Breast cancer is increasing at a dramatic rate. According to Dr. Elizabeth Boham, “A woman’s risk of getting breast cancer has jumped from 1 in 20 in the 1960s to 1 in 8 today. Tragically, more than 40,000 women died from breast cancer alone last year.” The good news is, you can take action to improve your health and decrease your chance of disease. Such factors as a poor diet, environmental toxins, digestive issues, chronic stress and other lifestyle habits all play a major role in the development of breast cancer. Following the 5 tips below to correct these imbalances is crucial to reduce your cancer risk and improve your overall health.
1. Improve Your Diet
Eating a healthy diet is essential to: (1) balance insulin levels and (2) eliminate excess estrogen — two major factors in the development of breast cancer. Diets high in insulin-spiking refined carbs result in high insulin levels and, consequently, high estrogen levels. The solution is to eat a low carb/sugar diet by enjoying lots of nutrient-dense, organic whole foods. Cruciferous and leafy green veggies, flax seed and sesame seeds are highly recommended to increase fiber, phytonutrient and antioxidant intake. Enjoy quality protein and natural fats with every meal/snack to balance blood sugar. Lastly, avoid/limit alcohol to less than 2 drinks per week.
2. Support Gut Health
Your gut health is the foundation of your overall health. Increase your “good” bacteria content to improve your digestion, which will help you eliminate excess estrogen. If digestion isn’t working properly, excess estrogen gets reabsorbed in the blood. Avoid taking antibiotics, birth control pills, medications, drugs and other substances that kill good bacteria. In addition to the lifestyle recommendations below, include a probiotic and fermented foods daily.
3. Minimize Environmental Toxins
The most damaging environmental toxin when it comes to breast cancer is estrogen and substances that mimic it. We’re exposed to excess estrogen from the use of birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy, eating conventional animal products and from substances that mimic estrogen such as pesticides, compounds found in plastics (BPA & phthalates). Start reducing your exposure to environmental toxins by choosing organic foods, BPA-free bottles/containers, selecting healthier cleaners and hygiene/beauty products, etc.
4. Make Lifestyle Changes
Healthy lifestyle changes are crucial to maintaining good health and preventing disease. Exercise at least 5 times a week to increase insulin sensitivity (strength training, sprinting) and reduce stress (walking, yoga). Sleep at least 8 hours every night. In addition, detoxify your body regularly with daily bowel movements, saunas, epsom salt baths, breathing techniques and deep relaxation.
5. Reduce Body Fat
Lastly, reduce your body fat by following all of the tips above. Dr. Elizabeth Boham explains, “As your body fat increases, so does an enzyme in your fat called aromatase. Aromatase turns hormones made in other organs in your bodies into estrogen. That means your estrogen levels are raised even more, making your risk of breast cancer that much greater. This point is especially important for postmenopausal women. Percentage of body fat is the number one risk factor for breast cancer in this population.”