Breast cancer is one of the most feared diagnoses any woman can get. Just mentioning it can conjure up images of despair, disfigurement and death. In the 1960s in the United States, one in twenty women were diagnosed with breast cancer but today that number has risen to one in eight, according to the American Cancer Society.
These statistics, and the latest research, suggest that environmental factors are driving cancer. Breast cancer risk has significantly increased due to factors such as poor diet, toxins in the environment, stress and sleep deprivation. The good news is that there are several things you can do to prevent cancer or improve your chances of recovery.
Conventional therapies like radiation and chemo can be beneficial and lifesaving, however they come at the expense of a long list of side effects such as: pain, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, anemia, serious infections and even secondary cancers. Unfortunately, in conventional medicine, the time in-between the patient’s chemo or radiation visits is largely or completely overlooked; while the truth is that there are plenty of things you can do in between your visits to prevent or stop the progress of breast cancer.
How is diet related to breast cancer?
Sugar, especially in the form of high-fructose corn syrup and other processed carbohydrates, drives high insulin levels. Every time you eat sugar or processed carbs, you raise your insulin levels. Where is the problem? Chronic high insulin levels eventually create insulin resistance (which will pave the road for diabetes), promote inflammation, increase your estrogen and enable cancer cells to grow. Cancer cells love sugar!
Increased insulin also means your body becomes really good at storing fat, and studies show that excess body fat increases your risk for breast cancer. And here a vicious cycle ensues: you become overweight, inflamed, and have high insulin and estrogen levels which provide all the right conditions for cancer to proliferate.
What about environmental toxins?
Unfortunately, we are surrounded by large numbers of different kinds of toxins everywhere we turn our heads. We are only just beginning to understand the huge role they play in the medical conditions we face today. The most damaging ones in this case are “xenoestrogens,” which mimic natural estrogen. Xenoestrogens bind to estrogen receptors that activate estrogen, stimulating cancer pathways.
There are a large number of xenoestrogens surrounding us everywhere, such as bovine growth hormones in commercial dairy, plastics like bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates and parabens in personal care products, and chemicals used in non-stick coatings, just to name a few!
Digestive health also matters
Digestive health plays a role in breast cancer risk much more than you might think! Maintaining a healthy gut flora improves your immune system and also helps you better break down food and detoxify the estrogen made in your body after it’s been used. Bad gut flora means that excess estrogen becomes reabsorbed rather than eliminated, creating “estrogen dominance” with all its risks. One study found that the increased and irresponsible use of antibiotics, which kill off both bad and good bacteria, can increase your risk for breast cancer.
So what dietary changes can you make to help prevent or even treat breast cancer?
- Avoid sugar, especially high fructose corn syrup, which is hidden in virtually ALL processed and junk foods.
- Increase fiber intake. The most significant source is vegetables and fruits.
- Eat lots of vegetables with every meal, especially green and deep coloured ones.
- Increase healthy fat. Replace processed carbs with high-quality fats, such as organic eggs, olives and olive oil, butter, avocados, coconuts and coconut oil.
- Get plenty of natural vitamin A. It’s better to obtain it from food rather than supplements. The best sources are egg yolks, butter, whole milk, and beef or chicken liver.
- Add more of the anti-cancer spice turmeric to your food.
- Restore gut health. Focus on gut-supporting foods like fermented foods, fiber and probiotics.
- Avoid soy products (unless they are fermented) because they are high in plant estrogens or phytoestrogens which increase breast cell proliferation.
- Avoid charring your meats as this is linked with increased breast cancer risk.
And here are some non-dietary lifestyle strategies to consider as well:
- Maintain a healthy body weight.
- Manage and control your stress levels.
- Reduce your toxic load as much as you can by reducing your use of personal care products.
- Avoid first and second-hand smoke from cigarettes and shisha.
- Exercise regularly.
- Get enough quality sleep.
- Optimize your vitamin D, as it influences virtually every cell in your body and is one of nature’s most potent cancer fighters. Make sure you expose your skin to safe amounts of sunshine every day. Cod liver oil is a good and natural supplement of both vitamin A and D.
One last word
Making the right changes to your diet and exercise will not only help you to prevent breast cancer, but it will help you to overcome other medical problems that you are battling with, to transform your physical and mental health and become healthier than ever! It is always true that an ounce of cure is worth a pound of prevention so let’s make this Breast Cancer Awareness Month the time to seriously think about implementing real positive changes to our diet and lifestyle. Let’s beat breast cancer together!References