See, Breast Cancer Does Bear Gifts

Breast cancer gave me a gift today. It arrived in my mailbox, and I think it’s pretty cool. Yes, I’m silly like that, thinking gifts can flow from something very frightening and life-threatening. Some day, I’ll write all about the upside of cancer. For now, I just want to share my nifty keychain!

Gift by breast cancer
Gift by breast cancer

Breast Cancer Prevention Through Healthy Living

Healthy is yummy!
Photo: D Sharon Pruitt, Flickr

Thanks to Louise Baker for offering to write a guest post, and for doing such a good job of pulling together some of the best tips for preventing breast cancer through healthy living. Check out what she has to say, then get busy taking her advice!

Pay mind to your diet
More and more, oncologists are realizing that a healthy diet may be one of the best protective measures you can take to prevent cancer, including breast cancer.

Eat fruits, vegetables, and whole grains
As a general rule, the more natural the food, the better it is to eat. Fruits and vegetables have antioxidant qualities, which fight cancer. Berries are one of the most antioxidant-rich foods. Choose a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to get an array of vitamins and minerals. Farmers markets sell fresh fruits and vegetables that are not laden with pesticides the way they are at grocery stores. Whole grains refer to foods with minimal processing and almost always have more fiber than refined carbohydrates.

Avoid refined carbohydrates!
Refined carbohydrates tend to cause much steeper surges of insulin than whole grains. Insulin has a drastic effect on the release of other hormones in the body, such as the insulin-like growth factor and possibly even estrogen. These two hormones have been strongly linked to cases of breast cancer.

Be conscious of the different types of fat
Not all fat is created equal. Omega-3 fatty acids may have a role in preventing breast cancer when eaten in a 1:2 ratio with omega-6 fatty acids. While getting the proper ratio may seem like a simple feat, it is not. Fast food and other commonly eaten American foods have a much higher amount of omega-6 (anything made with vegetable oil is packed with omega-6 fatty acids).

Exercise, exercise, exercise!
Exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer in several ways. A study done at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle gathered that women who exercise have a 22% reduced rate of breast cancer.

Lower stress levels
The mind-body connection concerning illnesses has long been researched. Findings consistently support that stress causes lowered immunity and is linked to a vast quantity of ailments, including cancer. Exercise is key to stress reduction and mental health.

Maintain a healthy weight
While changes in diet may be the best method for weight loss, exercise is the most important part of weight maintenance. According to a study performed by the National Cancer Institute, gaining weight (especially after menopause) increases the risk of breast cancer.

Avoid Certain Drugs

The following drugs have been extensively linked to breast cancer:

  • Estrogen: This refers to pharmaceutical estrogen, such as the estrogen found in birth control pills.
  • Alcohol: Numerous studies show that more than one drink per day can increase a woman’s risk of breast cancer. The risk increases with each additional drink.
  • Tobacco: Carcinogens in cigarettes are well-noted for their cancer causing properties.

Louise Baker ranks online degrees for Zen College Life. She most recently wrote about the best colleges online.