Breast cancer strikes 1 in every 8 women in the United States and is the leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. But scientists believe many cancer cases could be thwarted by some basic but often overlooked wellness strategies. Heed these holistic tips for preventing and treating breast cancer from Thom Lobe, MD, ND, founder of Beneveda Medical Group in Beverly Hills, an energy medicine center that combines conventional and alternative medical therapies.

Eat vegan

“Studies, including the famous China Study, show that animal proteins tend to feed and support cancer,” says Lobe. “A whole-food, vegan-based diet helps combat cancer by taking away important cancer growth factors. If you’re at risk for or have cancer, you’re much better off getting rid of the animal protein, and that includes dairy, like milk and cheese.” Walnuts are one excellent, vegan protein source; in a 2008 study, mice with breast cancer tumors who ate the human equivalent of 2 ounces walnuts daily showed slower breast cancer growth than the control group.

Eat alkaline, not acidic

“Cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment, so foods that alkalinize tissue fluid—the fluid that’s bathing the cells—tend to reduce cancer risk,” says Lobe. Focus on eating all sorts of naturally alkaline vegetables and fruits—including tart citrus, a surprisingly alkaline food. (See our article on how to pH balance your diet.)