It’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I have valuable information for you to pass on to your daughters, granddaughters, nieces, and other young women you love. Don’t wait until you reach the at-risk age to prepare your bodies to fight breast cancer. There are things you can do–and eat–that lower your risks.
According to Eating Well Magazine’s Website, it’s never too early to develop good habits for breast health. It’s good advice for everyone, not just women, for healthful living. In a nutshell, here are the habits you should follow:
1. Move. Whether you regularly visit the gym or make a point of walking extra steps at every opportunity, keep your body moving. I park far from the door at the grocery to force myself to walk more. When it’s safe to do so, I take the stairs instead of the elevator. Every little bit helps. Three hours per week of walking will cut your risk of breast cancer.
2. Eat a low fat diet, and make what fat you eat monounsaturates, like extra virgin olive oil or nut oil.
3. Eat soy products (No, not supplements) like tofu, edamame, and soy flour products.
4. Eat plenty of vegetables and at least 2 servings fruit each day. Maybe it won’t keep breast cancer at bay, but it will keep your weight down and immune system strong. And obesity is a risk factor.
5. Avoid alcoholic drinks, or drink in moderation. If your family has a history of breast cancer, you should avoid alcohol completely. If you buy into the red-wine-for-heart-health theory, try substituting grape juice. It has the same benefits without the risks.
That’s it. Five lifestyle changes that aren’t that demanding. Number 3 is the most difficult for me because I’m taking an estrogen suppressing medication as part of my post breast cancer treatment. But if your doctor says plant estrogens are okay for you, try this recipe:
1 cup silken tofu
1 cup mixed frozen fruit (usually strawberries, peaches, pineapple, and grapes)
1 Tbsp. honey
Blend until smooth and creamy. I use a Vitamix. In a regular blender, you may need to add liquid.
Another way to sneak soy into your diet is with Boca burgers or Morning Star Farms burgers. Dress them up with a slice of Vidalia onion and Mrs. Dash® Mesquite seasoning, and serve them on whole wheat buns. I can’t say they taste like real beef burgers, but they’re a reasonable imitation that’s much lower in fat and higher in fiber.
If you follow all the advice and still get breast cancer (as I did), don't despair. One in eight women are diagnosed. Take heart in knowing you've done all you can. And the healthier you are, the better you'll recover from treatment.