Reduce Breast Cancer Risk – Eat Smart, Move More
While there is no certain way to prevent breast cancer, it has been found that leading a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk and boost your odds if you do get breast cancer. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the perfect time to learn how to reduce your risk through eating right and engaging in physical activity.
All women are vulnerable to breast cancer, but some have an increased risk. Risk factors include: a family history of breast cancer; menstruation before age twelve; menopause after age fifty-five; inherited gene mutations; pregnancy of first child after age thirty-five; overweight; and older age.
Don’t panic! Having certain risk factors doesn’t make cancer inevitable, and research has found that eating smarter can make a difference. Foods high in dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients can protect against some cancers:
- Cruciferous and dark, leafy green vegetables: spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, collards, kale
- Fruits: citrus, berries, cherries
- Whole-grains: oats, barley, bulgur, whole-grain pastas, breads, cereals, crackers
- Legumes: dried beans and peas, lentils, soybeans.
Because weight is closely connected with breast cancer, engaging in regular physical activity can help reduce your risk and allow you to maintain a healthy weight. Try adding simple exercises to your work day like hand-delivering a message or going for a walk during lunch. For optimal health, aim for 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.
For more information on how to eat healthier and reduce your risk of breast cancer and other diseases, consult a registered dietitian and visit www.eatright.org.