We live in an age of breast cancer. About one in eight women will develop breast cancer during their lifetime, according to The American Cancer Society. This insidious illness has been on the rise for the last two decades. Why? There are a number of reasons. Fortunately, there are ways to modify your diet and lifestyle that will dramatically reduce your risks.
Jack Up Vitamin D Production
There are few hormones as important as vitamin D. This one steroid hormone can dramatically reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. That’s because research shows that women who have breast cancer tend to have low levels of vitamin D in their body. Vitamin D receptors are found on the surface of practically all cells in the human body, especially breast cell tissues.
Vitamin D attaches to these receptors, causing oncogenes to stop growing or even die. This means that cancer never develops in the breast, and it never spreads to other parts of the body. This is largely a preventative measure, however, as no study has confirmed vitamin D as a treatment for cancer. So, your best bet is to get regular vitamin D testing done, and get out in the sun (or take vitamin D supplements).
If you choose to get your vitamin D from the sun, your body will only make it when you expose a large area of it to the sun (without sunblock of course). If your shadow is shorter than you are tall, the sun’s UVB rays, which are responsible for converting cholesterol in your skin to Vitamin D, will hit the Earth at the right angle for you to make vitamin D.
Take up yoga, see a masseuse, get romantic partner and start having more sex – do whatever you have to do to reduce the stress in your life. Chronic low-grade stress increases your risk for breast cancer.
Eat Your Vegetables
Vegetables contain phytonutrients, which act as antioxidants. Some of these phytonutrients are also protective against cancers. Unfortunately, most women don’t eat enough veggies and fruit to make a difference. You need roughly 8 to 9 cups of vegetables per day to get the full benefits.
However, don’t let that seemingly daunting task dissuade you. A paltry 3 cups of veggies is better than none. And, 5 cups is better than 3. Opt for variety. Get a good mix of green veggies like kale, chard, spinach, beet greens, and turnip greens. Add in colorful veggies like sweet peppers and beet root and carrots. Don’t forget squash and berries like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. And, don’t forget to add in sulfurous and cruciferous veggies either – broccoli, garlic, and onions.
Alcohol is not only a depressant, it’s immunosuppressive; not good news for protecting yourself from breast cancer. Alcohol may increase damage to DNA in cells. If you find it difficult to cut back on your drinking, you don’t necessarily have to go to alcohol treatment centers to get help, though keep it in the back of your mind as an option. The important thing is to control your drinking and always drink in moderation if you do choose to continue.
Manage Your Weight Without Becoming Underweight
Losing weight is important in managing breast cancer risk. But, it’s more important to focus on body fat percentage. Total weight is relative. So, if you’re 5’0”, a normal weight might be 100 pounds with 15 percent or less body fat. If you’re 5’9”, being 100 pounds would be considered underweight – not good.
Diet and exercise are the most common ways to control weight. But, if you’re having trouble using the usual methods, you might need to have your doctor run a full thyroid panel, micronutrient testing, cortisol testing, and gut pathogen screen to rule out infections and parasites as the cause of your weight problem.
Moving is important. It’s so important that biomechanist Katy Bowman makes it her mission to teach women all over the world how to walk, run, and move in a way that optimally loads the human skeletal system. She even instructs women on the importance of basic human movements, like the squat.
Get Regular Screenings
Nothing beast regular screenings for breast cancer. Just because you eat right and get a million diagnostics doesn’t mean you’re risk-free for cancer. It takes a day, and you’ll be saving yourself years of pain.
Train With Weights
An interesting new study shows that men who weight train are 40 percent less likely to die from cancer. Why does this matter to you? While the study focused exclusively on men, it illustrates an important point. The benefits were not exclusively hormonal. Part of the benefit of weight training is that you become stronger.
As a woman, you don’t make enough endogenous testosterone to get big and bulky. But, you do possess the right mix of hormones to get incredibly strong. And, weight training may help you control your weight, which will help you decrease your risk for breast cancer.
There’s also some interesting research concerning weight training in subjects who have already had cancer – bottom line is that weight training helps protect against muscle-wasting. The time to prepare that body of yours, however, is now.
This should be obvious, but smoking is positively correlated with all sorts of health problems – cancer is one of them. Stop smoking, and start the healing process.
Kevin Martel has focused his long medical career on women’s health concerns. With many years of experience and extensive research, he frequently writes about ways to tackle many common issues and worrisome topics on a variety of women’s health and wellness blogs.