Breast Cancer is among the most common cancers today. It is estimated that there are over 700 new cases daily and one in eight women will develop the disease. Fortunately, the American Cancer Society says men and women can take steps to decrease their risk, and about 30 percent of all cancer diagnosis could be avoided through a healthy lifestyle. Read below for tips on how to reduce your chances of developing the disease.
Maintain A Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the most important aspects of overall health, including breast cancer risk. Overweight individuals and obesity have been shown to increase risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates 20% of cancer diagnoses are related to factors from having an unhealthy weight.
Important to health and to help maintain a healthy weight is getting adequate amounts of exercise. The American Cancer Society recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise a week or 70 minutes of high-intensity aerobic exercise.
Vitamin D helps fight cancer cells and decreases risk of death in those who have been diagnosed. Individuals with low levels of Vitamin D have been linked to increased risk of the disease and higher mortality rates compared to those who have higher levels of the vitamin. Vitamin D can be found in egg yolks, salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish.
Omega 3 fatty acids have been linked to decreasing the rate of development of breast cancer cells. These fatty acids are found in fish, seeds, and nuts among other foods. The most effective omega 3’s for breast cancer development, however, and those derived from fish oil. This form of omega 3 intake may be up to eight times more effective in reducing breast cancer risk.
Iodine is known to interact with estrogen levels in the body. Low iodine can cause increased circulating estrogen levels and increase risk of breast cancer. The recommended daily value of iodine for a healthy adult is 150 mcgs, which can be found in fish, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding need a higher dosage, up to 290 mcgs per day.
Sleep is significant for overall health and wellness. Sleep and melatonin, the hormone associated with sleep, can enhance the body’s immune ability and decrease risk of cancers, including breast cancer. Melatonin inhibits the growth of breast cancer cells and helps the body fight. Melatonin can be found naturally in many whole foods including fruits, vegetables, grains, and nuts, as well as taken as in oral form.
“ACS Guidelines on Nutrition & Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention.” American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org/healthy/eat-healthy-get-active/acs-guidelines-nutrition-physical-activity-cancer-prevention.html.
Atoum, Manar, and Foad Alzoughool. Breast Cancer : Basic and Clinical Research, SAGE Publications, 2017, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5802611/.
LeMay-Nedjelski, Lauren, et al. “Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids Time-Dependently Reduce Cell Viability and Oncogenic MicroRNA-21 Expression in Estrogen Receptor-Positive Breast Cancer Cells (MCF-7).” MDPI, Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 14 Jan. 2018, www.mdpi.com/1422-0067/19/1/244.
“Office of Dietary Supplements – Iodine.” NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Iodine-Consumer/.
“Melatonin.” Susan G. Komen®, ww5.komen.org/BreastCancer/Melatonin.html.
Phillips, Kevin. “Alaska Sleep Education Center.” Foods for Sleep: A List of The Best and Worst Foods for Getting Sleep, www.alaskasleep.com/blog/foods-for-sleep-list-best-worst-foods-getting-sleep.