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10 Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Developing Breast Cancer

October 11, 2011

As you are well aware, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, now celebrating 25 years of awareness, education and empowerment.  While there are some factors, such as family history that you can’t change, there are several things you CAN do to reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.  These tips are likely recommendations you have heard before, but take a moment during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month to assess how many you do on a daily basis. 

 1.      Maintain a healthy body weight – obesity, particularly after menopause, greatly increases your risk of breast cancer.  Aim for gradual weight loss by making healthy food choices and eating smaller portions.

 2.      Exercise regularly – aim for a minimum of 150 minutes weekly of cardiovascular exercise.  Include strength training two to three times per week.  Start out slowly, set daily and weekly goals and track your progress.  Always check with your physician before starting any exercise program.

 3.      Limit your total fat intake to 20% of your total daily calories.  Avoid saturated and trans fats, and choose monounsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados, and olive oil. 

 4.      Eat foods high in omega 3 fatty acids, found in fatty fishes such as salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines.  Omega 3 fatty acids are also found in flaxseed and walnuts, so sprinkle some ground flaxseed and chopped walnuts into your oatmeal or yogurt each day.

 5.      Increase your intake of colorful fruits and vegetables (five or more each day) which are packed with cancer fighting phytonutrients and antioxidants.  They are also high in vitamins, minerals and fiber, all beneficial for good health.

 6.      Avoid processed foods, smoked and charred foods.

 7.      Eat more fiber – found in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  Eliminate refined flours from your meal plan.

 8.      Include a variety of foods rich in vitamin D such as salmon, sardines, and yogurt or take a multivitamin with vitamin D to ensure you are meeting the required amounts.  Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to breast cancer and several other cancers. 

 9.      Incorporate a meatless meal into your menus each week.  Choose a bean burger in place of that beef patty, or vegetarian chili instead of a beef chili to decrease your fat intake and increase your intake of fiber, phytonutrients and cancer fighting nutrients.

 10.  Cut down on your alcohol intake – The American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute and the American Institute for Cancer Research state that alcohol is a known risk factor for increasing breast cancer risk. 

 Choose one or two changes each week to help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.  Let me know how you are incorporating these healthy tips into your lifestyle.

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