Cancer can be a devastating illness, both for the person with the cancer, and their family and friends around them. Treatment can be invasive, time-consuming and extremely expensive, and its effectiveness varies from person to person. That’s why I feel it’s so important that we discuss ways that you can decrease your risk of getting cancer - specifically, breast cancer - through certain lifestyle changes that anyone can make, today.
Breast cancer affects over 1.7 million women every year and that number is on the increase. The causes for breast cancer can be varied and, in some cases, unavoidable, but there is strong scientific evidence to show that there are actionable steps you can take to reduce your risk or, at least, improve your chances of remission and survival. I want to share with you five strategies that you can implement into your life, right away, that will improve your chances.
1 - Lifestyle
Physical activity has been shown to decrease the incidence of breast cancer by around 25%. While this is based on average data of general activity and exercise, I recommend two hours of walking every week, with at least one hour of that being a single walk. You may need to build up to that, and always check with your doctor first what they recommend for you.
Weight loss is also an important factor, because body fat, especially in large amounts, is endocrinologically active, pushing hormones like estrogen into your body, increasing your risk of breast cancer. About 15% of breast cancer cases are linked with obesity, so reducing your body fat can dramatically improve your chances of avoiding or surviving breast cancer. If you’re not sure where to get started on weight loss, you are invited to join my free and private Weight Loss Awakening Group on Facebook.
2 - Micronutrients and vitamins
A lot of people use multivitamin and mineral supplements, but if you don’t, make sure it doesn’t contain folic acid, as this increases your risks of breast cancer. Take note, though, that folic acid and folate - which is found in green leafy vegetables and does not increase your risks - are not the same thing. You can find out more about folate and other nutrients from Dr Fuhrman’s website. Dr Fuhrman’s Nutritarian Diet, which is focused on nutrition for disease prevention and reversal, has been profoundly effective for a great many patients that I’ve worked with.
Vitamin D is also very important for general cancer risk, and this is something you should have checked if you don’t know your levels. You can request a test from your doctor, or you can do self-testing, information about which is available online. Your Vitamin D levels need to be between 35 and 50, and if they are not high enough, you will need to either supplement.
3 - Diet additions
Your diet can play a vitally important role in disease prevention. It’s recommended that you eat one pound of leafy greens every day, and Dr Fuhrman recommends that half should be raw and half cooked to maximize the benefits. In the Weight Loss Awakening Group, we discuss several ways you can incorporate that into your diet easily. Just this one dietary change can make a significant difference to your health, and it also helps you reduce hunger and improve your health generally, thanks to the increase in nutrients.
You can also add a lot of flavor to your meals, as well as improving your diet’s anti-tumor capabilities by adding mushrooms - any kind that you like.
Flax seeds contain lignans, which can reduce the levels of estrogen compounds in your blood, which in turn helps reduce your breast cancer risk. They are also high in fiber and great for reducing cholesterol. I recommend eating two tablespoons of flax seeds daily - you can just add them to a smoothie or in your salad, or get creative. If you use whole seeds, you will need to grind them, and if you use ground seeds, be sure to store them in the freezer to protect the oils.
Non-dairy probiotics are another good addition to your diet, because these improve your gut biome health which has been proven to have benefits for the entire immune system. Those are non-dairy fermented foods, like sauerkraut or kimchi, coconut kefirs or yogurts, and it’s actually also quite easy to make these yourself.
4 - See the dentist
This may sound surprising, but periodontal disease, especially in post-menopausal women, comes with an increased risk of breast cancer, as well as other diseases like heart disease. That’s why it is important to visit your dentist regularly.
5 - Diet subtractions
This can be one of the most difficult ones, as many people don’t want to remove things from their diet. However, these can make a considerable difference in reducing your risk of breast cancer.
First, reduce your insulin levels by reducing your levels of animal protein, which includes dairy. These are insulinogenic, and insulin can act as growth agents for tumors through the action of insulin like growth factor(IGF-1). Reducing your animal protein intake can dramatically reduce your excess insulin.
Don’t worry about getting in protein, though, as the added leafy greens I mentioned earlier should help balance your nutrition. That said, if you do eat animal protein, realistically, you don’t need more than 20 to 30 grams each day, which is the equivalent of a can of sardines.
Also, if you do want to keep eating animal protein, it helps to be aware of where your meat is coming from. Most of the store-bought meat comes from suppliers where the animals are exposed to a great deal of toxins, and those toxins are stored in the fat of the animal. That means you take in a lot of those toxins when you eat the meat and fat. Always look for meat from naturally raised and bred animals. It helps to know the farm they come from.
How you cook the meat, as well as other foods, is important. For example when grilling, frying or barbecuing meat, the char layer is full of toxins and carcinogens, where steaming, stewing, braising, or slow cooking the food doesn’t create that char layer. It is better to choose these methods, but if you do barbecue, adding a marinade with plenty of spices can reduce that toxin load. Those spices are loaded with antioxidants that help reduce the risk.
The most difficult one for many people is reducing or eliminating alcohol, even though alcohol - even in small amounts - can increase the risk of breast cancer in women. Try to limit alcohol to special occasions if you can’t give it up completely, especially if you have a family history of breast cancer.
Lastly, avoid foods and drinks that raise your blood sugar levels. This again is related to increased insulin levels, which increase the risks of breast cancer. This includes refined starches, white rice, potato, that kind of thing, and also, of course, sugar. If you can eliminate these, that’s the best, or otherwise try to reduce them at least.
If you would like to join the private Facebook group, Weight Loss Awakening Friendship Group, you can join it here.
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