October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Although breast cancer is discussed year-round, October is a special time of year set aside to remind people about what an important issue breast cancer is.

According to the National Cancer Institute, during 2009 alone, there will be 192,370 women diagnosed with breast cancer, and 40,170 women that will die from it.

With the disease affecting so many lives, it is important to think about prevention. One way we can help prevent all types of cancer, including breast cancer, is through our lifestyle and diet choices.

“What we eat can have a lasting impact on our bodies and our overall health," says John Kuropatwa, executive chef of Spigola Ristorante, located in Hamilton Township, N.J.

“There are foods that appear to offer cancer prevention properties, so it's a good idea to try to incorporate them as much as possible into your diet."

The American Dietetic Association agrees, stating that fruits and vegetables provide a complex combination of vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytonutrients, and are low in fat, all properties that make them ideal for helping to prevent cancer.

It is never too late to adopt a healthier diet, especially when statistics indicate that almost 13 percent of all American girls born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives.

To eat a diet that will help prevent breast cancer, keep the following foods in mind:

Grape juice and grapes. Grapes contain resveratrol, which helps in the prevention of both breast cancer and leukemia.

Blueberries. While most berries will do, blueberries are especially good at helping to prevent breast cancer because of the antioxidants they contain.

Vegetables. Mom was right, eating your vegetables is healthy. Those that are especially helpful in cancer prevention include dark leafy-green varieties, as well as cauliflower and broccoli.

Beans. They contain phytochemical compounds and are high in fiber. Think beyond pinto and black to consider such things as soymilk, tofu and soy veggie burgers.

Green tea. Not only does it taste good, but it contains catechins, which are believed to be helpful in cancer prevention.

Tomatoes. The lycopene in tomatoes is an antioxidant, which helps to prevent or slow the growth of cancer.

Orange foods. They contain antioxidants that help fight cancer. Think squash, apricots, cantaloupe, sweet potatoes, carrots, and more.

Whole grains. Foods that are whole grains contain fiber and phytochemicals, making them a nutritional must-have. Include a variety of them in your diet, including tortillas, popcorn, pastas and breads.

“At first, you may need to make some significant changes to your daily diet to get these foods in," adds Kuropatwa. “But once you get used to it, you will enjoy eating such healthy and tasty foods, especially when you know that you are getting benefits that can last for years to come."

About Spigola Ristorante

Spigola is a modern Italian restaurant based in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. To learn more about Spigola, visit the Web site at http://www.spigola.net.

Sources:

American Dietetic Association. 226 128 156"/>Reduce Your Cancer Risks with Fruits and Vegetables. April 2008."

National Cancer Institute. 226 128 156"/>Probability of Breast Cancer in American Women."

National Cancer Institute. Cancer fact sheets.

St. John Health System. 226 128 156"/>Enlist these foods to help prevent cancer."