October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
HEALTH I always advocate self-care as the first step in preventing and treating health challenges. When it comes to breast health, the importance of self-care is a message I can't share often enough.
It is great to see pink ribbons everywhere in October during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If I had my wish, every pink ribbon would carry an additional important message for women. That message would read "You can improve your breast health and reduce the risk of breast cancer right now with a few simple lifestyle changes."
We may not be able to control where we live or our genetic risk factors, it's true. However, a growing body of research is showing us that women really can make a difference in their breast health through diet, exercise, and weight management.
The following simple steps can help optimize your body's hormonal balance, reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, and provide additional health, anti-aging and disease-prevention benefits. We need to emphasize that everyone should be focusing on what we can control not what we can't:
- We can evaluate our hormone levels with a saliva test. The best way for premenopausal and postmenopausal women to know if their bodies have an imbalance of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone is to do a saliva test. Saliva Testing is the most accurate and easy way to this. We can use bio-identical hormones if we need hormone supplementation. Bio-identical means that the molecular structure of the hormones identically match the hormones made by our body as opposed to Pregnant Mare's Urine which is natural to horses not humans.
- We can change our habits: reduce alcohol consumption and quit smoking.
- We can manage our weight and exercise daily. Studies also show that maintaining a healthy, average weight is just as important in favorably influencing the estrogen/progesterone ratio. Regular exercise is equally important. On the other hand, obesity, high insulin levels, alcohol intake, smoking, oral contraceptives, hormones from meat and meat products, pesticides, and herbicides can swing this ratio in the wrong direction.
- We can eat a balanced diet choosing to eat organically, to avoid pesticides, herbicides, and estrogens in meat and dairy products. Include one to three servings of cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, bok choy, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, and cabbage in your diet each day. Studies show that the active ingredient, Indole 3 Carbinol, helps balance estrogen levels.
- We can supplement wisely with EFA's, essential fatty acids and use a fruit and vegetable concentrate if you do not eat 5 – 8 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
- We can do BSE's — breast self exams, becoming more familiar with our own body.
We can become better informed. Read Dr. John Lee's What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer as a start.