Prevention is better than cure and while the cause of breast cancer is still relatively unknown, below are some recommendations on how we can do our part to lower our risk of developing breast cancer.
1. Breastfeed During Childbearing Years
Research shows that breastfeeding for 6 months or more reduces breast cancer risk.
Additionally, according to a recent study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, women diagnosed with breast cancer who had previously breastfed were found to have a lower risk of the cancer recurring and a lower risk of dying from breast cancer compared to women who never breastfed.
2. Lose Excess Body Fat
Being overweight can lead to increased estrogen exposure because the body makes some of its estrogen in fat. Therefore, the more body fat you have, the greater your risk of developing breast cancer – especially after menopause when the ovaries no longer produce estrogen.
Don’t just use the scale as a measurement – also check your waist circumference as a baseline measurement for abdominal fat. Men’s waists should not be more than 37 inches (94 cm) and women’s waists not more than 31.5 inches (80 cm).
Eating more of a natural, organic plant-based diet, and making exercise and physical activity a part of your daily routine can help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
3. Sleep well
It’s not just about the number of hours that you get in, but also about sleeping between the right times – ideally 10pm to 6am. Even though we have the technology and ability to stay up late, our bodies are still very much in tune with the sun and our environment.
If you stay awake when you should be sleeping or vice versa, it disrupts the hormonal fluctuations that occur during the day and night, and won’t allow you to get in the optimal levels required for good health.
4. Optimize Your Vitamin D Level
While the exact daily dose of vitamin D required for breast cancer prevention remains unclear, research does show that it plays a crucial role in disease prevention.
Safe sun exposure is one of the best ways to increase your vitamin D serum levels naturally (as well as melatonin to help you sleep better).
But if that is not feasible because of work, Vitamin D3 supplements can also be used. Just be sure to check with your doctor first because vitamin D supplementation increases your need for vitamin K2, and requires magnesium and zinc to work properly.
5. Reduce Refined Sugar and Processed Foods
While the direct link between sugar and breast cancer remains a debate in the science community, much of the research does show that higher insulin levels can influence cancer cell growth and other chronic diseases.
Fructose in particular was shown to be the most harmful as it increases proliferation according to a study in the Cancer Research journal.
Reducing all types of sugars, avoiding man-made kinds such as high fructose corn syrup and keeping your natural fructose from fruits below 25 g per day, especially if you have insulin resistance, is ideal for better health.
6. Go Green
There are certain vegetables that are emerging as powerful cancer fighters: parsley, celery, broccoli, broccoli sprouts, kale, collards, and other cruciferous vegetables.
When it comes to eating vegetables, keep it varied and the more the merrier – especially organic varieties.
The best way to get in more greens is to incorporate one or two green juices per day as part of your daily routine, either at breakfast or as a snack during the day. Remember that different colors are rich in different nutrients, so keep it varied.
If you need a good recipe to start, here’s one of my favorites: http://bernaciseme.com/?p=2390
Curcumin is the active ingredient found in turmeric spice. Current clinical trials using high doses of curcumin are showing promising results for preventing and even treating certain types of cancers like breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer.
As prevention, add organic quality ground turmeric powder or the root liberally in your diet. You can add it to your cooking, to season salads and vegetables, in your green juice or as a tea.
Simply add ¼ teaspoon of ground turmeric or fresh grated turmeric to boiling water. Allow it to simmer for 10 minutes and strain before drinking. You can add honey and lemon for added flavor.
View the published version in Women Health & Fitness Magazine.
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