Lately it seems like pretty much everyone knows someone who has been affected by breast cancer. Indeed, current statistics are that 1 in 9 women in Canada will get breast cancer in her lifetime. Understandably, this reality and the associated media attention has created a lot of fear. But what the media doesn’t emphasize is that the majority of cancer is caused by “diet & lifestyle” and environmental factors rather than genetic heredity, which in fact accounts for only about 7% of breast cancer.
In other words, there are many things you can do to enhance your overall health, and dramatically decrease your risk of developing breast cancer or a recurrence of cancer. Below is a list of my top 10 tips for proactive breast health. For more information, and for an individualized health plan, consult with Mahalia Freed, ND or your naturopathic doctor.
- Be in touch—know your breasts, be familiar with their changing lumps; get regular breast exams, consider baseline and regular screening via breast thermography. For information on thermography & clinics in your area, see http://www.prohealthimaging.com/index.htm
- Go with the flow—Ensure optimal functioning of your lymphatic system by: wearing proper-fitting bras & wearing them less often, doing gentle dry skin brushing, and/or using therapeutic oils such as breast/chest oil or castor oil
- Get physical—Regular physical activity and minimal alcohol consumption are associated with lowered rates of breast cancer
- Sweat it out—Regular saunas, especially infrared saunas, promote excretion of some of the cancer-causing chemicals we accumulate in our tissues.
- The clear choice—Minimize exposure to harmful estrogenic chemicals: do not microwave in plastic (or at all!), convert to storing food & water in glass or stainless steel, avoid PVC products, eat organic more often, avoid canned food (tin cans contain Bisphenol A in the lining)
- Spice up your life—Include turmeric, a classic Indian spice, in your cooking to decrease inflammation and inhibit cancer; include Rosemary for enhanced phase II liver detoxification & estrogen metabolism
- Right for the gut—Freshly ground flax (1-2 tbsp daily in a smoothie/on salad/in cereal) is not only a great source of fibre (aim for 30 g of fibre per day), but will help to eliminate highly active estrogen, improve gut flora, and is clinically proven to decrease tumor size
- B is for …Brassicas—A family of veggies, including broccoli, kale, cabbage, and bok choy that not only contain loads of vitamins and minerals, but also contain indole-3-carbinol, a substance known to inhibit the growth of breast cancer cells and stimulate cancer cell death
- Eat this up—Aim for a rainbow of colours in your 8 daily servings of vegetables and fruits; choose whole foods rather than processed foods; include lentils & beans
- A well-oiled machine—Choose healthy fats: olive oil, fish oil, organic animal products (and grass-fed if beef, elk, venison, buffalo…)