As most women are aware, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. According to the National Cancer Institute, more than 200,000 women are diagnosed with some form of this disease each year. Although some risk factors you cannot control, like your sex, age or family history, there are changes that can make a difference. The National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society recommends a well balanced diet along with exercise may significantly reduce your risk of developing the disease.

Below you can find tips on how to lessen your possibility of developing breast cancer.

1. Fiber:According to the Journal of Clinical Oncology a diet including 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day can lower blood estrogen levels. Estrogen stimulates the early growth and development of breast cancer. Therefore, the less estrogen you have in your body, the lower your cancer risk. Another theory is that if you eat more fiber, you tend to eat less fat, and a diet high in fat appears to increase the risk of breast cancer. Add low-fat sources of fiber such as whole grain breads, crackers and cereals.

2. Fruits and vegetables:Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables don't only boost your fiber intake, but are full of powerful antioxidants which help protect the cells against free radical damage. In addition they contain vital nutrients essential for health maintenance. Researchers at Cornell University concluded that there are strong epidemiological studies that eating more produce decreases a women's risk in developing breast cancer. Aim to eat a variety of at least five servings daily.

3. Calcium:Consuming two or three servings of dairy products daily is linked to lower breast cancer risk, according to American Cancer Society that studied postmenopausal women only. Calcium cleanses excess estrogen from the liver, making this nutrient vital in preventing breast cancer.

4. Omega-3 fatty acids:Omega-3 fats have demonstrated a number of physiological and biological effects through which they may reduce the risk of breast cancer and other cancers. Some studies indicate that cells containing omega-3 fats are converted into prostaglandin hormones which decrease the rate of cell division. Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, herring, mackerel and sardines.

5. Exercise:Researchers found that women who exercised regularly reduced their risk of developing breast cancer by 20%. Regular exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight and, therefore resulting in lowering your threat of developing breast cancer. Exercise reduces fat levels in the body, which lowers hormone levels, diminishing chances for abnormal cell-growth in the breasts. Working out reinforce s your immune system, which might prevent viruses, bacteria and cancer cells from developing in your breasts or lymph nodes. Today there are endless amounts of workout methods; between walking, running, spinning, yoga, and pilates find the one that suits you best. You should aim to work out between 30-45 minutes four times a week.

Research into the effects of diet on the risk of breast cancer is still in the early stages. But considering that 1 in 8 women alive today will get this disease, and one-third will die from it, making simple dietary changes now is a smart move. To make it even easier to start adding some of these foods into your diet today, I have provided you with easy and nutritious recipes that are filled with either fiber, calcium, antioxidants or omega-3 fatty acids! Enjoy!

Recipes to Help you Reduce the Risk Factors for Breast Cancer:

Blueberry Bran Muffins

A typical store bought-muffin can deliver close to 500 calories and no fiber. These muffins are only 158 calories and have a whopping 6g of fiber plus the blueberries are loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants. And the best part is, they taste better than anything store bought!

1 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour 1/4 tsp. salt 1 Tbl. baking powder 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 1 1/2 cup All Bran Extra Fiber cereal 1 1/4 cup skim milk 1/2 cup honey 2 egg whites 1/4 cup canola oil 1 tsp. grated lemon peel 1 cup blueberries

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 2. Stir together flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg. 3. In a large bowl, mix cereal and milk. Let the mixture stand for two minutes to allow for the cereal to soften. 4. Beat egg whites and add to cereal mixture. Add oil and lemon peel and stir to combine. Add the blueberries and then the dry ingredients and stir only until mixed. 5. Pour batter into muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins

Nutritional Content: Per Serving: 149 Calories, 26g Carbohydrate, 6g Fiber,4 g Protein, 5g Total Fat, 0g Sat. Fat, 205mg Sodium

Vegetable Soup

The many vegetables in this soup make it incredibly filling and loaded with antioxidants and fiber. Feel free to add your favorite vegetables or leave out ones you don't like.

1 onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 cups peeled baby carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces 1 head of celery hearts, cut into bite-sized piece 1 box button mushrooms, sliced 2 zucchini, diced into bite-sized pieces 1 16-oz crushed tomatoes 4 cups chicken broth 1 teaspoon dried basil 1 teaspoon dried oregano Salt and pepper 2 cups frozen broccoli florets 2 cups frozen spinach Parmesan cheese

1. Heat a large stockpot over high heat. Spray with cooking spray. 2. Add the onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes more. 3. Add the carrots, celery, mushrooms, zucchini, tomatoes, chicken broth and spices. Season with salt and pepper. 4. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. 5. Add the broccoli and spinach and cook for 5 more minutes. 6. Serve and top with grated Parmesan cheese.

Serves 8

Nutritional Content: Per Serving: 124Calories, 21g Carbohydrate, 7g Fiber, 8g Protein, 2g Total Fat, 1g Sat. Fat, 602mg Sodium Poached Chicken Salad with Raspberry Vinaigrette

Spinach and raspberries are chock filled with fiber and antioxidants and olive oil contains omega 3 fatty acids. This salad makes a wonderful weekend lunch or a light summer supper.

4 cups canned chicken stock (preferably nonfat) 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts 1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained 1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar 1 tablespoon water 1/2 pint fresh raspberries 8 cups mesclun greens

1. In a medium saute pan, bring chicken stock to a simmer and add chicken breasts. Poach the chicken for about 6 minutes, turning to cook through. Remove chicken from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside to cool. 2. Slice the artichokes hearts into bite size pieces. 3. Cut the cooled chicken into strips. 4. In a blender, combine olive oil, vinegar, water and 1/4 cup raspberries, and puree until smooth. 5. Divide mesclun greens, chicken, artichokes, remaining raspberries and dressing among 4 plates.

Serves 4

Nutritional Content: Per Serving: 315 Calories, 14g Carbohydrate, 5g Fiber, 43g Protein, 9g Total Fat, 2g Sat. Fat, 1170mg Sodium Broiled Salmon with Dill

Salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which reduces the risk of not only breast cancer, but cardiovascular disease.

1 onion, sliced 1 pound salmon fillet, cut into 4 pieces 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice 1 tablespoon chopped dill Salt and pepper 1 lemon, cut into wedges

1. Preheat the broiler. 2. Place onion slices on the bottom of a broiler pan and place the salmon on top, skin side down. 3. Season the fish with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the lemon juice and dill on top. 4. Broil for 12-15 minutes, or until the fish is opaque. 5. Serve with lemon wedges.

Serves 4

Nutritional Content: Per Serving: 173 Calories, 3g Carbohydrate, 0g Fiber, 23g Protein, 7g Total Fat, 1g Sat. Fat, 115mg Sodium Cheesecake Parfait with Blackberry Sauce

I love cheesecake but at over 500 calories a slice, it's an infrequent indulgence. This recipe will satisfy your craving for the creamy taste of cheesecake-at a fraction of the fat and calories! And the calcium in the cheese plus the fiber and antioxidants in the berries make it a healthy, cancer fighting treat.

Ingredients: 1/2 cup low-free ricotta cheese 4 oz. fat-free cream cheese 4 Tbl. Splenda, divided 2 cups raspberries (leave a few aside for garnish) 2 cups blackberries 2 Tbl. water

1. In a blender or food processor, combine the ricotta cheese, cream cheese, 2 tablespoons Splenda, vanilla and raspberries until smooth. Transfer to a bowl. 2. Rinse out blender or food processor; add blackberries, water and 2 tablespoons Splenda. Pulse to chop blackberries. 3. Using half of the raspberry-cheese mixture, divide among 4 dessert goblets. Top with half of the blackberry sauce. Add remaining raspberry mixture and top with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with remaining raspberries. Chill for at least an hour in the refrigerator.

Serves 4

Nutritional Content: Per Serving: 137 Calories, 20g Carbohydrate, 8g Fiber, 8g Protein, 3g Total Fat, 2g Sat. Fat, 193mg Sodium

Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD is a nutritionist and the creator of The F-Factor DietaC/, an innovative nutritional program she has used for more than ten years to provide hundreds of her clients with all the tools they need to achieve easy weight loss and maintenance, improved health and well-being. For more information log onto