With diet and supplements, nutritional therapy works to prevent breast swelling and lumps. A high-fat diet can encourage the body to produce too much estrogen. Hence, in cases of fibrocystic breast disease, eating only low-fat foods is recommended. Ideally, all animal products (including chicken, fish, milk, and cheese) should be eliminated from the diet. However, if animal foods are consumed, only use them if they're free of synthetic hormones. Increasing the intake of vegetables and whole grains can help the body get rid of excess estrogen.
Several researchers have linked the chemical methylxanthine with provoking the lumpiness and inflamed cysts of fibrocystic breasts. Avoiding foods with this chemical may reduce symptoms, but it may take a complete menstrual cycle before any change is noticed. Foods that contain methylxanthine include:
- coffee (both caffeinated and decaffeinated)
- root beer
Vitamin E can serve several functions for women with fibrocystic breasts: It can ease inflammation, neutralize free radicals, and stabilize hormone levels. It's often taken in supplement form. The B vitamins may also be helpful.
A naturopathic physician may prescribe daily vitamin E supplements, but high doses of vitamin E are not recommended for women with high blood pressure.