5 Keys to Preventing Breast Cancer

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October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, observed for over 25 years. The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) organization is a partnership of national public service organizations, professional medical associations, and government agencies working together to promote breast cancer awareness, share information on the disease, and provide greater access to screening services.

When it comes to cancer, prevention is still the only “cure.” Can you reduce your risk of breast cancer naturally? The answer is yes – which is especially good news for women with a family history of the disease. These 5 proven tactics can help:

Eat a rainbow

Fresh produce is more than delicious, it’s also a fierce ally against breast cancer. Superstars include all cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, dark leafy greens like spinach and kale, and carrots and tomatoes. Power fruits include berries, dark cherries and apples. Choose organic whenever possible!

Get fit

Exercise is one of the most powerful breast cancer prevention tactics around. In fact, one study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that women who exercised four hours a week on a regular basis reduced their risk of breast cancer by up to 60%. Aim for 30+ minutes of moderate aerobic activity like walking at least 5 times/week.

Drink in moderation

While a daily glass of red wine can boost heart health, The Harvard Nurses’ Health study, along with several others, has shown that consuming more than one alcoholic beverage a day can increase breast cancer risk by up to 25%. In fact, alcohol use is the most well established dietary risk factor for breast cancer.

Minimize extra pounds

One study found that women with the highest BMIs were 39% more likely to be diagnosed with estrogen-sensitive tumors. However, weight gain in midlife─independent of BMI─may significantly increase the odds of developing breast cancer. In short, obesity is a major risk factor, especially in postmenopausal women. Try to maintain a BMI of 25 or less.

Delete refined carbs

Refined carbs like white rice, white potatoes, sugar and commercial/processed baked goods appear to increase breast cancer risk by triggering hormonal changes that promote cellular growth in breast tissue. Replace them with oatmeal, brown rice, beans and legumes for optimal health and cancer defiance.

There are other natural prevention strategies, but these are highly effective, low-cost changes you can start immediately. Why not make breast cancer prevention a priority?

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