Nutritional Influences on Breast Cancer Risk

The following are general guidelines given by the American Cancer Society in reducing your risk of Cancer.

  • 5 or more servings of a variety of fruits and vegetables daily
  • Choose whole grains over refined grains and sugars
  • Limit red meats, especially high fat or processed
  • Achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • 30-45 minutes or more of moderate - vigorous activity, 5 days per week
  • Limit your consumption of alcohol

Below, some other Breast Cancer related research:

  • 5 servings of fruit and vegetables daily were associated with 23% less risk of premenopausal breast cancer as opposed to 2 servings per day
  • Increasing dietary whole grains and legumes (beans) may be associated with decrease risk of breast cancer
  • Olive oil appears to be protective, and in countries in which olive oil is the predominant fat, there seems to be lower rates of breast cancer
  • Omega 3 Fatty Acids, such as the fat in fish, flax, nuts, is deficient in most Western Diets and this deficiency may be associated with a greater risk of breast cancer
  • The risk of breast cancer is increased at high levels (greater than 2 drinks per day) of alcohol intake.  Red wine appears to be the safest option
  • 3.8 hours of exercise per week has been associated with up to 72% less breast cancer


One Great Way to Eat Quinoa

If you don't already know about this super-grain called Quinoa, pronounced "KEEN, wah," it is time to learn a little about it.  This food is highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high, making it a healthy choice for vegetarians.  Quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it a complete protein.  It is a great source of dietary fiber and is high in magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.  Another great thing is that quinoa is gluten free.  Because of all these characteristics, I consider it a super-food.  Below is one of my favorite summer recipes with quinoa.   

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad


2 cups quinoa

4 cups hot water

2 cups peas, lightly cooked fresh or frozen         

1 medium red onion, diced

1  red pepper, cored, seeded and diced            

½ cup black olives, sliced   

1 green pepper, cored, seeded and diced           

1 cup golden raisins

¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped                            

¼ cup fresh dill, chopped

¼ cup pine nuts, toasted  

½ cup vinaigrette dressing


It is best to soak the 2 cups of quinoa in water for 12-24 hours before cooking.  Drain the quinoa before cooking.  In a large saucepan bring 4 cups hot water and 2 cups quinoa to boil.  Cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes or until the water is absorbed.  Fluff with a fork and cool.  When quinoa and peas are cool, place into a large bowl and add all remaining ingredients except pine nuts.  Toss with ½ cup of vinaigrette dressing.  Garnish with pine nuts which have been toasted in a dry skillet until golden.  Serve warm or cover and chill before serving.  Makes 8 servings.


Wine vinaigrette dressing


¼ cup apple cider vinegar                            

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard                             

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

½ cup olive oil                                              

¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons dry white wine

Salt and Pepper to taste 


Whisk together vinegar, honey, mustard, and chopped garlic in a bowl.  Slowly drizzle in the olive oil and wine, whisking until well blended.  Add salt and pepper to taste.





Be Smart about your Fish!

Many of us know the benefits of eating fish.  So, we go to the grocery store and pick some fish to have for dinner and feel good about our choice.  But, the truth is...not all fish is created equal.  You have to be careful about the seafood you eat.  It could be toxic with industrial contaminants, pumped up on antibiotics from an aquafarm, or it could be one of the last members of an endangered species. 

Here are some smart choices you can make:

1)  Eat low on the Food Chain.  The smaller fish do not build up as many contaminants as do the large carnivores.  They also reproduce quicker and can better withstand overfishing.  Some examples of smaller fish are- sardines, anchovies, trout, arctic char, and bivalves such as scallops, clams, and oysters.

2)  Buy Alaskan.  Alaska has some of the best-managed fisheries in the world.Alaskan-salmon Their wild seafood populations are healthy as far as population and added contaminants.  Wild salmon that are harvested from Alaskan waters contain no antibiotics or added chemicals. 

Go out and look for Alaskan salmon, halibut, and sablefish and replace some of your canned tuna fish with canned Alaskan salmon. 

3)  Avoid Farmed Atlantic Salmon.  According to The Audubon’s Living Oceans Campaign, “farmed salmon are fed more antibiotics per pound of ‘livestock’ than are any other farmed animal.”

In fact, 23 million pounds of antibiotics are used annually in US animal production. Regulating the overuse of antibiotics is a serious problem in the fish farming industry, where salmon are raised in remote locations like Chile and British Columbia.

4)  Look for the Marine Stewardship Council stamp of approval.  The independent certification organization examines wild-capture fisheries and gives their approval to the best in the world. 

A list of retailers carrying MSC-certified seafood can be found at

5)  Learn more about making healthy choices.  The following organizations publish a list of three dozen types of seafood in order from the best choices to worst in terms of sustainability and health:

If you are a sushi lover, go to the Natural Resources Defense Council ( for a guide to healthy sushi. 

One of my favorite sources for great quality Alaskan salmon is



Vitamin D- Why are we hearing so much about it?

Many of you have been asking about Vitamin D because your primary care physician has recently tested your Vitamin D levels or you have read an article about its importance or simply you know that it is important. 

It is well documented that there is a high prevalence of Vitamin D deficiency in Western societies.ViatminD   Surprisingly, we a also finding this to be true of our sunniest states such as Florida and Arizona.  This is because the fear of skin cancer has lead many to avoid sun exposure or use sun screens to protect their skin. 

In the past, 400 IU of Vitamin D was thought to be a sufficient amount to raise Vitamin D levels.  We now know that we need more like 1000IU- 2000IU per day to raise a low Vitamin D level to the normal range. 

Vitamin D levels are know to reduce osteoporosis risk by keeping bone mass high and possibly decrease the incidence of some cancers and autoimmune diseases.  Therefore, until more is known, it would be smart to limit vitamin D supplementation for most healthy individuals to 2000IU per day or less, the dose that the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has set as being probably safe for the general population. 

Five Rules of Thumb from the book, In Defense of Food

When Michael Pollan says, "just eat food," you may think, that's simple.  Because of the thousands of products that line our grocery isles, we are left in a current state of confusion.  The general guidelines below will help us navigate those confusing shopping trips.

  1. Don't Eat Anything Your Great Grandmother Wouldn't Recognize As Food.

By going back this far, we are avoiding most modern foods.  Some examples would include: cereal bars, Go-Gurt Portable Yogurt, Corn chips, non-dairy creamers, protein or vitamin enhanced waters. 

    2.  Avoid Food Products Containing Ingredients that are A) Unfamiliar, B) Unpronounceable, C) More Than Five In Number, or that include D) High-Fructose Corn Syrup. 

The above are all markers to alert us to foods that have been highly processed.

    3.  Avoid Food Products That Make Health Claims.

In order for a food to have a "health claim" it has a package, which means it has been processed to some point.  Typically it is the big food companies that have the resources to secure a FDA-approved health claim.  A recent example of this would be all of the new and improved yogurt on the market enhanced with probiotics.   

    4.  Shop the Peripheries of the Supermarket and Stay Out of the Middle.

Most supermarkets are set up the same way with processed foods in the middle and fresh produce, meat and dairy around the perimeters. 

    5.  Get Out Of The Supermarket Whenever Possible.

Fresh, whole foods are found at Farmers' Markets, CSA programs (community supported agriculture) and your own garden.  Eating local is picked ripe, it travels a smaller distance to get to your table, and the foods are in season.  This means fresher, tastier, and more nutritious food. 

So, go out and find your local Farmer's Market, CSA or get your hands dirty in your own garden.  Doylestown Farmer's Market is located at State & Hamilton Streets, Doylestown, Pa.
Saturdays 7:00AM to 12:00 Noon or go to for more information. 

Eat Well,

Alison Finger, ND