Breast Cancer Prevention
While breast cancer can affect any woman, the risk of developing it is significantly higher if you have one or more risk factors that are out of your control, such as being genetically predisposed or having dense breast tissue.
But there are plenty of contributing factors you can control 100 percent. Taking full advantage of them can hugely lower your risk.
(Incidentally, if you recently underwent a mammogram please read about what calcification in your breast tissue could mean.)
Based on research reported within the past few years, I'm going to share with you the best things you can do, starting today, to dramatically reduce your risk of developing breast cancer.
I strongly suggest that you integrate as many of these measures as possible into your daily life.
When it comes to breast cancer prevention, you don't have to take fancy supplements or concoctions.
According to recent studies, two very common nutrients provide great protection against the disease—and one of them is essentially free! Vitamin D3.
Sometimes called the "sunshine vitamin," vitamin D3, either from sun exposure or from taking a supplement, cuts the odds of getting breast cancer in half in light-skinned women (American Journal of Epidemiology, American Journal of Epidemiology).
Interestingly, vitamin D3 also appears to influence another strong breast cancer risk factor: dense breast tissue. A recent study showed that the more vitamin D3 a woman gets, the less dense her breasts are (Breast Cancer Research).
Since increased vitamin D3 intake and decreased breast density are both significant protectors against breast cancer, I recommend taking a minimum of 2,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily in divided doses. Try Carlson D drops.
As I initially discussed in earlier posts, melatonin is an exciting breast cancer preventative. In one study published in the issue of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, two groups of laboratory rats with mammary cancer were put on an intense, forced exercise program (30 minutes of swimming, five days per week).
At the same time, one of the groups was also given supplemental melatonin. After one month on this program, the rats that got melatonin had normal blood stress hormone levels and no increase in tumor growth, while the rats that were not given melatonin had significantly increased blood levels of stress hormones and their tumors were significantly larger.
In my own practice, I have seen melatonin work wonders for breast cancer prevention and treatment, and as a sleep aid. I recommend taking 1-2.5 mg of melatonin each evening before bed, although excellent results may be achieved with as little as 300 mcg per day.
You should already be eating plenty of fruits and vegetables for general good health, but for breast cancer prevention, they are critical because they contain numerous anticancer and antioxidant components.
Beyond that, there's an enzyme we all naturally have in our bodies called catalase, which is one of our primary defenses against cancer-causing oxidative damage.
If you are fortunate enough to have the form of catalase called "cytosine-cytosine," or CC, found in 64 percent of study volunteers, your breast cancer risk is 17 percent lower than in women who have other forms of catalase.
But if, on top of having CC-catalase, you consume more than 10 servings of fruit per week, the breast cancer protection increases to 29 percent.
And, if you don't have CC-catalase, you still get increased breast cancer protection from higher dietary intake of fruits and vegetables, especially those that are rich in carotenoids, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, collard greens, kale, spinach, broccoli, mangoes, pumpkin, papayas, and guava, to name a few (American Journal of Epidemiology; American Journal of Epidemiology).
On top of that, certain species of culinary mushrooms also have anticancer benefits.
In China (where the breast cancer incidence is as low as one-fifth of what it is in developed countries), the diets of more than 1,000 women who had breast cancer were compared to the diets of more than 1,000 healthy women of the same age.
Researchers found that women who ate 10 grams or more of fresh mushrooms daily (about two shiitakes) cut their odds of getting breast cancer to about a third, compared to women whose diets did not routinely include mushrooms. And, four grams daily of dried mushrooms cut their odds of breast cancer in half (International Journal of Cancer).
Mushrooms typically used in traditional Chinese diets include shiitake (Letinula edodes), enoki (Flammulina velutipes), wood ear (Auricularia polytricha), and paddy straw mushrooms (Volvaria volvacea).
All are available in fresh or dried forms at Asian markets, online, and in many supermarkets. Try Thrive markets and also Amazon if this is more convenient for you if options are not open to you in your town. (Click on the Thrive market image on the left and get 20% off your first 3 orders.)
When dried, most mushrooms shrink to a tenth of their fresh weight. Just pay attention to the weight on the label so that you will know how much to include in your daily diet. (An ounce is about 28 grams.)
Finally, I recommend that you drink green tea. Women who drink three cups or more per day have a 20 to 30 percent reduced risk of first-time or recurrent breast cancer, respectively (Breast Cancer Research and Treatment).
And, if your diet includes three cups of green tea and 10 grams or more of fresh mushrooms every day, you can cut your odds of getting breast cancer to about a tenth of the odds in women who don't regularly consume mushrooms or green tea (International Journal of Cancer).
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