Here are some things you need to know about breast cancer:
- 1 in 8 women in the US will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.
- It is estimated that 38 percent of all breast cancer cases in the US could be prevented with simple, everyday changes to what we eat and how much we move.
While there is no certain way to prevent breast cancer, it has been found that leading a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk and boost your odds for full recovery if you do get breast cancer. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the perfect time to learn how to reduce your risk through eating right and engaging in physical activity.
While all women are vulnerable to developing breast cancer, certain women are at a higher risk. Risk factors include certain ethnicity, family history of breast cancer, menstruation before age 12, menopause after age 55, inherited gene mutations, pregnancy of first child after age 30, overweight or older age.
Even if you fall into a high-risk group, eating smarter can make a difference, studies suggest. There’s evidence that these foods — high in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients — may help protect against some cancers. Some of these foods include:
- Cruciferous and dark, leafy green vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards and kale
- Fruits: Citrus, berries and cherries
- Whole grains: Oats, barley, bulgur, whole-grain pastas, breads, cereals and crackers
- Legumes: Dried beans and peas, lentils and soybeans
We have all heard the saying, “You are what you eat.” If we can control breast cancer through our diet and healthy living, we can focus more on prevention.
Healthy Lifestyle choices may help lower your risk of different types of cancer and other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Being physically active, achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, limiting alcohol and to a lesser degree, eating fruits and vegetables may help lower your risk of breast cancer. Other factors are good for your overall health and may help lower the risk of other types of cancer.
Everyone should strive to:
- Be physically active (get regular exercise).
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. (Survivors who are overweight or obese should limit high-calorie foods and beverages and increase physical activity to help with weight loss.)
- Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day.
- Choose 100 percent whole grain foods (such as 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa).
- Limit red meat and processed meat. Choose chicken, fish or beans more often.
- Limit “bad” fats (saturated and trans fats). These are found in foods such as red meat, fatty deli meats, poultry skin, full fat dairy, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn.
- Eat “good” fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). These are found in foods such as olive and canola oil, nuts and natural nut butters, avocado and olives.
- Limit alcohol intake to less than 1 drink a day for women and fewer than 2 drinks a day for men. (Adapted from the American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines, 1995.)
It’s never too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle.
Being more active, eating a balanced diet and becoming more aware of your health can be physically and mentally rewarding at any point in life.
This will be my final post regarding Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women for this month of October. There is so much to learn, to understand, to process. One major item I have learned from my initial research is how important Exercise, Nutrition, and Spiritual well-being is for the steps needed for recovery. It definitely is a “one day at a time” process.
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As always, I am…a concerned and learning Boomer Explorer.