Breast cancer is an important subject all year round. If fact, the American Cancer Society states that there will be more than 231,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed amongst women in the Unites States in 2015. It is suggested that maintaining a healthy lifestyle reduces your risk of breast cancer. Here are 10 tips to intertwine into your daily life that may help you avoid the disease.
- Maintain a healthy body weight (BMI less than 25) throughout your life. Weight gain in midlife, regardless of BMI, has been shown to significantly increase breast cancer risk.
- Minimize or avoid alcohol. Alcohol use is the most well established dietary risk factor for breast cancer.
- Consume as many fruits and vegetables as possible – seven or more servings per day. Great choices for breast cancer protection include all cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower); dark leafy greens (collards, kale, spinach); carrots and tomatoes. The best fruits are considered to be citrus, berries and cherries.
- Exercise regularly for the rest of your life. Many studies have shown that regular exercise provides powerful protection against breast cancer. Consistency is key! Aim for 30 minutes or more of moderate aerobic activity (brisk walking) five or more days a week.
- Eat the right fats. The type of fat in your diet can affect your breast cancer risk. Minimize consumption of omega-6 fats (sunflower, safflower, corn and cottonseed oils), saturated fats and trans fats. Maximize your intake of omega-3 fats, especially from oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, lake trout and herring). Consume monounsaturated oils (canola, olive oil, nuts/seeds, avocados) as your primary fat source, as these foods have potential anticancer properties.
- Eat smart carbs. Minimize consumption of the high glycemic index, “Great White Hazards” – white flour, white rice, white potatoes, sugar and products containing them. These foods trigger hormonal changes that promote cellular growth in breast tissue. Replace these “wrong” carbs with whole grains and beans/legumes.
- Consume whole food soy products regularly, such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, roasted soy nuts, soy milk and miso. Only consume organic, non-GMO (genetically modified) soy. Epidemiologic studies have shown a positive association between soy consumption and reduced breast cancer risk.
- Minimize exposure to pharmacologic estrogens and xeno-estrogens. Do not take prescription estrogens unless medically indicated. Lifetime exposure to estrogen plays a fundamental role in the development of breast cancer. Also avoid estrogen-like compounds found in environmental pollutants, such as pesticides and industrial chemicals. Buy organic produce when possible; otherwise, thoroughly wash all non-organic produce. Minimize exposure to residual hormones found in non-organic dairy products, meat and poultry.
- Take your supplements daily. A multivitamin, 500-1,000 mg of vitamin C in divided doses, 200-400 IUs of vitamin E as mixed tocopherols and pharmaceutical grade fish oil are recommended. If you have a chronic medical condition or take prescription drugs, consult your physician first.
- Maintain a positive mental outlook. The mind-body associations with breast cancer are significant so engage in self-nurturing behaviors regularly. Develop rich, earnest and mutually beneficial relationships with family and friends. Also get adequate sleep (7-8 hours per night).
The best way to combat this disease is with early detection, so being healthy and proactive is essential. Currently, breast cancer patients have advanced treatment options as well as innovative choices for breast reconstruction – just be sure to choose an experienced plastic surgeon like the top breast surgeon in Scottsdale.
What steps are you taking to maximize your breast health? Which can you improve on?
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