Early detection of breast cancer is crucial for effective treatment. Yet, ‘primary prevention’ with all chronic illnesses begins with healthy lifestyle choices. Balanced Wellness often discusses the benefits of behaviors that impact our health. In addition to all types of cancer, making better choices and living a healthy lifestyle may reduce your risk of other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
According to an article published by the National Institutes of Health, there are many beliefs connecting the association of food and breast cancer with a strong correlation between alcohol intake, being overweight, and weight gain. Certainly, we can connect nutrition with being overweight and weight gain. The following behaviors have been adapted from the American Cancer Society’s Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines*. They will improve your overall well-being may reduce your risk of breast cancer.
Everyone should aim to:
- Be physically active. Include structured exercise (FITT Principles) along with a step goal increasing movement throughout the day.
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight. (Limit high-calorie foods and beverages and increase physical activity to help with weight loss.)
- Eat at least 2 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables every day. Choose a variety of colors. Check out this Nutrition Rainbow Poster.
- Choose 100 percent whole grain foods (such as 100 percent whole grain breads and cereals, brown rice, millet and quinoa).
- Limit red meat and processed meat. Choose chicken or fish more often. Include beans for cancer prevention. USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 recommends we consume 1.5 cups of legumes per week. Try including a Meatless Monday in your nutritional plan.
- Limit “bad” fats (saturated and trans fats). These are found in foods such as red meat, fatty deli meats, poultry skin, full fat dairy products, fried foods, margarine, donuts and microwave popcorn.
- Eat “good” fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). These are found in foods such as olive and canola oil, nuts and natural nut butters, avocado and olives.
- Limit alcohol to less than 1 drink a day for women and fewer than 2 drinks a day for men.
*Kushi LH, Doyle C, McCullough M, et al. for the American Cancer Society 2010 Nutrition and Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee. American Cancer Society Guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention: reducing the risk of cancer with healthy food choices and physical activity. CA Cancer J Clin. 62(1):30-67, 2012.