During the Today Shows 9:00 hour, they have a segment on the five health habits to skip. They included: eating breakfast every day, doing a monthly breast exam, taking a daily multivitamin, staying inside when its cold out, and not eating after 7:00 pm. While some have value (the staying inside and not eating after 7:00 pm), two are completely irresponsibletelling women that they dont have to do a monthly breast exam and that they can skip their multinutrient.
I was so floored my toothbrush literally fell out of my mouth. No monthly breast exam? The expert explained that research has indicated that by the time a woman feels a lump in her breast, it is already pretty advanced. Instead, she should opt for yearly mammograms. Also, they indicated that self-exams often have a high rate of false positives, and that women who did them had double the rate of biopsies as women who did not. And the vast majority of those lumps ended up being benign.
Okay, now I get it. Once again, big medicine is telling us to pay for prevention rather than showing us free or inexpensive ways to prevent disease on our own. Most interesting is the fact that everything they have said about self-exams is true for mammography!
As Dr. Lark wrote back in August 2002, there are several inherent risks with mammograms. According to a 2000 study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, the cumulative risk of having false positive mammograms is quite significant in many women. On the flip side, a research article that appeared in the June 27, 2002 issue of The New York Times reported that mammograms dont detect breast cancer in 30 to 40 percent of women who have the disease. But most telling is a 2000 study from the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, which found that in women between the ages of 50 and 59, mammograms were no more effective in reducing death from breast cancer than self-exams!
So, sorry Today Show, you are very wrong on this one. All women, especially those in early menopause or premenopause, and those women experiencing perimenopause symptoms should absolutely continue to perform monthly breast self-exams. All three of these scenarios are closely tied to excess estrogen, which is a risk factor for breast cancer.
Also, to advise people who eat a healthy diet to not take their multivitamins is downright absurd. First of all, how many people can agree on what is a healthy diet? This has been an ongoing debate for decades! Just look at the diet industry!
But even if we can all agree that a healthy diet includes at least five servings of vegetables, four servings of fruit, and four to six servings of whole grains, how many people are really, truly eating this way? According the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School for Public Health, only 11 percent of Americans are eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Thats one out of every 10 people eating a healthy diet.
And even if you are in that 11 percent, whats the likelihood you are eating mostly vegetables and mostly organic? Id wager that the number would start to shrink down to the lower single digits. Plus, the people claiming that you can get all the nutrients you need from the food you eat are delusional. Sure, about 20,000 years ago, the diet of our Neanderthal ancestors supplied all of their major minerals, and the vast majority of their trace minerals. Even in my great-grandparents and grandparents time, farmers used practices that returned minerals and other nutrients back into the soil, such as crop rotation, mulching, and relying on manure as fertilizer. But todays conventional and large-scale farming practices are not what they used to be.
Now we are finding phosphates and nitrates in the soil, thanks to the widely used conventional NPK fertilizers, which has been shown to deplete the soil of its mineral content. The result has been far fewer micronutrients, especially the minerals selenium, iron, and zinc. So, even if you are eating your fruits and veggies, they are likely not providing you with the nutritional foundation you need for optimal health.
My advice? Watch the Today Show for their take on the news and the latest celebrity gossip, but leave the health and nutrition advice to those less swayed by advertising dollars. And take your multivitamin every day. Your body will thank you.