Reducing the odds of breast cancer

Reducing the odds of breast cancer from a nutritional perspective

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Since 2003 rates of breast cancer has dropped significantly with a better understanding of hormone replacement therapy and prescreening. However, the cancer rates in the United States remain relatively high. Factors vary according to race and gender, but US Breast Cancer Statistics states that 12 percent or 1 in 8 of the American women will get the disease in their lifetime. But how can women reduce their odds in getting the disease?

Many risk factors contribute to the likelihood of getting breast cancer. The primary factors are gender (women), age (over 50), and family history (a close relative like a parent), but other factors can contribute which include poor diet, sedentary lifestyle, and obesity. For a full list visit Breastcancer.org. Denmark is believed to have the highest rate of breast cancer new cases. On the one hand, researchers believe the high incidence is due to better screening practices. And on the other hand, they think it is due to the number of women smokers and alcohol drinkers. UK scientists suggest that all high-income countries can decrease cancer risk by exercise, appropriate body weight -not over nutrition, and quality nutrients. Researchers also state specific foods cannot prevent cancer, but maintaining a certain weight and consuming foods that boost the immune system can help.

As a health coach, I often encounter individuals who wish to eat healthier, but they don’t know where to begin. Cancer researchers offer some foods to incorporate, which are a good starting point. They include foods that are rich in color (lycopene), raw fruits and vegetables, soy, omega 3s, and other plant proteins like seeds and nuts. Nuts can be a great replacement for snacks like chips and pretzels. Unsalted or low sodium is a better choice. Also infusing your favorite dishes with flaxseed, chia seeds, and choosing larger portions of raw or steamed veggies are gradual steps in a healthier direction.

To be honest, for many, the thought of these foods do not cause the immediate craving. That is ok because another thing to consider is why we crave the less healthy stuff. The answer is these foods were engineered to make us want more. These foods have just the right amount of sweet and savory goodness to only whets our appetites for more, but they have no nutritional value, so our body craves more -and we gain weight. Next time keep this in mind as you reach for that bag of chips. Instead, infuse some healthier food into your diet. It will not only help you to become healthier and hopefully cancer-free but will also allow you to feel fuller and more satisfied.

Be tenacious -today!

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