It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I bet you heard. It is difficult to find someone NOT touched by this disease, directly or indirectly. I bet you realize that. When it does touch someone I know or care about, directly or indirectly, I wish with all my might I could wipe it gone. And, I bet you feel that way. too.
So, perhaps one approach is to try to not get it in the first place. Some nutritional as well as exercise and coping strategies may help. Recently, I listened to a lecture on tape from a 2010 medical conference on this topic. Despite it being three years ago, the suggestions are current and ones I hear many times now. You may have heard them, too, but it never hurts to hear them again. After all, isn't that why we have these focused times of awareness and designated months for such onerous topics? To remind us to take it seriously? You bet.
Here is a list of actions this medical doctor suggests to take, based on several various studies, to prevent breast cancer and otherwise lower your risk for many diseases at the same time:
- Exercise. Be in motion three and a half hours per week. A very recent study shows vigorous exercise and even walking reduces the risk.
- Eat more vegetables and fruits. More vegetables have a larger benefit, though.
- Keep your Body Mass Index (BMI) under 30. Click here to calculate yours.
- Drink green tea. Slurp three to five cups per day or take green tea extract (1.5 grams a day). Here is the green tea extract I use that was recommended to me by a nutritionist.
- Eat less fat. The more fat in your body, the more estrogen is produced. Too much estrogen can be linked with certain types of breast cancer. When you do eat fat, consume the monounsaturated fat (avocado, olive oil) as it reduces the risk. Trans fat, found in many processed foods, increases the risk.
- Eat more cruciferous vegetables. These include broccoli, kale, bok choy, cauliflower. radishes, and watercress. These work in many levels in the body to detoxify the liver and inhibit cancer cells. Aim for several servings a week.
- Watch alcohol intake. Keep your alcohol to one drink or two a week or abstain completely.
- Incorporate flaxseed in your diet. One or two tablespoons a day is a good base. I like to throw whole flaxseed in my smoothies as the blender does all grinding for me. (It is best to purchase flaxseed whole and grind them yourself before you consume it as pre-ground flaxseed can lose some of its nutritional benefits.)
- Keep blood levels of vitamin D at 80 or above. It is difficult with sunscreen use to get this high blood level. You may have to supplement or expose your body for brief periods to the sun. Those living in the more northern parts of the world have an even greater challenge to get adequate amounts.
- Keep stress levels as low as possible. Exercise can alleviate stress, which loops back to the first prevention tip. Meditation and forms of yoga that are more calming can help as well.
Pass these tips on to the people in your life - men and women. Breast cancer affects them both. But, I bet you already knew that.
Source: Conference Recording of Nutrition and Health Conference 2010; “Cancer in Women: Nutritional Strategies;” Speaker: Victoria Maizes, MD
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisinplymouth/3934438598/">chrisinplymouth</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/whisperwolf/3335072656/">whisperwolf</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">cc</a>
photo credit: <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/t-moe/2163315778/">T.MoE</a> via <a href="http://photopin.com">photopin</a> <a href="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/">cc</a>