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Daily Lifestyle Habits to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk

If you've got breasts now or you did in the past (and you have had a mastectomy), you need this information.

It's true that nothing is for certain, there is no way to completely inoculate yourself from breast cancer.
BUT we can take steps to decrease our risk.

Hint: These are accessible to everyone and they mostly have to do with how you live your everyday life - movement, food, what you drink and eat.

In this post and video, I'll give you an overview of daily lifestyle habits that reduce breast cancer risk.



Habit #1 - Get Moving!

The first one is so important and so powerful.  Start TODAY getting more physical activity. 

The evidence continues to mount that being physically active is one of the most, if not maybe the most powerful lifestyle habit to fight breast cancer. Before diagnosis, during breast cancer and its treatment, and after recovery.

Studies show that women who engage in physical activity at any stage in their breast cancer journey - before they ever know they have breast cancer, during breast cancer and its treatment, after they complete their treatment and they're in recovery and survivorship - that starting and continuing an exercise program anywhere on the timeline improves the health of the patient and decreases their chance of dying.

Not to mention the plethora of other benefits of physical activity. It also decreases your chances of dying of a whole list of other things - cardiac disease, stroke. It reduces inflammation, it improves immune function, it helps prevent obesity and excess fat accumulation, which is another risk factor for breast cancer.

You don't have to have a program, just start walking. Walking counts, so get the step counter, start walking, and get moving. The main thing to remember is that sitting is dangerous, and that just about anything you're doing that's not sitting is probably helping you. But specifically, it's protecting you from breast cancer.


Habit #2 - Plant-based Foods

When you increase the amount of fruits and vegetables and whole grains and legumes (that's any beans) in your diet, you start crowding out the space in your diet for some of the other things that you might be eating that you would like to reduce your consumption of.

Do you have to be completely vegan in order to fight cancer (I hear this one a lot)?

Studies don't show that you have to be completely vegan, but what is very clear is a lot of fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts, and seeds are beneficial to the VAST majority of people. When you fill up on this good plant matter, you don't have a lot of space in your diet for some of the other more processed foods that we'll discuss in just a second.

Habit #3 - Reduce or Avoid Alcohol

I also hear this question frequently, what is the safe amount of red wine for me to drink if am a woman with a history of breast cancer? There's no exact answer to that, but studies do show that even less than one drink a day begins to slightly increase our risk of breast cancer.

Consumption of even moderate amounts of alcohol appears to be related to six different cancers, and breasts is definitely one of those.


Habit #4 - Healthy Weight and Body Composition

The goal here is not necessarily to be "skinny", but to be FIT.  This could mean over a range of weights for your height.  Having a healthy amount of lean mass (muscle) and lower excess fat, as well as physcial and cardiovascular fitness is the goal.  And the best way to do that is all the stuff we've just talked about - modifying what you're eating, getting moving, and mixing up some cardio and some resistance training to work on those muscles.


Habit #5 - What about supplements?

A really common question is, 'What supplements can I take to reduce my risk of breast cancer?'  Currently, none of the predominant scientific organizations that make cancer recommendations, feel that there is strong enough evidence to justify recommending any particular supplement.

In fact, in the past, several supplements that have been tried in order to prevent cancer of a variety of types actually ended up being a higher risk for cancer. 

The most powerful thing you can do for yourself is eat some plants and get moving.

Would you like some support, advice, help with habits and a super community?  Join me in the 5 by 9 Healthy Holiday Challenge starting December 4!