For the Love of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Put Down the Milk

In case you weren’t “aware” of breast cancer, October and a million pink tchotchkes are here to offer their services. But just in time for National “Look Like You Washed a Red Sock With Your Whites” Month, new research is shedding light on how we can actually tackle the number one cancer killer of women worldwide. And the findings might surprise you.

As it turns out, milk does a body bad. A study commissioned by the National Cancer Institute and the World Cancer Research Fund determined that by drinking cow’s milk, a woman increases her risk of breast cancer by as much as 80% compared to drinking soy milk.

The seven-year study examined the health impact of cow’s milk versus soy milk on nearly 52,800 women. The women who drank 8 ounces of cow’s milk a day upped their cancer risk by 50%. And those who gulped down the two to three cups a day that the National Dairy Council pushes—they were in the 80% higher-risk group.

The women who drank soy milk? No increase in cancer risk. On the contrary, the American Cancer Society says that current studies indicate that soy and soy-based foods, including tempeh, tofu and miso, lower the risk of breast cancer.

Add another study to the mounting stack of evidence pointing to meat and dairy as cancer culprits.

World-renowned breast cancer surgeon Dr. Kristi Funk is also the author of Breasts: The Owner’s Manual. In writing the book, she said, “I’d started out researching to prove the way that I had always recommended was correct, which was largely the Mediterranean diet style: lean meat—chicken, turkey, and fish—with lots of fruits and vegetables. I went into the science and was so utterly blown away. … The cellular response to basically all animal protein and all animal fat is nothing but detrimental to your health. … I’d been planning to tell people to avoid soy. It turns out that soy is absolutely anti-estrogenic and anti-carcinogenic.”

And Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University and director of the China Project, the most comprehensive study of health and nutrition ever conducted, found the same thing: “[N]o chemical carcinogen is nearly so important in causing human cancer as animal protein.”

The great news in all of this? Drastically reducing our risk of breast and many other types of cancer is really, really simple.

As the Mayo Clinic reported, “Decades of research suggests that the best diet for cancer prevention is all about plants. That means lots of fruits, vegetables and legumes, and little to no meat or other animal products.”

We’ve long known that plants are The Avengers of health, but there are a few reasons why they’re especially adept at banishing cancer, as the clinic explains: Plant phytochemicals are anti-inflammatory and guard against cell damage. Plant foods are often high in cancer-fighting fiber. And vegan food equals a lower calorie intake, which equals a healthy weight.

Buying all the pink T-shirts won’t do for breast cancer prevention what buying all the produce can. October is also World Vegetarian Month. Coincidence?

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