Women’s Health in the New Year
Every year, statistics show that women’s New Year’s resolutions include living healthier lifestyles. We’re not surprised as there are many positive attributes to living a healthy lifestyle. In fact, it has been suggested that healthier living also reduces your risk of breast cancer. We know that this is very important, especially since the American Cancer Society estimated that there were more than 231,000 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed amongst women in the United States during 2015.
In 2016, we want to begin promoting lifestyle changes amongst women and their families to eliminate the fair of breast cancer. Here are 10 tips that health professionals suggest living by that we can all incorporate in the New Year.
1. Maintain a healthy body weight throughout your life.
Healthy BMI is considered to be less than 25. Weight gain in midlife, regardless of BMI, has been shown to significantly increase breast cancer risk.
2. Consume as many fruits and vegetables as possible.
Ideally seven or more servings per day. Great choices for breast cancer protection include:
- All cruciferous vegetables – broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower
- Dark leafy greens – collards, kale, spinach
- The best fruits are considered to be citrus, berries and cherries.
3. Exercise regularly for the rest of your life.
Many studies have shown that regular exercise provides powerful protection against breast cancer. Consistency is key! Aim for 30 minutes or more of moderate aerobic activity (brisk walking) five or more days a week.
4. Minimize or avoid alcohol.
Alcohol use is the most well established dietary risk factor for breast cancer.
5. Eat the right fats.
The type of fat in your diet can affect your breast cancer risk.
- MINIMIZE consumption of omega-6 fats (sunflower, safflower, corn and cottonseed oils), saturated fats and trans fats.
- MAXIMIZE your intake of omega-3 fats, especially from oily fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel, sardines, lake trout and herring).
- Consume monounsaturated oils (canola, olive oil, nuts/seeds, avocados) as your primary fat source, as these foods have potential anticancer properties.
6. Eat smart carbs.
Minimize consumption of the high glycemic index, “Great White Hazards” – white flour, white rice, white potatoes, sugar and products containing them. These foods trigger hormonal changes that promote cellular growth in breast tissue. Replace these “wrong” carbs with whole grains and beans/legumes.
7. Consume whole food soy products regularly.
Products such as tofu, tempeh, edamame, roasted soy nuts, soy milk and miso. Only consume organic, non-GMO (genetically modified) soy. Epidemiological studies have shown a positive association between soy consumption and reduced breast cancer risk.
8. Minimize exposure to pharmacologic estrogens and xeno-estrogens.
Do not take prescription estrogens unless medically indicated. Lifetime exposure to estrogen plays a fundamental role in the development of breast cancer. Also avoid estrogen-like compounds found in environmental pollutants, such as pesticides and industrial chemicals. Buy organic produce when possible; otherwise, thoroughly wash all non-organic produce. Minimize exposure to residual hormones found in non-organic dairy products, meat and poultry.
9. Take your supplements daily.
A multivitamin, 500-1,000 mg of vitamin C in divided doses, 200-400 IUs of vitamin E as mixed tocopherols and pharmaceutical grade fish oil are recommended. If you have a chronic medical condition or take prescription drugs, consult your physician first.
10. Maintain a positive mental outlook.
The mind-body associations with breast cancer are significant, so engage in self-nurturing behaviors regularly. Develop rich, earnest and mutually beneficial relationships with family and friends. Also get adequate sleep (7-8 hours per night).
In 2016, let’s opt to be more mindful and proactive. The best way to beat breast cancer is with early detection, so being healthy and understanding your individual body is critical.
Currently, breast cancer patients have advanced treatment options as well as other options, like innovative choices for breast augmentation in Scottsdale, and breast reconstruction – just be sure to choose an experienced plastic surgeon.
Photo Credits: The Art of Making a Baby
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Elena is the managing editor for Daily Mom. She enjoys traveling, spending time with her daughter, running several businesses, working on Daily Mom, playing volleyball, going to the gym, photographing and reading. You can contact her via email.