Mitsumasa Nakayama writes:
In thinking about Mrs. Masuda's life
style - particularly her diet, exercise, taste and behavior, we need to
pay attention to her awareness that fewer Asian women develop breast cancer
than women in the West. To begin with, we should clarify her misunderstanding
of this risk factor. It seems that it might help her psychologically, because
she is a highly logical person. So we would give her some practical information
that when Asian women move to countries where there is a high intake of
fatty foods, they consume fatty foods and they also increase their risks
for developing breast cancer.
She has many other problems - for example, she is a postmenopausal woman, she is approximately 15 kilos overweight, she is a moderate drinker and she does not exercise much (she likes to stay at home!). There are four distinct problems in her diet. First, she skips breakfast. This can lead to out-of-control hunger, often resulting in overeating and unbalanced nutrition. So I would advise her that she should eat regular meals so as to prevent several diseases. Second, she prefers to eat Western-style desserts like rich cakes and ice cream. If she constantly keeps eating too many desserts like these, she may very well increase her blood cholesterol level and that could lead her to developing heart disease or diabetes because rich desserts contain fat and sugar. So I should encourage her to take many kinds of fresh fruits once a day at least. They are low in fat and calories, and are rich sources of vitamins. Third, she eats quite a bit of beef and pork and dislikes eating most vegetables. Eating meats too much is connected to breast cancer because meats are part of a high-fat diet. Fourth, she cooks a lot of her food using sweet coconut oil or margarine.
Therefore, I would recommend her, "Please eat low fat foods or take vegetables much more. In a vegetarian type diet the incidence of cancer in general is markedly decreased." But her diet needs to be devised so that some changes in eating ingredients, cookery and taste - for example, from beef and pork to chicken and fish, from sweet coconut oil or margarine to salad oil or olive oil (Dr. Willett of the Harvard School of Public Health concludes that olive oil may actually be protective) . If she says "No," I'll have to show her some data that changes have an effect on lowering cholesterol level and calories. I would say to her, "You love traditional Japanese food, don't you? It is high in protein, low in calories and includes many vegetables. And it has fiber, beta carotene and lycopene that is fat-soluble. Low-fat, high-fiber diets are linked with lower levels of female hormones and a lower risk for breast cancer. Please learn how to cook in the traditional style using soybeans as you can do this easily and take these healthier foods much more. So, don't eat many desserts at the same time." Perhaps this advice will be called a dietary cure. And I can continue by saying, "The best established dietary risk factor is alcohol intake, which appears to increase risk for breast cancer even among moderate drinkers like you. Also, from recent research data, weight gain in adulthood may be a risk factor for breast cancer. So, you had better practice temperance in drinking and make an effort to lose weight by the moderate exercise - such as taking a walk, swimming - in order to prevent breast cancer, not to be slimmer or more beautiful."
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