As many of you know, October is breast cancer awareness month. This battle that women fight although relentless can be prevented. In my opinion, the most immediate way to lower your risk is by eating a plant-based whole food diet, getting enough exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. However, we overlook some fundamental lifestyle choices that can also play a role in whether or not our girls are protected. So in honor of this month, I am dedicating this blog post with 15 simple ways to fight against this disease. Even if you can’t commit to them all, start with one and go from there. Every little bit helps!
1 – Stop cooking with aluminum. Use pots and pans made from stainless steel or cast iron.
2 – Avoid excess antibiotics. Do your best to use natural and homeopathic methods before taking a prescription. And remember, your body intuitively knows how to heal itself.
3 – Be mindful of your sunscreen and cosmetics. Many contain carcinogens that are linked to breast cancer. For safe alternatives, check out the Environmental Working Group’s SkinDeep database.
4 – Get some Vitamin D. This hormone is known as one of nature’s most powerful cancer fighters! Did you know? Vitamin D has the ability to enter cancer cells and trigger cell death. We should typically have levels must be between 70 and 100 ng/ml so get yours checked!
5 – Avoid bottled water. Plastic bottles are mostly made from chemicals that leach into the water and increase the risk for breast cancer. Drink tap water instead. Go the extra mile and install a filter directly onto your faucet. It will pay off in the long run while simultaneously reducing your environmental footprint.
6 – If you’re a hot mama, breastfeed! The longer you breast-feed, the greater the protective effect. Not only is it best for your baby but it also suppresses ovulation and your body’s production of estrogen.
7 – Purchase organic animal products. Limit exposure to hormones and antibiotics that farmers feed animals by avoiding all non-organic meat, poultry and diary. To further decrease your risk, reduce your overall consumption of animal products to limit your intake of excess fat, cholesterol and other cancer causing substances.
8 – Eat your veggies! Try to get at least seven or more servings daily (raw or lightly cooked) especially all cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower), dark leafy greens (collards, kale, spinach), carrots and tomatoes, citrus fruits, berries and cherries. Buy organic if possible. Otherwise, thoroughly wash all non-organic produce.
9 – Avoid canned food. Chemicals found in the liner of most canned fruits and vegetables seep into the food and increase breast cancer. Read labels carefully and choose cans that are BPA-free. Or better yet, buy fresh from your local farmers market!
10 – Sprinkle on the flaxseeds. These delicious little seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids as well as compounds that decrease estrogen action in the body. Put two to three tablespoons of ground flaxseed on your oatmeal, mix it into smoothies and shakes, or use flaxseed oil in salad dressings.
11 – Choose carbs carefully. Minimize consumption of high glycemic carbohydrates such as white flour, rice, potatoes and sugar. They cause hormonal changes that promote cellular growth in breast tissue. Instead, choose whole grains, beans and legumes because of their high fiber and nutritional content.
12 – Be careful when dry cleaning clothes. Cleaners use substances that can be hazardous to your health. Gentle wet washing and air-drying are great alternatives. If you must use a dry-cleaner, be sure to remove the plastic packaging before putting them in your closet.
13 – Avoid plastic containers. They contain toxins that are hormone disrupting and are linked to breast cancer. Glass, ceramic and stainless steel are much better options. Beware of Tupperware!
14 – Choose your catch! Many fish contain high levels of toxins and carcinogens. Limit your intake of fatty fish such as trout and catfish because of higher contamination levels. Choose wild, locally caught fish over farmed and when preparing go with baking/broiling over frying.
15 – Don’t worry, be happy! Practice self-care. Sleep well. Hydrate properly. Nourish close relationships with family and friends. Develop a support network. Break a sweat. Get your heart pumping. Do what you love. Maintain a positive outlook. Practice yoga. Life’s sweet so take it in deep slow breaths! And lastly, Love yourself and your body.
Small changes lead to big results. Do your best and put these into play today!