By Dr. Tanya Paynter, N.D.
There are many factors that make up your breast health. Here are 40 recommendations compiled from several sources you may want to consider in making changes to your your diet and yout lifestyle.
Avoid or limit coffee and black tea. These contain methylxanthenes which mimic estrogen and stimulate estrogen receptors in the breast, leading to a growth of "bad" estrogen sensitive tissue.
Avoid underarm antiperspirants/deodorants, which suppress the natural elimination of toxins through the sweat glands. Many deodorants also contain toxic elements such as aluminum or mercury.
Avoid stressing the liver with alcohol, drugs or medications. The liver will bind and eliminate excess estrogens only if it is not burdened with other more aggressive toxins. Numerous studies have found that each daily drink you have increases your risk for breast cancer by 11%.
Eat fresh, organic whole foods. Avoid produce in the "dirty dozen" when not organic. These change every year so check when it comes out in April. Generally speaking, these foods make it on the list. Visit the Environmental Working Group website to view the dirty dozen and clean 15. www.ewg.org High fiber foods can bind toxic hormones in the gut and promote elimination of exogenous (bad) estrogens. Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, Brussels sprouts and broccoli contain compounds that are known to reduce your risk of breast cancer. Avoid canned, processed, boxed and microwave foods.
Consider dietary "superfoods". Mushrooms of all kinds, but especially Reishi, Maitake, Shitake and button varieties. Garlic, ginger, turmeric, and seaweeds boost immune function.
Consume healthy fats. Fish and krill oils, olive oil, and coconut oils are health promoting. Avoid health destroying fats such as hydrogenated and trans-fats, corn, canola, vegetable oils and margarines.
Avoid exposure to chemicals. Use green household cleaners or make your own. Avoid scented products and perfumes. These are made from chemicals and detrimental to your health and others around you. Avoid products with chemical fragrances/scents. Essential oils are generally considered safe. Use natural beauty products. Don't minimize the danger of exposure to fumes, such as new carpet and paint off-gassing, nail polish, gasoline and home and garden sprays. Often a molecule that is inhaled can be more "active" and dangerous than one that is swallowed (i.e. chlorine from tap water vs inhaled steam chlorine from shower water).
Consider specific supplements. Research suggests DIM (diindolylmethane), calcium-D-Glucarate, folate, vitamin D3, selenium, iodine and vitamin B-12 are all powerful weapons in the fight against breast cancer. If you have been diagnosed with Hashimoto's thyroid disorder, use iodine with caution.
Green tea has research suggesting it to be effective at fighting breast cancer, protecting against the side effects of radiation therapy and much more.
Consider the use of melatonin at bedtime. However, consistent use can suppress natural production of melatonin so this might be best for women at high risk. Melatonin is a powerful anti-oxidant and is associated with lowering your risk for breast cancer.
Hormonal testing. Balancing your hormones can significantly reduce your risk of breast cancer. Excess estrogen is directly linked to an increased risk for breast cancer and causes other problems like fibroids, weight gain and moodiness. It can also lower thyroid function. Estrogen dominance is the number one risk factor for breast cancer. Progesterone (bio-identical not synthetic) balances estrogen dominance, slows proliferation of breast cells, alleviates PMS, menopausal symptoms and promotes calm moods.
*Thermal imaging can see the effects of estrogen dominance in the breast tissue. Because breast tissue can hold up to 50 times the estrogen detected by serum blood levels, thermal imaging is an excellent tool to help monitor hormone levels.
Reduce or eliminate red meat. Eating less red meat reduces your risk for inflammation, breast cancer, heart disease and obesity. Eat 100% grass fed organic beef when possible. It is leaner and contains healthy omega 3 fats.
Reduce your sugar consumption. It elevates your risk for insulin resistance, diabetes, obesity and it feeds cancer if you already have it. Sugar aggravates any menopausal symptoms you may be having, such as hot flashes and night sweats.
Enjoy sunlight daily in small doses. Vitamin D from sunlight is converted in the body to D3, or "Super D". Brief exposure without sunscreen is linked to reduced risk for breast cancer. Avoid the sun during high exposure times between 10 am and 4 pm.
Practice stress management. Cortisol, the stress hormone released by the adrenal glands, wreaks incredible havoc on our immune system. It contributes to inflammatory conditions, insulin resistance, estrogen dominance, chronic fatigue and much more. Touch, laughter, play, exercise, deep breathing, hobbies and meditation are all ways to relax and turn off cortisol production.
Keep your urine Ph between 6.4 and 7.0. An acid body Ph predisposes the body to numerous health problems and diseases. An alkaline Ph is a pre-requisite to good health. You can do this by consuming a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables.
Take good care of your teeth. There is a direct correlation between oral health and the health of your body. Don't underestimate this connection.
Maintain a healthy weight. Fat cells produce estrogen. The more you have, the more estrogen your breasts are exposed to.
Adopt an anti-inflammatory lifestyle. Not only will you reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease (the NUMBER ONE KILLER OF WOMEN), you will lower your risk for cancer.
Have an emotional support network. People who feel emotionally supported have stronger immune systems and tend to fare much better psychologically and physically than people who are more isolated.
Eliminate sodas and junk foods. These are filled with chemicals, sugar, fats and sodium, all of which destroy health. They are not just empty calories, but are actually anti-nutrients, which rob us of our health.
Exercise daily. It reduces stress, builds immune function, prevents osteoporosis, releases feel-good endorphins and makes you look and feel great. Specifically for your breast health and lymphatic system, a mini-trampoline (rebounder), or bouncing while sitting on a large exercise ball or horse riding. Adding the arms in the jumping jack motion (up and down above the head), helps the lymphatic system to work properly.
Consider supplemental minerals. Mineral deficiency is a widespread and usually completely unrecognized problem. Minerals are essential to health and wellbeing. Most women would benefit from 500 mg magnesium daily but very few actually get it. We should be getting calcium and magnesium at a 2:1 ratio, so that for every 500 mg of calcium we take, we should have 250 mg of magnesium. Some mineral deficiencies, such as selenium, are directly correlated with increased risk for breast cancer. Brazil nuts are the richest natural source of selenium. A handful a day give you all the cancer fighting selenium you need.
Do not use synthetic vitamins. Synthetics do not behave the same way in the body or carry the same benefits as naturally derived supplements. A supplement from a whole source comes with the essential co-factors and synergists that allow it to work as nature intended. Taking large doses of isolated synthetic nutrients (such as vitamin A) can be dangerous and harmful to your health. All supplements should be derived from whole foods and other once-living sources.
Avoid birth control pills and synthetic HRT. These synthetic hormones carry a high risk for cardiovascular events (deep vein thrombosis, embolisms, heart attacks, strokes) and breast cancer.
Rest adequately and sleep in the dark. The adrenal glands require at least 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep to rejuvenate. Our immune system requires adequate rest at night, in the dark, to receive the benefits of melatonin, a breast protective natural hormone.
Detoxify on a regular basis. The older we get, the more cumulative exposure to toxins we have suffered and the more imperative it becomes to detoxify our systems. Toxic exposures are directly linked to increased risk for breast cancer.
Limit exposure to EMFs. Electro-Magnetic frequencies disrupt our own natural bio-electrical fields. Cell phones, computers, blow dryers and other commonly used appliances should be used with protective devices to neutralize their impact.
Have a spiritual practice. Meditation, prayer, chanting and belief in a Higher Power can raise our spirits, our outlook and our ability to resist illness.
Consider a Co-QlO supplement. Fatigue is one of the most common complaints women have. Co-Ql0 helps to improve energy at a cellular level, which leads to systemic improvements. It improves circulation and helps to lift "brain-fog" too. It has been shown in research to help shrink breast tumors.
Don't drink from plastic water bottles. The chemicals in plastic water bottles can become active when the plastic is warmed, such as occurs in a microwave or even in the car on a hot day.
Drink fresh vegetable juice often. Packed with phyto-nutrients and enzymes, fresh veggie juice detoxifies the liver and provides a real energy boost. Try to consume freshly made juices within 20 minutes of juicing to get the most benefits.
Install a shower filter. Chlorine, fluoride and other harmful substances are inhaled as steam in the shower in addition to being absorbed through our pores.
Avoid metal under-wire bras. The constriction they impose on the lymphatic system is not healthy for breast tissue. The more your breasts are able to move freely, the better for your breast health. When at home, ditch the bra. Studies have shown a direct correlation to the more hours per day wearing a bra, the higher the incidence of breast cancer. For more information on the subject of tight clothing read "Dressed to Kill" by Sydney Ross Singer. He addresses the link between breast cancer and bras.
Consider a digestive enzyme to optimize healthy digestion.
Consider anti-oxidants. These are the first line of defense for protecting DNA from damage of free radical molecules. Phyto-nutrients are naturally occurring anti-oxidants that also deliver life giving enzymes, vitamins and minerals. Best choices are fruits and vegetables with rich, deep colors such as all berries yellow squash, carrots, dark green leafy vegetables and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and kale.
Avoid foods with allergic reactions or food intolerance. These foods act like a poison in your body. Allergies and intolerances are not the same. If you don't know, get tested.
Put yourself first...(most of the time). There are times when other's needs must come first but there's a reason the flight attendant tell you to put your oxygen mask on first!
Suggested reading for breast health:
Breast Cancer Boot Camp - Dr. William Hobbins, M.D., and Wendy Sellens, Lac Better Breast Health For Life - Tirza Derflinger, CTT
The Warrior Goddess - Christine Horner, M.D., F.A.C.S.
What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer - Dr. John R. Lee, M.D. Women's Bodies-Women's Wisdom - Dr. Christiane Northrup, M.D.
The Detox Book- Dr. Bruce Fife, C.N., N.D.
DISCLAIMER: The information provided is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a replacement for the expert advice of a qualified health practitioner. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.