Breast Cancer & Diet: Information & Safety

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Ravleen Sakaria (MS, RD)

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A young woman wearing a plain T-shirt with pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness

Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Eating a plant-based diet, maintaining a healthy weight and getting regular physical activity remain the best strategies for reducing breast cancer risk. No one food component will prevent or cure cancer on its own. Science has shown that consuming nutrient-dense plant foods can potentially decrease the risk of cancer. The most researched plant foods that protect against breast cancer include garlic, broccoli, grapes, green tea, lignans, soy, tomatoes, and dark green leafy vegetables. According to the CDC, breast cancer is defined as the uncontrolled proliferation of cells in the breast tissue. The most common kinds of breast cancer include invasive ductal carcinoma and invasive lobular carcinoma. Symptoms include lumps in the breast or under the armpit, nipple discharge or thickening/swelling of all or part of the breast. Note: The home remedies for breast cancer are available not for treating the disease completely, but to boost the immune system or kill the cancerous tissues to a certain extent.

Home Remedies for Breast Cancer

Let us take a look at some of the home remedies for breast cancer in detail:


According to the American Institute of  Cancer Research (AICR), garlic’s anticancer activity arise from the presence of allyl sulfur compounds and phytochemicals. Studies have shown that garlic may be able to inactivate carcinogens, help with DNA repair and limit the ability cancer can spread by inhibiting the tumor’s blood vessel growth. Garlic can be prepared in many ways depending on flavor preference. Use whole garlic for a hint of flavor, sliced garlic for subtle flavor, chopped garlic for medium flavor, or crushed/minced garlic for the strongest flavor.


Research continues to unfold regarding broccoli intake and cancer prevention. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli are known to have well-studied compounds such as glucosinolates, carotenoids, Vitamin C, kaempferol, and quercetin. These compounds are involved in decreasing inflammation, deactivating carcinogens, supporting the immune system, and acting as antioxidants. The best cooking methods to retain the nutrients present in broccoli, including steaming, microwaving, sauteing or stir-frying.


Grapes are a rich source of resveratrol, a phytochemical known for its anti-cancer effects. Current studies suggest resveratrol may behave as an antioxidant and possibly slow the growth of cancer cells. Studies have also shown that resveratrol is involved in inhibiting the formation of tumor cells in breast tissue.


Whole-grains include wheat, corn, quinoa, millet, farro, and oatmeal to name a few. The variety of grains has made it difficult to determine how they exactly decrease cancer risk. All grains contain fiber which is known to be involved in helping to maintain weight. Excess body weight increases the risk of breast cancer so adequate fiber consumption is key for these patients. It is also theorized that fiber can dilute potential carcinogens and promote the growth of healthy bacteria in the GI tract.

Green Tea

According to Dr. Jian-Min Yuan’s report in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, green tea has anti-inflammatory properties and anti-cancer properties. Green tea contains the compound catechin EGCG exhibiting strong antioxidant effects. However, despite its chemopreventive potential and compelling evidence from animal studies, the role of green tea in breast cancer development remains unclear. More research studies are thus required to elaborate its role in preventing breast cancer.


Lignans are found in flaxseeds, sesame seeds, kale, broccoli, and apricots. They are known as plant nutrients termed “phytoestrogens”. Phytoestrogens are particularly important because they can decrease cell growth in breast tissue. Evidence shows that flaxseeds can potentially prevent damaged cells from reproducing which can suppress breast tumor growth (Oncology Nutrition).


Soy foods contain isoflavones, a phytoestrogen that has a similar chemical structure as estrogen but instead behaves as tumor suppressors. Isoflavones also slow the growth of cancer cells, stimulate cancer cell self-destruction (apoptosis), and are involved in antioxidant defenses. Soy foods include soymilk, tofu, soybeans, and tempeh.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D intake has been associated with a lower risk of breast cancer. A team of Jordanian researchers published a report in the Breast Cancer: Basic and Clinical Research Journal that states that there is an inverse association between vitamin D level and breast cancer risk. Vitamin D can be found in milk, eggs, and cod liver oil, but not in cheese and yogurt.


Research suggests that exercising an hour daily reduces the risk of breast cancer in women of any age and any weight. A report by Michigan State University also suggests that physical activity and a healthy diet may help to reduce the risk of cancer.

Low-Calorie Diet

Dr. Kevin A Camphausen, Dr. Jason Savage published research in the Breast Cancer Research and Treatment Journal, which suggests that a low-calorie diet may slow down the tumor growth in cases of breast cancer.

Olive Oil

According to a study published in the US National Library of Medicine, hydroxytyrosol, a major component of olive oil may help prevent breast cancer in postmenopausal women.


Tomatoes are a great source of Vitamin C and carotenoids. Studies have shown that consuming tomatoes can have a neutral or a possible protective effect at decreasing cancer by helping to protect DNA from damage. Tomatoes are versatile; eat them raw or try cooking them by adding pureed/crushed tomatoes to a soup, stew or curry.

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, mustard greens, and collard greens are a few leafy vegetables that contain carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin. Research has shown these carotenoids act as antioxidants and can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells.

Ways to Prevent

Lifestyle and Diet: Though not yet curable, breast cancer can be prevented by certain precautionary measures like diet and a balanced lifestyle.

  • Focus on consuming a diet rich in a variety of nutritious foods including whole grains, lean protein, plant-proteins, and whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Maintain a healthy weight throughout your life by balancing diet and exercise.
  • An additional dietary regimen should be followed as the patient undergoes chemical or radiation therapy that tends to show various side effects like hair loss and nausea.

Foods to Avoid

It is advised to limit the consumption of processed meat products such as hot dogs, deli meats, sausages, and bacon. Consuming less red meat including beef, veal, lamb and pork are also recommended. Disclaimer: Home remedies for breast cancer mentioned here must be discussed with your doctor or physician. The website must not be held responsible for any problem arising due to negligence adopted by any of its visitors or readers. Protection Status
About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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