By Vera Viner
Now that the holiday season is upon us, I thought it a good idea to use a twist on an old Christmas saying and provide breast cancer survivors and women at risk with a list of breast cancer prevention tips. Don’t wait for the New Year to begin a new regime, especially if you tend to overeat during the holidays. Below I outline steps to take over the next twelve days to lower your chance of contracting breast cancer.
Day 1: Break a Sweat by Exercising for One Hour
By exercising for an elongated period of time, you will be able to lower the levels of estrogen and insulin circulating around your body. Aerobic exercise, specifically, will cause oxygen to circulate quickly throughout your body and cardiovascular system. One study found that aerobic workouts led to a rise in metabolite ratios, which are associated with low breast cancer risk. Make sure to get on that treadmill or stationary bike to lower your cancer risk!
Day 2: Add Some Broccoli, Kale, and Carrots to Your Dinner
Antioxidants are vital for reducing your chances of contracting cancer. These substances break down free radicals, which can damage DNA and cellular function. Therefore, make sure to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables for a higher intake of antioxidants. When trying to keep your breasts healthy, make sure to eat salads, especially those filled with broccoli, kale, and carrots. In fact, kale chips may be a great snack for today. Next time you’re out grocery shopping, add these veggies to your cart!
Day 3: This Friday Night, Skip the Cocktails, Wine or Beer
High alcohol consumption is correlated with a higher incidence of breast cancer. In general, keep your drinking to a minimum. Try to have less than one drink per day. Two cocktails or glasses of wine throughout the week should be plenty. And if you’re trying to be extra healthy, skip a week of drinking!
Day 4: Add Some Vitamin D to Your Diet
Since those of us living in New England see little sunlight throughout the winter, it’s the perfect time to add some vitamin D for an added boost of breast health. For example, you can increase the amount of salmon you cook or add a daily supplement to take during the winter months. Fat-free dairy products are also full of vitamin D. To keep your breasts healthy, have a bowl of cereal and milk for breakfast and some salmon for dinner!
Day 5: Get Plenty of Sleep Before the Start of a New Week
Now that Sunday has come around, it’s vital to get plenty of sleep in the morning and plenty at night too. Getting enough sleep will allow your body to repair any wear-and-tear that takes place throughout the week. The Huffington Post reported on a study that found a link between the risk of aggressive breast cancer and lack of quality sleep. Not getting enough sleep could cause a weakened immune system, which may lead to cancer growth. Next time you want to stay up and watch a movie, try to get into bed, listen to quiet music, and drift off to sleep instead.
Day 6: Drink Some Green Tea this Afternoon
Drinking plenty of green tea will reduce your risk of breast cancer, as research shows it has prevented metastasis and cancer recurrence in some cases. The Chinese have been drinking green tea for thousands of years and gaining the health benefits of this drink. This particular tea will also reduce your risk of stomach, colon, bladder, ovarian, esophagus, and skin cancer.
Day 7: Cut Sugar from Your Diet for Today and See How Easy it is!
Excess sugar and refined carbohydrates will cause a rise in insulin within your system. Women with high insulin levels have a high risk of breast cancer. It’s vital to cut out sodas from your diet like Pepsi or Coke. Try to find cereals with the lowest amount of sugar possible. Cancerous cells love sugar like Romeo loved Juliet. They will die to get it! Except when they get it, they don’t die but grow off the fuel. When insulin levels are high, the chemicals attach to receptors on cancer cells and act much like estrogen – they cause the cells to divide. This Christmas Eve, don’t reach for that sugar cookie and instead eat some oranges instead!
Day 8: Avoid Read Meat this Christmas Day!
Instead of eating a diet full of red meat, try to only consume some poultry or fish on this fine Christmas day. Have plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as well! Various research has shown that consumption of red meat could be linked to breast cancer development, so if you want your breasts healthy, avoid red meat whenever you can!
Day 9: Get Back on the Treadmill or Stationary Bike!
During the holidays, I’m sure you had plenty to eat and spent plenty of time relaxing in front of the fire. While it is wonderful to have a nice holiday meal with your family, it is important for your health to keep moving, especially during the colder months when going out for a walk is nearly impossible. Get to the gym and spend an hour on that treadmill, elliptical, or bike! And don’t forget to stretch your muscles afterward.
Day 10: Add Some Garlic and Curry Powder to Your Dinner Tonight
Just because Christmas Day is over doesn’t mean you can’t still eat a delicious meal. Garlic and curry powder makes all of my dishes taste great! On top of that, both garlic and curry is very healthy for you. A study from Iowa shows that women who consumed garlic regularly had a lower risk of breast cancer.
Day 11: Spend this Saturday Relaxing and Reducing Post-Holiday Stress
We all know that the month of December can be very stressful and busy. You may have end-of-year deadlines to meet at work, the house to decorate, Christmas parties to attend, buy countless presents for your family, and keep your mother-in-law happy! Now that Christmas is behind, it is time to relax. Take a hot bubble bath and read your favorite book. Cuddle up with some hot chocolate under a warm blanket. Make sure to reduce stress and you’ll lower your risk of cancer.
Day 12: Make Yourself a Fruit and Vegetable Smoothie this Fine Sunday Morning
As we know by now, fruits and vegetables are full of antioxidants that fight free radicals. This means these foods can prevent cancer development. This recipe for a fruit and veggie smoothie will bring you a great start to the day! Add some apples, blueberries, carrots, strawberries, and tomatoes. Mix and enjoy!
I hope you enjoyed these 12 days of breast health! Have a happy New Year!