Breast Cancer Prevention
Most of us have been affected by cancer in some way. If you are a woman living in the United States, you have a one in eight chance of developing breast cancer during your lifetime. If you are overweight or obese, you are sixty percent more likely to develop the disease. But don’t despair if you have a family history of breast cancer—up to a third of these cases can be prevented with diet and lifestyle modifications. That’s right: You can override your genetics with a little healthy living.
Most breast cancers are caused by estrogen dominance, meaning that your estrogen levels are too high in relation to progesterone, your other dominant female hormone. Estrogen dominance is very common today because estrogen can be produced from excess fat—and we are a nation that is over sixty percent overweight or obese. Add to this the environmental and dietary toxins to which we are exposed every day—from pollution and plastic water bottles to hormones in meat and pesticides on our fruits and veggies—and we have a real problem. These chemicals, known as xenoestrogens, have hormonal effects. They mimic our body’s own estrogens and plug up the same receptors, leading to excess estrogen in the body, which may contribute to tumor growth. Maintaining healthy female hormone balance will reduce your risk of breast cancer and other cancers of the female reproductive organs.
- One of the easiest ways to prevent breast cancer is to get moving. Exercise! Exercise burns off excess stress hormones that contribute to weight gain and estrogen dominance, and it improves insulin levels. Find something you like and stick with it.
- Get out in the sun. Optimal vitamin D levels are critical in cancer prevention. We are often deficient in the upper latitudes, so get your levels checked and soak up some sun for 15 minutes as often as possible.
- Eat organic. Eat a plant-based diet with plenty of leafy greens and always hormone and antibiotic-free meats. Cut out refined sugars and grains. Following this diet will normalize your weight, too.
- Love your liver, your body’s hardest working organ. Your liver is in charge of metabolizing hormones and detoxifying everything you eat, breathe, drink, and apply to your skin. If your liver is congested due to poor diet and lifestyle (or chemical-filled lotions and cosmetics!), estrogens can build up in the body. Keep your liver clean by cleansing at least once yearly and including liver-friendly foods in your diet: cruciferous veggies like broccoli, kale, and cabbage; spinach, beets, carrots; garlic and onions; and eggs. Drink plenty of water to flush toxins, and cut down on the booze. Here is my recommended whole foods detox plan.
- Increase your intake of antioxidants to fight cancer-causing free radicals. Eat brightly colored fruits (especially berries) and veggies.
- Aside from exercise, engage in stress reduction such as meditation and yoga. Your emotional health counts, too.
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