We celebrate the month of October as “Breast Health Awareness Month” in an effort to shift the focus from curing an illness (breast cancer) to preventing one. We are aligned with the visionary women’s health pioneer, Dr. Christiane Northrup’s belief that “breast health begins with enjoying your life and welcoming pleasurable experiences into it on a daily basis.” Keeping your immune system strong is important because it is set up to recognize and destroy cancer cells in the right environment. We’d like to share some of Dr. Northrup’s health and lifestyle tips recommended for creating healthy breasts:
- Choose thermography over mammography. Thermography is a technology that picks up thermal changes in breast tissue. It can find potential problems years before a mammogram can detect cancerous cells.
- Take iodine – studies have shown iodine plays a role in preventing and treating breast cancer. It decreases the ability of estrogen to adhere to estrogen receptors in the breast.
- Take a comprehensive multivitamin/mineral supplement that is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, E, B-complex, D, and beta-carotene. Antioxidants help the cells in your breasts fight cellular inflammation, which can be a precursor to breast cancer.
- Get enough sleep – sleep restores the body and enables our bodies to metabolize stress hormones. Aim for 8 hours per night and wake up at the same time each day.
- Exercise regularly – studies show that physically active women have a decreased risk of cancer. Keep it simple with activities that you’ll stick with such as walking with a friend or dancing to music in your home.
- Eat a healthy diet – aim for a diet that keeps your insulin, estrogen and eicosanoids balanced. Include adequate amounts of lean protein, reduce or eliminate sugar in all forms, include a variety of fruits and vegetables, and avoid all packaged or processed foods.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels – safe sun exposure to sunlight is the best way to get your vitamin D, but many people need to take a supplement (typically, 5,000 IU’s is the recommended daily dosage, but you should have your levels checked regularly).
- Get social – get off your cell phone, computer, tablet or whatever, and get out with friends. Volunteer in your community or at your church. Having a fulfilling social life improves your immune system. When your immune system is healthy it naturally kills off pathogens and rogue cells that can lead to disease.
- Cultivate a practice of self-care and self-love. Feeding your cells with positive thoughts and emotions helps them to reproduce in a healthy manner. Meditation, positive affirmations, keeping a gratitude journal, a walk in nature, or simply taking time to breathe in and out through your nose are all ways to accomplish this goal.