Freelancer Journalist, UK

Right now it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During the month of October, many women take to wearing pink ribbons on their chest, having made a donation to breast cancer research. However, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) are suggesting that women switch the pink ribbons for orange veggies this year, with their new initiative Orange is the New Pink.

PCRM suggest that consuming foods rich in carotenoids will leave women much less likely to develop breast cancer than wearing a pink ribbon will. ‘Carotenoids,’ says PCRMare colourful pigments found in plant that provide an ample supply of cancer-fighting antioxidants.’ According to the director of nutrition education for PCRM, Susan Levin, ‘women who consume the most carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables reduce their risk for breast cancer by about 19 percent.’

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To reduce the risk of breast cancer, it’s recommended that women consume between 3 to 6 mg of beta-carotene – a type of carotenoid – every day. Beta-carotene is found in dark green, orange and red veggies. PCRM give some examples of just how easy it is to get this amount of beta-carotene with one cup of cooked spinach providing a huge 11.3mg of the stuff. Other beta-carotene rich veggies include carrots, butternut squash and red peppers.

However, it’s not just beta-carotenes that can help prevent breast cancer. A whole foods plant based diet has been proven to effectively reduce someone’s risk of cancer. PCRM recommend that[w]omen should limit or avoid alcohol, dairy products, and red and processed meat products.’

Plant foods reduce the risk of cancer in a number of ways. Firstly, they contain phytochemicals, compounds that prevent cell damage and by extension reduce the risk of cancer developing in the body. In addition to this, plant foods are high in fibre and low in fat, both of which help the body maintain healthy hormone production. Increased hormone production can lead to high levels of estrogen in the body which can cause breast cancer.

Recently, Time Magazine also recommended a plant based diet as a way of increasing wellness and positive thinking during in breast cancer recovery.

PCRM’s new initiative aims to promote the power of vegetables and the effects that diet can have on health. So why not switch the pink ribbon for an orange this October and fight breast cancer with your food?


Image credit: PCRM