Reducing your risk of breast cancer

Natural tips from Naturopath Gemma Hurditch

According to official 2016 statistics, 1 in 8 women in the UK develops breast cancer. So what natural dietary and lifestyle measures can we take to reduce our risk? Here are some key natural health tips to help keep in check our chances of developing breast cancer:


Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for developing breast cancer. Maintaining a sensible
weight is protective against many forms of cancer. Intermittent fasting or the 5:2 diet is a good
way to lose excess weight and keep it off. Nightly fasting of 13 hours without food, or longer, also
appears to reduce the chance of breast cancer recurrence.

Cruciferous vegetables

Compounds found in members of the cruciferous vegetable family such as broccoli, cabbage,
Brussels sprouts, kale, cauliflower and turnips, contain anti-cancer properties which are currently
under investigation for breast cancer therapy. Keep cooking times to a minimum, preferring to
steam or eat them raw. Aim to eat 2-3 cups daily in addition to other fresh fruit and veg, and chew
well to release the bioactive compounds.


There are links between low iodine intake, poor thyroid health and breast cancer. Japanese
women who eat seaweed daily (rich in natural iodine) have lower rates of both diseases. Low
iodine levels in breast tissue is associated with breast disease; it is worthwhile adding a teaspoon
of seaweed or sea vegetables to your daily diet for health promotion.

Reduce alcohol

Drinking alcohol is associated with increased risk of various cancers, including breast. To minimise
risk, no more than 1 standard drink is advised daily. Alcohol free nights also confer benefits. Risk
increases with alcohol consumption in breast cancer, so try tart cherry juice or reduce intake by
mixing your tipple with soda water.

Exercise and daylight

They’re beneficial to overall health and recommended for both breast cancer survivors and as a
preventative measure. Aim for 40 minutes brisk walking five days a week, with some higher
intensity sessions if you can. More physically active women and those with higher levels of vitamin
D, which is made by the action of sunlight on skin, have lower rates of various cancers, including
that of breast, uterus and colon.

Reduce toxic load

Opt for a predominantly plant-based organic diet. Avoid processed foods, and cook from scratch.
This helps reduce intake of potentially toxic residues from pesticides, additives and packaging.
Look for organic personal care products with only natural ingredients.


Checking regularly for any lumps, bumps or irregularities in breast tissue or the nipple can alert
you to any potential problems. Checking at the same time in your cycle, about 5 days after your
cycle starts is usually best.

Try Gemma’s easy recipe for Cruciferous Kale Pesto – make it fresh when you want to use it, in order to
maximise its nutrient profile.

By Naturopath and CNM lecturer Gemma Hurditch 

Gemma Hurditch

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