It’s not surprising that most of us know someone that has been touched by breast cancer; it’s the second most common cancer affecting American women today, according to the National Cancer Institute. Although there are many contributing factors to developing breast cancer, there are some things you can do to limit your risk. Living a healthy lifestyle plays a major role. This means getting plenty of exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and eating nutritious foods that fuel your body.
According to the National Cancer Institute’s research, women who exercise four or more hours a week have a lower risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise each week, or a combination of these, optimally spread throughout the week. Any exercise that you can do consistently is a worthwhile investment for your health. The key to creating a consistent exercise routine is finding a form of exercise you enjoy. Love the outdoors? Go for a hike. Short on time? Try HIIT. Need some relaxation? Enjoy a yoga class. Keep it fresh and keep it fun. After all, you’re doing it for your health, so don’t stress!
Maintain A Healthy Weight
One of the reasons why exercise is so important is because maintaining a healthy weight may play an important role in breast cancer prevention. Being overweight or obese after menopause increases the risk of breast cancer. The American Cancer Society explains that this is probably due to higher estrogen levels because fat is the largest source of estrogen in postmenopausal women. It also may be caused by higher insulin levels among obese women. However, becoming more active can help you maintain a healthy body weight, regulate sex hormones, insulin and prostaglandins, and boost your immune system, which may prevent certain cancers. Exercise alone is usually not enough to maintain a healthy weight, another important part is making smart food choices.
The American Cancer Society recommends consuming a healthy diet with an emphasis on plant foods, limiting consumption of processed meat and red meat, drinking less alcohol and choosing whole grains instead of refined grain products and eating at least 2.5 cups of vegetables and fruits each day. To put it simply, eat and drink in moderation and enjoy real food, mostly plants. Not a huge fan of veggies? Sneak them into your meals by adding spinach or kale into your breakfast smoothie or swap out rice for riced cauliflower at dinnertime. You’ll find that adding more vegetables into your daily diet not only gives you extra vitamins and nutrients, but also helps trim your waistline because most vegetables are naturally lower in calories but high in fiber. Eating more vegetables is a great way to maintain a healthy weight and stay fit. A good rule of thumb is to avoid the center aisles in your grocery store (where all the preservative-laden foods live) and stick to the produce isles. Or try shopping at local farmer’s markets and enjoy local produce at their peak flavors. You will be astounded at how delicious eating healthy can actually taste!
Stay Fit, Be Well
In a recent study about nutrition and physical activity for breast cancer prevention, The American Cancer Society Nutrition and Physical Guidelines Advisory Committee discovered that the best nutrition- and physical activity- related advice to reduce the risk of breast cancer is to partake in regular, intentional physical activity, minimize lifetime weight gain through a combination of eating a diet rich in vegetables and fruits, enjoy regular activity and limit alcoholic beverages. Adopting a healthy lifestyle to stay fit may seem hard at first, but knowing that your choices can help prevent breast cancer may be life-changing! And as an added bonus, once you stay committed to making these simple lifestyle changes, you’ll most likely find that you have increased energy, sleep better and are happier in general. Wishing you luck and love on your healthy lifestyle journey!
Ashley Corlis, ashleycorlisyoga.com