For most women, breast cancer is a real and ominous threat that can drastically impact on your quality of life from the moment of diagnosis. This article aims to help empower you and put you back in control in order to decrease your breast cancer risk. The article will suggest scientifically proven preventative measures in order to stop breast cancer from taking the driver’s seat in your life.
Investing in your health can significantly decrease your chances of getting breast cancer. The discussion on prevention can be lengthy. However, the discussion should begin with the prescription of proper nutrition, physical activity and suitable lifestyle choices that will act as catalysts in significantly decreasing your breast cancer risk. Unfortunately, the majority of the population is not interested in a change in lifestyle as a preventive measure until it has already caused severe damage and the individual is diagnosed with a disease. By then it is too late to contemplate prevention and instead it’s time to start thinking treatment.
Why does it take cancer looming on your doorstep to scare you into taking drastic measures towards a healthy lifestyle?
Be proactive, not reactive
A great analogy comes in the form of smoking. Consider this: you have been a habitual pack a day smoker for say 20 years. You have tried to quit but it never works out. At your yearly check up your doctor examines your mouth and throat and finds something suspicious. The doctor decides to run some blood analysis laboratory tests and to also take a biopsy to “rule out cancer.” Your world is turned upside down and suddenly you are regretting all of those years of cancer sticks. Fortunately for you, the results come back negative and you vow to never smoke another cigarette again in your life and you quit cold turkey.
This example demonstrates a clear cause-effect paradigm (cigarette consumption = mouth cancer). Breast cancer is essentially the same, although instead of predominantly one distinct chronic habit, it is caused by an accumulation of external and internal risk factors such as gender, age, genetic predisposition, diet, body fat percentage, fitness level, race and family history. Some variables you are fully in control of, and some you may not be.
Even though women are conscious of this cause-effect situation, most are still not interested in adopting a drastic lifestyle change until an acute by-product of the chronic condition is knocking on their proverbial door.
Let’s take charge of what we CAN control to decrease the breast cancer risk of our loved ones! Here are my top 10 anti-cancer lifestyle rules. These will help towards promoting a happy, healthy, long and hopefully breast cancer free life.
1. Move your body
Aim for 5-7 hours of exercise a week, minimum. Yes, you heard me, and if for you that means walking, running, biking, bodybuilding, swimming, rock climbing, crossfit, football, surfing or whatever, it may be the more you sweat, gain muscle, and maintain a healthy lean body fat percentage the better for your overall health.
2. Eat clean
Just like you would not want to put diesel fuel in a regular car engine, your body is the same and needs optimal fuel for best performance or it may just break down on you. Go organic when you can. Choose whole foods such as fish, eggs, poultry, fruit and veggies. Whole foods are full of phytonutrients, providing essential vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals to promote health. Steering clear of processed foods packed with sugar will help regulate your insulin levels and prevent insulin resistance. Healthy fats including avocado, coconut oil and olive oil are also very important to lubricate your inner engine.
3. Get in your greens
Getting in your 7-10 servings of veggies a day can be a crucial step towards healthy living. Cruciferous veggies (broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, and kale) can help with detoxification and hormonal balance.
Increase your fibre intake. For women, a goal of approximately 35 grams per day would be ideal, while males should look for 30 grams. Suggested sources include vegetables, thin skinned fruits, nuts and seeds, quinoa and brown rice or a supplement with psyllium husk.
Make sure every night you are clocking in at least seven hours. Listen to your body. Sleeping can help in weight control, decrease stress, and enhance proper immune function, all of which are important precursors in preventing breast cancer.
6. Get your Vitamin D
These are the options to make sure you are not going to be Vitamin D deficient:
• Get more sunlight (not too hard in Doha, but be careful, too)
• Eat dietary sources such as fatty fish, fish liver oil or eggs
• Take a supplement with Vitamin D3.
Ideally get a blood test done before supplementing in order to know where you stand and follow up with a second test after a supplementation protocol to track your progress.
7. Gut health
Increase your healthy gut flora. Supplementing with probiotics are a great way to balance your gut bacteria for the better, and this helps with digestion and detoxification.
8. Decrease your toxic load
Avoid over-exposure to such things as BPAs (plastic bottles), parabens (beauty products), phthalates, limit medications such as Tylenol and Advil, and try to use organic indoor cleaning products. Toxins are poison and decreasing your toxic load through being more aware of what we drink, eat, breath and put on our skin can drastically affect the way we feel and function.
Limit your “refreshments” intake. One standard refreshment a day increases a woman’s relative risk of breast cancer by up to 13%. The higher the daily consumption of refreshments, the higher the risk of breast cancer.
10. Get lean
Try to achieve or maintain a healthy body weight. This is the single most determining factor in decreasing the risk of breast cancer and can be achieved through all of the above steps. Stick to these 10 rules and you will be well on your way to living a highly efficient, energetic, happy life, hopefully cancer free.
Cameron Black is part of the team at Evolve, a fitness and wellness company. It offers fitness classes, personal training, nutritional advice and more. Visit www.evolvemindbodysoul.com.
Healthy eating – rainbow salad
Serves 4 people – try with grilled fish
½x Red cabbage
1x small bowl baby spinach
1x large pomegranate
2x small carrots
2x tea spoons flax seed
2x tea spoons chia seed
1x red and yellow pepper
• Hand full of raspberries
• Coconut oil – eight large table spoons
• Avocado oil – eight large table spoons
• Balsamic vinegar – eight large table spoons
• 1x red chilli deseeded and chopped finely (optional)
• Fish sauce – 3/4 large table spoons
• 1x teaspoon of honey
• Blend the above and the dressing is ready to use.
Have a large mixing bowl and serving plate, finely slice the cabbage and pick the seeds out of the pomegranate.
Blanch the asparagus in boiling, salted water until al dente and then place into iced water to cool. Grate carrots, deseed and finely slice the peppers.
Cut the asparagus to bite size pieces and place all ingredients into the bowl, minus the avocado and mix well with the dressing. Keep a bit of the dressing back. Place on a serving plate and then add sliced avocado pieces. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and eat right away.
This salad goes great with grilled tuna or wild salmon for extra taste.