It’s October, and that sea of pink you see is a good reminder how important it is to stay vigilant in the fight against breast cancer.
About 1 in 8 women in the U.S.—more than 12 percent—will develop invasive breast cancer in their lifetimes (meaning that it spreads into the tissue outside the milk ducts), including more than 265,000 this year, according to BreastCancer.org.
There are lifestyle factors that can help protect you. Limiting alcohol to fewer than 1 serving per day, controlling your weight, and being physically active are some preventive measures you’re probably already on top of. Here are some other tips for keeping yourself well.
Up your veggie intake.
Not that you need another reason to down those vegetables and fruit—but here’s one anyway. Research shows antioxidants (specifically the polyphenols in pomegranate) may help fight breast cancer, and weaken existing cancer cells for people undergoing treatment. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and Brussels sprouts have sulforanes, a nutrient that can help break down estrogens; quercetin is another protective antioxidant found in citrus fruits and leafy greens; and resveratrol in grapes and berries can also help with prevention.
Consider the benefits of turmeric.
This golden spice is best known for its anti-inflammatory powers, but it’s also a cancer fighter, and may stop breast cancer cells from spreading. In fact, people who take in turmeric regularly are less likely to get breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer.
Curcumin, the phytonutrient in turmeric that gives it a golden hue, is a noted chemopreventive against some aggressive and recurrent cancers. Getting enough of this nutrient from the turmeric in your pantry is a challenge, which makes supplements a good addition to your routine. To ensure you’re getting enough, consider taking a high-quality supplement (always consult with your doctor before doing so).
3 Ways to try it:
- Apple Cider Vinegar, Turmeric & Honey Switchel
- Butternut Squash Soup with Turmeric
- Salmon Patties With Turmeric And Dill
Work to reduce stress.
There are so many health reasons to stress less—and fighting breast and other cancers is one of them. If you’ve been toying with trying meditation, this month is the perfect time to commit to a practice, since it can reduce your risk in a number of ways. Even something as simple as taking a few deep breaths a few times a day can help you calm down, feel better and fight cancer.
Clean up your act.
Make sure all of the cosmetics, cleansers and other beauty products you use are paraben-free, and watch out for synthetic fragrances in your cleaning products as well. Air fresheners, dish soap, laundry detergent, candles—all of these, along with beauty products, can contain endocrine disruptors that are linked to breast cancer. Your best bet: Use this guide from the Environmental Working Group to help you avoid the worst offenders.
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