How To Decrease Your Risk Of Breast Cancer With Nutrition And Lifestyle Changes
Cancer is a scary word; it seems that you see it everywhere you go. The internet is swarming with stories regarding survivors, the latest technology, cures, newly diagnosed patients, celebrities willing to get a full mastectomy to avoid getting breast cancer and so on. Recent statistics from breastcancer.org states that “about 1 in 8 women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime”. I will teach you how to decrease your risk of breast cancer with nutrition and lifestyle changes.
What are the risk factors for Breast Cancer?
Many of us understand certain risk factors for breast cancer in women from the media, social circles, school and family ties. Studies show a very common factor is family history of breast cancer, this is proven not to guarantee that you will be diagnosed with breast cancer. A woman with a BMI (body mass index) greater than 35 is at a greater risk for developing breast cancer than the woman that has a healthy BMI of 20. In order to figure what your BMI is, please click here. Radiation from X-Ray machines increase your risk as well as radiation from the local nuclear power plant in your town. Aging cannot be stopped and comes with many downsides such as wrinkles, bone loss, eyesight reduction, slower metabolism and increased risk of breast cancer.
Women that have overcome the wonders of menopause will now have a lower chance of breast cancer compared to those that have not yet hit menopause. Research shows that if a woman chooses to take HRT for symptom relief when she enters the menopausal state, her risk for breast cancer increasing dramatically. HRT is hormone replacement therapy, a series of man-made hormone supplements to assist your body with the change of life. There is an alternative form of hormone therapy called Phytotherapy using plant based hormones that have a low risk of side effects. For more information, click here. According to the Mayo-Clinic staff that put together a list of the risk factors, being born a female is enough to increase your chance of breast cancer because although men can get breast cancer, women are diagnosed with it more often. The other risk factors listed are drinking alcohol, hitting puberty early, never having children, experiencing menopause at an older age and inherited genes (Disease and Conditions Breast Cancer, Risk Factors, 2015).
BPA’s are found almost everywhere, they are an endocrine disruptor and have been linked to breast cancer by researchers at Duke University (Soucheray, 2014). Every day in America millions of people are eating their meals without understanding what they are actually ingesting. GMO’s are genetically Modified Organisms that a corporate giant, Monsanto, is using to “increase” the food supply. Research studies in Europe have linked pesticide use with cancer in lab animals (Ingrid L. Edstrom, n.d.). Women have been advised for decades by their physician to get annual mammograms when they hit 40 years of age to determine the risk and chance of breast cancer. For too long women have been misdiagnosed and treated for a cancer that didn’t exist until the “treatment”. Mammograms are concentrated radiation that is 1,000 times stronger than getting a chest X-ray. Radiation creates mutated cells in your body.
According to Dr. Axe, a woman with a family history of breast cancer and gets radiation has an increased chance of getting breast cancer by 150% (Axe, n.d.). Everyday household cleaners contain chemicals that are proven to cause respiratory complications, skin irritations, disrupt hormones and cause certain cancers. There is one great organization that lists the ingredients and the toxicity and give you alternative options that are safer, this organization is the Environmental Working Group.
How To Decrease Your Risk of Breast Cancer
Researchers have proven that a diet rich in beta carotenes can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 18%. Taking Vitamin D is good for reducing cancer in women by 60% according to researchers in an article about Vitamin D found in the Natural Medicine database provided by Everglades University. As an effective first step, removing the risks from your life will automatically increase your survival rate. Since it is proven that processed foods and foods that have been genetically modified give you cancers then it would be sensible to eliminate this from your daily nutritional plan. Replace the “poison” with whole, organic foods that have been certified and locally grown if possible. Pesticides and other chemicals used in commercial farming is linked to breast cancer doubling the risk. These pesticides not only affect human health but the health of our pets too.
A raw food diet is a recommendation. Raw vegetables and fruits provide us with the fiber needed to extract toxins from our cells and remove it through bowel movements. Water is a critical step in this process as well, our cells are just like our planet, 80% water. A primary reason that raw food is recommended is because cooking the food will change to composition of the healing properties. Real food heals, always has and always will. History has taught us this a long time ago in Greece “Let food be thy medicine”. Your body also requires healthy fats from omega-3’s.
Phytochemicals such as carotenes, coumarin, dithiolthiones, glucosinolates, thiosyanates, flavonoids, isoflavonoids, lignans, limonioids, polyphenols and sterols in foods have anti-cancer properties. Carotenes are found in dark vegetables like kale, carrots, squash, spinach, tomatoes, yams and potatoes. The fruits that contain carotenes are cantaloupe, apricots and citrus fruits. Carotenes acts as antioxidants to enhance the immune system.
Coumarin has antitumor properties, enhances the immune system and stimulates antioxidants. Coumarin can be found in carrots, celery, fennel, beets and citrus fruits. Dithiolthiones, glucosinolates, and thiosyanates all keep cancer from damaging our cells while assisting with our detoxification process that should be done daily. Theses can be found in the broccoli, Brussels sprouts, collards and kale.
Flavonoids are antioxidants that fight tumors and improve the immune system. They give dark fruits their coloring, found in berries, cherries, tomatoes, peppers, greens and citrus fruits. Isoflavonoids block estrogen receptors found in soy and other legumes. Yes there is food that messes with our hormones, scary.
Flaxseed as a whole and as oil, whole grains, nuts and seeds have lignans. Lignans act as antioxidants to balance our hormones making us less moody for one thing. Limonoids comes from celery and citrus fruits and this will increase the detox process while blocking carcinogens. Polyphenols also balance our hormones, block carcinogens from forming in our cells and will provide antioxidant properties. These are found in green tea, chocolate and red wine. Yes ladies, we can eat our dark chocolate and drink that delicious red wine with dinner in moderation.
Foods That Cause Breast Cancer
If you have had breast cancer before, drinking alcohol increase the risk of it returning. Alcohol damages yours metabolism and lowers the immune system. Although there is debate over the link between breast cancer and caffeine, it’s best to limit the amount of caffeine in your diet. Smoking cigarettes is a risk factor for many cancers due to the carcinogens in the tobacco.
Avoid the white sugar food products that are sold and marketed to look good. As sweet as it is, sugar is not good for us. Sugar does not only cause breast cancer but diabetes mellitus, obesity, chronic pain, chronic inflammation, depression, anxiety and much more. Love the carbs? Yea that’s what they are hoping for, to hook you in so they have a repeat customer, they don’t care about your health. Processed foods are everywhere and they are not food, they are food products, there is a difference. Read the ingredient list on the product before buying, sugar is hiding in plain sight.
- Corn syrup
- High fructose corn syrup
- White grape juice concentrate
- Evaporated cane juice
- Anhydrous dextrose
- Confectionary sugar
- Invert sugar
- Malt syrup
- White granulated sugar
Natural Remedies for Breast Cancer
Acupuncture is a personal favorite treatment for many ailments and is shown to be effective with cancer patients in relieving nausea, anxiety, hot flashes, etc. (Acupuncture–Patient Version, 2015). An interesting herbal remedy proven to kill cancer cells is actually one that we see every Christmas, Mistletoe. This plant is said to be toxic in excess and the breed grown in Europe is less toxic than the breed grown in North America. Although this may be something to be cautious about, the clinical trials done in Germany show promise. The National Cancer Institute makes the claim that “Results of a few animal studies have suggested that mistletoe may be useful in decreasing the side effects of standard anticancer therapy, such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and that it counteracts the effects of drugs used to suppress the immune system, such as cortisone.”
One of the attributes of cancer is inflammation. Many herbs have been said to contain anti-inflammatory proprieties and may support the immune system in lessening the symptom. Many people do not realize that the spices and herbs they are cooking with in the kitchen have medicinal properties. View turmeric for example, this yellow orange colored spice found in India is known world-wide for its anti-inflammatory effects.
Anyone who suffers from insomnia maybe familiar with Chamomile tea that will help them relax and get a restful nights’ sleep in lieu of taking a OTC medicine such as a sleep aid. Chamomile is readily available as a tea in almost every grocery store and health store in the United States. The other benefits that we are not taught about is that is serves as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and astringent. This means that Chamomile slows the growth of cancer cells enough to be documented and considered a supplemental support for the immune system. The immune system is compromised when they have cancer therefor any herb that would support and stimulate the immune system would prove beneficial in the battle to restore health.
Lifestyle Changes-Ways to Relieve Stress and Anxiety
Stress is a huge factor in all chronic diseases including breast cancer. You are fully capable of lowering your stress and lowering your risk. I will give you the lifestyle changes that I practice handling my stress and anxiety. A lifestyle change is a permanent adjustment to how you live your life to improve the quality and increase your mortality rate. Our health increases when we are relaxed and allow our body to heal naturally. We are all born with the innate power to be healthy, free from cancer and other diseases. Stress aggravates and disrupts this internal process creating chaos on a cellular level. Chaos within will create cell death that is cancer.
You may be wondering, why bring this up and what does it have to do with breast cancer? Everything. We neglect ourselves in order to provide for others. We work jobs that pay the bills but kill our health by stressing us out. Living in a fast paced way of life leads us to poor eating habits, poor sleeping habits, mental illness’, and poor coping mechanisms. Fast food and processed foods are everywhere, cheap and convenient so that we aren’t even aware of how this affects us and makes us sick. The surrounding environment, if not taking care of, is toxic to us and toxicity is directly linked to cancer. Nourish your body, mind and soul. Nutrition alone is not enough to create a healthy body.
Focus on breath. Paying close attention to your breath is definitely the easiest method to calm down especially if you have a busy life and can’t find time to meditate for 30 minutes. It can be done anywhere, anytime, during dinner, in the bathroom, driving to work, walking the halls, food shopping etc. I have learned to walk away from my desk at work and hide in the stock room to perform breathing exercises and restore a calm mind before things get too crazy. When I lay down at night, my thoughts worry about work and the stress or arguments etc., so I remind myself that I’m not at work with this simple mantra, “I am home, I am safe”. This will bring my focus back to the here and now. I have recently been using another mantra to start my day, “It’s going to be a good day.” This works very well for me.
Visualize your body whole without cancer. I first learned about visualization during meditation almost 15 years ago during a Reiki class at my old high school. As I was reading my chapters and going through the exercises, I couldn’t help but think of my Chakras and how they incorporate into meditation. A Reiki practitioner will use the body’s Chakras to locate an area that needs healing, sometimes a blocked Chakra can result in losing one’s voice or “butterflies” in our stomach. The practitioner will meditate and visualize opening the blocked Chakra and cleanse it with energy. Now I can use a variety of techniques, I prefer guided visualization.
What is Reiki? Reiki means “true self” is a Japanese healing modality that uses Qi to assist in healing. Qi is our life force energy. The energy that flows through all living things. Traditionally a prayer is said prior to the session, giving thanks to the powers that be. A level II or III practitioner can heal the person through time and space, sending healing energy. The practitioner uses hand positions to align with the illness of the patient, the energy flows through, heals and unblocks the chakra associated with the illness. If the patient is uncomfortable with being touched, the practitioner can hover the hand positions above the patient and emanate the energy. When our energies are blocked or stale, we suffer pain and illness. A headache can be cured with Reiki. The patient feels warmth flowing through their body and they relax. I practice Reiki on myself and my family, it will work on pets too. The Japanese believe that stagnant Qi creates illness in the body, illness such as breast cancer. Even if you are taking a traditional route in breast cancer treatment, which is up to you, Reiki can help alleviate the stress and pain that you experience from Chemo and radiation treatments.
Practice Yoga. Like Reiki, Yoga is a spiritual experience. It is not truly known how old Yoga is. The practice of yoga comes from Hindu, possibly practiced by Buddhist monks. Yoga in the Eastern world is an ancient practice of meditation, stillness, and focus on our inner selves. Yoga is beneficial for the mind body and spirit as is Reiki. Although Yoga does not require hands on from your practitioner or teacher, it is hands-on from yourself to go through positions. Yoga reduces depression, sadness, anxiety, stress, body tension and a long list of other ailments that we suffer from daily. Yoga may not be for everyone, you must always consult with your physician before embarking on a new physical activity. Yoga requires your body to be in motion versus stilled position receiving energy work.
Humans are not the only mammals to get cancer. Click the on the Paw to learn more!
All information contained in this post is for educational purposes only, this does not serve as medical advice. This paper contains factual evidence found from scholarly journals, articles, and medical websites. If you have questions or experience any of the symptoms listed here please consult your physician.
Acupuncture–Patient Version. (2015, November 20). Retrieved from National Cancer Institute: http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/patient/acupuncture-pdq
Axe, D. (n.d.). Mammograms Cause Cancer. Retrieved from Dr. Axe Food is Medicine: http://draxe.com/mammograms-cause-cancer/
Disease and Conditions Breast Cancer, Risk Factors. (2015, September 18). Retrieved from MayoClinic: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-cancer/basics/risk-factors/con-20029275
Ingrid L. Edstrom, F. M. (n.d.). Genetically Modified Foods, Herbicides and Pesticides and Breast Cancer. Retrieved from ProActive Breast Wellness: http://www.proactivebreastwellness.com/dangers-of-gmos/
Soucheray, S. (2014, July 1). Study: BPA Can Activate Breast Cancer Cells. Retrieved from North Caroline Health News: http://www.northcarolinahealthnews.org/2014/07/01/study-bpa-can-activate-breast-cancer-cells/
Murray,M (2005). The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods
Balch, P (2010). Prescription for Nutritional Healing