Physical activity is thought to lower estrogen in the body. Make exercise a part of your daily life. Working up a sweat or taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes or more, 5 days a week can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Add weight-bearing exercise, and you’re also protecting your bones!
It’s important to maintain a healthy weight because there’s a clear link between obesity and breast cancer due to the excess estrogen production in fatty tissue. Researchers found that women who gained 44 to 55 pounds after the age of 18 had 40 per cent higher risk of getting breast cancer than women who fluctuated by only four or five pounds throughout their adult life. Animal studies have shown that reducing calorie intake by 30 per cent can lead to a 80 – 90 per cent reduction in the risk of breast tumors.
Though researchers don’t really know how strong, there seems to be a link between alcohol consumption and breast cancer due to the fact that alcohol increases oestrogen. But experts disagree about how much alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. Some say that even moderate amounts are unsafe, while others claim that drinking up to 14 units a week – more than two bottles of wine – might even improve your chances of avoiding the disease. Until more research is done, doctors generally claim that drinking more than 14 units of alcohol a week (14 small glasses of wine) over a long period of time can damage your overall health.
EAT YOUR SUPER VEGGIES (CRUCIFEROUS VEGETABLES)
Health agencies recommend that you eat several servings a week of cruciferous vegetables (cabage family) such as broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, and bok choy. They all contain certain phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that are important to your health. Various components in cruciferous vegetables have been linked to lower cancer risks. Some have shown the ability to stop the growth of cancer cells for tumors in the breast, uterine lining, lung, colon, liver, and cervix, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research. Note: Combining broccoli with broccoli sprouts nearly doubles the cruciferous vegetables anti-cancer effects. Overcooking broccoli and other vegetables results in the elimination of up to 90 percent of the vegetable’s anti-cancer compounds.
The younger girls are when they start smoking, the greater their chances of developing breast cancer before menopause. Other studies suggest that women with a family history of breast cancer may increase their own risks if they smoke, and that smokers (past and present) who develop breast cancer are twice as likely to get an aggressive form that isn’t dependent on estrogen to develop and grow. A recent report from the California Environmental Protection Agency also designated secondhand smoke as a cause of breast cancer, mainly in younger women.
LEARN TO RELAX
It’s well documented that stress can cause all kinds of health problems. But a British survey in 1995 concluded that women who reported severe stress in the previous five years were 50 per cent more likely to have breast cancer. Although there is still some debate over these findings reducing your stress levels will undoubtedly be beneficial for your overall health.
For healthy living, prevention is key. These are all common sense habits that can prevent breast cancer and improve your overall health and well being.
Best of Health,
Curt Hendrix, M.S., C.C.N., C.N.S