cancer?

· Reduce intake of red meat/processed meats

· Reduce overall fat intake (reduce saturated fat)

· Reduce alcohol consumption

· Increase physical activity

Amy Bragagnini, MS,RDN,CSO is a registered dietitian and a certified specialist in oncology with Mercy Health Saint Mary's. As the only centers of their kind in West Michigan, Mercy Health Comprehensive Breast Centers deliver prompt, personal, specialized care for all aspects of breast health. Here, we focus on total breast health — from screening mammograms and lifetime risk analysis to, if necessary, the latest treatments.

To learn more visit www.MercyHealthBreastCare.com or call 616.685.6756 in Grand Rapids or 231.727.7926 along the lakeshore.


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