Recommendations for Healthy Diet for Women with Breast Cancer & Preventing Breast Cancer

Compiled by Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

From Victoria Maizes, MD, University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine



  1. Eat a wide variety of foods with as much fresh food as possible.
  2. Eat an abundance of vegetables and fruits (7 – 9 servings per day).
  3. Include omega-3 fatty acids in your diet.
  4. Reduce fat to approximately 33 grams per day.*
  5. Consider eliminate cow’s milk dairy.
  6. Any dairy or beef should be organic to avoid exposure to estrogenic hormones present in conventionally raised cows. @
  7. Minimize consumption of refined carbohydrates, processed foods and fast food.
  8. Include carbohydrates, fat and protein at each meal.
  9. If you use a microwave, never microwave in plastic or using plastic wrap as this introduces estrogenic hormone mimics into food

*Especially important in receptor negative breast cancer.

@Especially important in receptor positive breast cancer.


  1. The majority should be vegetables, fruits, beans, whole or cracked grains – or less refined, less processed foods with low glycemic loads.
  2. Reduce your consumption of foods made with wheat flour (including whole wheat flour) and sugar.
  3. Avoid products made with high-fructose corn syrup.



  1. For omega-3 fatty acids, eat salmon (preferably fresh or frozen wild or canned sockeye), sardines packed in water or olive oil, herring, black cod (also known as sablefish or butterfish), omega-3 fortified eggs, hemp seeds, flaxseeds (preferably freshly ground) and walnuts; or take fish oil supplements.
  2. Use extra-virgin olive oil as your main cooking oil, For a neutral tasting oil, use expeller-pressed-organic oil.
  3. Include avocados & nuts, especially walnuts, cashews, and almonds.
  4. Reduce your intake of saturated fat by eating less butter, cream, cheese, and other full-fat dairy products. Also reduce unskinned chicken, fatty meats, and products made with coconut and palm kernel oils.
  5. Avoid safflower and sunflower oils, corn oil, cottonseed oil, and mixed vegetables oils.  Strictly avoid margarine, vegetables shortening, partially hydrogenated oils and all products listing them as ingredients.



  1. Decrease your consumption of animal protein except fish. Especially reduce consumption of beef (including organic).  Avoid eating burnt meat, fish, or poultry.
  2. Eat more vegetable protein, especially from beans and nuts.
  3. Soy foods are controversial.  In 2009, the LACE trial revealed reduced risk of breast cancer recurrence in  women who ate soy.  This was especially true for women on Tamoxifen. (The Shanghai Breast Cancer Survival Study confirmed these findings.)


  1. Include 1 tablespoon of freshly ground flaxseed in your diet daily. (mix into yogurt, sprinkle on cereal or oatmeal, include in a smoothie).
  2. Eat about 40 grams of fiber a day. To do so increase your consumption of fruit, especially berries, vegetables, beans, and whole grains. Cereals can be good fiber sources but read labels to be sure that flour or sugar is not the first ingredient and that they have at least 4 -5 grams of fiber per one-ounce serving.


  1. Choose fruits and vegetables from all parts of the color spectrum especially berries, tomatoes, orange and yellow fruits, and dark leafy greens.
  2. Choose organic produce when ever possible. Lean which conventionally grown crops carry the most pesticide residues and avoid them (
  3. Eat cruciferous vegetables daily (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and kale).
  4. Include turmeric and ginger as spices in cooking.


  1. Drink 3 – 5 cups of green tea daily.
  2. Drink 4 cups of pure water a day or drinks that are mostly water (tea, very diluted fruit juice, sparkling water with lemon).
  3. Minimize alcohol.
  4. Get a home water purifier if your tap water taste of chlorine or other contaminants or if you live in an area where the water is known or suspected to be contaminated.

Vitamins & Minerals

  1. The best way to obtain your daily vitamins, minerals and micronutrients is by eating a diet in fresh fruits with an abundance of fruits and vegetables.
  2. The exception is Vitamin D which is made in the skin through exposure to sunlight. Get your 25 (OH) Vitamin D level checked. Supplement dose will depend on your level.
  3. When not on chemotherapy or radiation therapy, supplement your diet with a multivitamin that contains:
  • Vitamin C, 200 milligrams a day
    • Vitamin E, 400 IU of natural mixed tocopherol (d-alpha-tocopherol with other tocopherols, or 80 milligrams of mixed tocopherols and tocotrienols)
    • Selenium 200 micrograms
    • Mixed carotenoids, 10,000 to 15,000 IU daily.
    • Calcium supplementation should be calculated – based on how much is in the diet and then what needs to be supplemented.
    • The multivitamin should not contain iron or preformed vitamin A (retinol palmitate)

Source: Victoria Maizes, MD. University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.


Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N., is a registered dietitian with a Master’s Degree in clinical nutrition.  The former publisher of Kentuckiana HealthFitness Magazine, Kentuckiana Healthy Woman magazine and radio show host of Health News You Can Use, Barbara has over 30 years of experience in promoting healthy lifestyles to consumers.  Barbara worked as Nutrition Consultant to the Navy SEALs (8 years) and the University of Louisville Athletic Department (10 years). Barbara has private practice, DayByDay Nutrition,, where she counsels clients on weight loss, cholesterol management, performance nutrition and an array of other medical issues.  Visit Barbara’s new website which is an on-line health & wellness magazine, Barbara writes nutrition and health columns for as well as a weekly nutrition column for the Southeast Outlook. She also designs and presents employee wellness programs to small and large businesses. Barbara is a runner, cyclist, hiker and a mother and grandmother to 12 grandchildren.    


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