After twenty years of studying nutrition and breast cancer I firmly believe (and the evidence supports) that everyone should learn how to personalise their diet to their genes and lifestyle to improve survival outcomes. However, there are a few things that are more universal – ways that everyone can build into their everyday lives to improve their health and clean up the tumour microenvironment. Here’s my list:
- Greens – at least two portions of cruciferous vegetables, lightly steamed and gently crushed before eating.
- Eggs – a great source of choline for women low in oestrogen, and a valuable all-round multi nutrients with plenty of lean protein.
- A handful of mixed nuts – almonds, walnuts, Brazils, pecans, peanuts (if tolerated).
- A tablespoon of mixed seeds – linseeds and pumpkin seeds, ground or soaked.
- A source of live gut friendly bacteria – yoghurt, kefir, artisan cheese, kimchi, sauerkraut etc.
- Several sources of omega 3 fats – oily fish, organic dairy, walnuts, flax seeds.
- At least 7 different plant foods each day, fifty per week. Some of this may come from herbs and spices.
- Olive oil and/or butter for cooking and dressing food – avoiding all seed oils, and burnt or chargrilled food.
- A tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar in 150ml water an hour before bed (or first thing in the morning if that works better for you).
- At least 13 hours a day with no food being eaten, and managing portion sizes to be hungry before each meal.
- An all-round female multi nutrient e.g. the Biocare range of female multis, according to your menopause status, or Nuzest Good Greens Vitality. Choose a multi with ‘methyl’ formulations of folate and B12 and, unless you have had nutrigenomic advice, avoid supplements that list their Vitamin B9 as ‘folic acid’.
- A botanical based oestrogen support nutrient such as Higher Nature SuperPhyte or Biocare Female Balance
- An Omega 3 ‘fish oil’ supplement – vegan forms are available – such as Nutri Advanced Eskimo 3
- A Vitamin D and K2 combined supplement e.g. Cytoplan Vitamin D3 and K2. Around 2,000 iu per day if you have not sought professional advice. Regular testing is recommended to stay within safe levels.
- A broad range probiotic e.g. Optibac for Every Day, taken for 30 days at least 3 times per year.
- A magnesium supplement – especially if you have a busy life – e.g. Nutri Advanced Magnesium Glycinate. Current recommendations are up to 300mg per day, though Dr Frank Lipman recommends up to 1000mg if stress is a key issue.
- NB some of these supplements may not be suitable during treatment – check with your medical team.
- At least 30 minutes outdoors sunshine exposure in the morning (even if cloudy)
- At least 30 minutes of moderate exercise each day – housework, gardening, walking, cycling – and 2 hours more intensive per week
- Seven to eight hours of good quality sleep in a darkened room – no screens, no pets, no noise
- Scrupulous stress avoidance wherever possible (get support if you haven’t learned how to do this) combined with stress reduction techniques such as yoga, t’ai chi, gardening, listening to music, meditation, mindfulness, laughter, friendship, doing nothing…
- Committed pursuit of happy, healthy relationships, again with support if this is historically difficult
- Recognition and deepening of your personal spirituality and purpose
- At least two days free from alcohol, a maximum of two units on any one day, and a maximum of seven units per week
- No smoking