By Judi Sheppard Missett, Jazzercise Founder and CEO
About one in eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. And even though you can’t change risk factors such as genetics or aging, there are some precautions you can take. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and a great time to lower your risk of developing breast cancer.
Lower Weight Equals Lower Risk
Maintaining a healthy weight lowers breast cancer risk, but this can be especially tricky during menopause. The body compensates for lost estrogen by storing excess fat around the abdomen. Increased risk may be due in part to more estrogen that’s made in the fatty tissue.
Making healthy choices such as eating right could prevent more than half of all cancer deaths. Choose organic foods when possible, as some pesticides have been linked to cancer. Avoid processed foods (even “healthy” ones) and follow a plant-based diet of dark, leafy greens, colorful vegetables and whole grains. According to the American Cancer Society
, studies suggest that people who eat more vegetables and fruits, which are rich sources of antioxidants, may have a lower risk for some types of cancer.
Swap Alcohol For Tea
Women who have two or more alcoholic drinks
per day have about 1½ times the risk of breast cancer compared to women who don’t drink. The American Cancer Society recommends no more than one drink per day for women. Or, you can drink freshly brewed jasmine green tea. The floral smell is calming and antioxidants may reduce the risk of hormone-related cancers.
Embrace Nature’s Way
The American Cancer Society recommends avoiding or limiting menopausal hormone therapy. In 2002, researchers found that postmenopausal women who took a combination of estrogen and progestin were more likely to develop breast cancer. If you decide to move through this part of life naturally, diet, yoga and exercise are excellent coping mechanisms.
A Breast-healthy Habit
Many studies have found that exercise is a breast-healthy habit. The American Cancer Society recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week. For best results, combine intensity levels into different workouts over the course of one week. For example, walk for 30 minutes one day, and attend a Jazzercise class