Let’s talk breast health… your ‘girls’ will thank you!

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Recently, an increasing number of high-profile celebrities have been bravely coming forward with their health diagnoses in an effort to empower other young women to be proactive about their own health.

In 2013, Angelina Jolie and Giuliana Rancic underwent double mastectomies. Both women generously shared their experiences, helping to strip away some of the silent shame oftentimes associated with what has become an all too common experience for a younger generation of women. This year’s news reports have been following 40 year old entertainment reporter Samantha Harris’ journey. After having a double mastectomy, she may require some chemotherapy after doctors found the cancer had spread to a single lymph node.

I want to open up the dialogue further to discuss prevention. Below you will find some scientifically supported measures women can take to help prevent breast cancer or to help prevent it from spreading:

  • Women at average risk should get an annual mammogram beginning at age 40 [1]. Check with your doctor on the appropriate protocol if you fall into a high risk category. You may also inquire about getting a supplemental ultrasound if you have dense breast tissue, and ask about genetic testing for the BRCA gene.
  • We all know we should be doing self exams regularly, but a gentle reminder and a simple how-to never hurts!
  • There is some evidence that regular exercise (about 30 minutes a day) can reduce the risk of breast cancer by as much as 10-20%, particularly in post-menopausal women [2].
  • Regularly include these potent, organically grown, anti-cancer foods in your diet: Turmeric [3], green tea [4], plant-based foods- particularly those rich in sulforaphanes [5]: broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, cabbage, etc. eaten raw or lightly steamed, and colorful fruits like low-sugar berries [6], An added benefit to a plant-rich diet is the fiber: which helps to bind and carry out excess estrogen from the body. Omega-3 rich fatty fish like wild salmon and black cod are both healthy and sustainable options. The results for soy have been mixed. My suggestion is to limit your soy intake, and only take small amounts in fermented and non-GMO forms. Also wonderful to include are foods that naturally chelate heavy metals from the body, such as brown seaweeds like hijiki, citrus fruits, chlorella, cilantro, onion, garlic, and brazil nuts. Limit your intake of red meat, and make it grass fed when you do indulge. Avoid dairy, or choose low fat and grass fed, or alternatives that use sheep’s or goat’s milk.
  • Try immune regulating supplements like a high quality mushroom blend [7] [8] [9]. Consider supplements that aid the liver in metabolizing estrogen. These include Calcium D-glucarate [12], DIM [11], SamE. Include a high quality probiotic like Lee Swanson Genetic Designed Nutrition, Seroyal, Metagenics UltraFlora, or VSL #3; all of which were third-party tested and approved by com. Avoid or strictly limit alcohol [13] and sugar [14].
  • Reduce stress levels with a daily meditation regimen [10]. Kundalini is a wonderful option!
  • Have your Vitamin D levels checked. You can go a step further by asking your doctor to order a comprehensive Spectracell test that checks for subclinical nutrient deficiencies of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, metabolic function and total antioxidant function.
  • Avoid plastic food containers and water bottles, and make sure any canned goods in your pantry are BPA free.
  • Stay tuned for my upcoming article on bio identical hormone replacement (BHRT)… for a look at breast health through the prism of optimal hormonal balance.

REFERENCES

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