Posted on: 17.08.2021 Posted by: Drlark Comments: 0

June 10, 2004


Breast Health

Change Your Lifestyle,

Change Your Family’s Breast Cancer History

After my grandmother’s death, I began to appreciate

the connection between lifestyle and health, and was finding my

own natural healing program. I compared my grandmother to my mother,

who was in excellent health past the age where her father had died

of heart disease and where several blood relatives had already developed

cancer. What I saw helped me understand that the way to keep breast

cancer and other “family diseases” out of the next chapter of our

family history—my life—was to model my lifestyle after

my mother’s, not my grandmother’s.

The four most important lessons my family taught me about lifestyle

and breast cancer prevention with you.

Limit the fat on your plate (especially animal fats) and on your


Numerous studies have examined the possible relationship between

dietary fat and breast cancer. The results are quite mixed: some

show a relationship, but this is not surprising. Not all fats behave

the same way (for example, the metabolic fate of the essential fatty

acids found in flaxseed is quite different from the fate of the

saturated fats found in beef and butter). But saturated fats found

in beef, pork, chicken skin and dairy products will some day will

be solidly linked to increased breast cancer risk. We already know

enough about how they behave to know that they prevent the body’s

cells, organs and systems from operating at peak level.

Excessively fatty diets encourage breast cancer by encouraging obesity.

Researchers have documented a higher incidence of breast cancer

among obese postmenopausal women. Since body fat produces estrogen

(elevating an obese woman’s estrogen levels by 50 to 100 percent),

the most likely explanation is that obesity increases breast cancer

risk the same way that conventional HRT does: by bathing a woman’s

breast cells in estrogen.

Limit or avoid alcoholic beverages

Although alcohol can help a woman relax, a definite plus at a time

when our lives are getting more hectic by the minute, it has a distinct

down side. Among other things, it has repeatedly been shown to increase

a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer. One ambitious project

at the Harvard School of Public Health followed 89,538 nurses aged

34 to 59 for four years. Among those who consumed three to nine

drinks each week, the elevation in breast cancer risk was 30 percent;

among those who consumed ten or more drinks per week, the risk elevation

was 60 percent.

Why does alcohol promote breast cancer? Alcohol compromises deactivation

and clearance of estrogen by your liver. The more active, circulating

estrogen you have in your body, the more likely you are to develop

breast cancer.

In addition, alcohol makes it harder for your liver to clear environmental

toxins and other substances that can start a cell’s transition from

normal to cancerous, or push it farther along the path. If you’re

trying to prevent a recurrence of breast cancer or are very high

risk of developing it, I urge you to consider avoiding alcohol completely.

Eat plenty of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole

grains and legumes (beans, soy foods and peas)

Plant foods are treasure troves of cancer-fighting nutrients, including

lycopene (found primarily in tomatoes), d-limonene, indoles (found

in cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, and Brussels

sprouts), certain sulfur-containing compounds (found in garlic and

onions), antioxidant vitamins, flavonoids, lignans, and isoflavones.

These compounds have a host of actions that help protect a woman

from breast cancer. For example:

Flavonoids, isoflavones and other phytoestrogens

bind to estrogen receptors and prevent the body’s own potent

estrogen from binding. This action is believed to reduce the

likelihood of breast cancer.

Isoflavones, bioflavonoids and lignans found

in such foods as soybeans, buckwheat and flaxseed lower the

body’s estrogen production, thereby reducing the likelihood

of breast cancer.

Many of these compounds promote healthy liver

function. That means improved clearance of estrogen and optimal

detoxification of carcinogens.

Plant fiber—both soluble and insoluble—promotes

efficient elimination of excess estrogen through the gastrointestinal


Antioxidants prevent damage to cells that

begins their transition from normal to cancerous.

And remember: Your diet is a legacy that you pass

on to your children and grandchildren; your choices today will affect

them from an earlier age. Given my choice as a child, I wouldn’t

have opted for the plant-based diet my parents followed. Yet, I

eventually came to see the wisdom of my parents’ ways—and am

eternally grateful that by changing their diets as adults, they

got me started on the right foot.

Get regular exercise

Researchers have found a direct correlation between frequent moderate

to vigorous exercise and a reduced risk of breast cancer. Investigators

at the Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health

examined data from a long-term study of 166,388 women. They found

that women who engaged in moderate or vigorous activity for at least

seven hours a week had a nearly 20 percent lower rate of breast

cancer than women who exercised at the same intensity, but for less

than one hour a week.

What can you do to work seven hours of moderate physical activity

into your life every week? Try walking briskly, swimming, bicycling,

dancing, playing tennis, rollerblading or anything else you enjoy.

Read More on Breast Health:

Getting Started

Breast Cancer

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

Fibrocystic Disease

Keep it SIMPLE tip — Exercise Lowers Breast Cancer


Nutritional Therapies

Change your Lifestyle

Caffeine: Friend or Foe

Soy Controversy

Complementary Therapies

Primavera Recipe

Oxygen Therapy and Oxidants



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