January 30, 2012
Fighting the Scary Odds of Breast Cancer!
- Optimize your Vitamin D Levels! I’ve said it before and I’m saying it again, this vitamin is one of the body’s best defences against cancer. Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that influences almost every cell in the human body. The liver, kidney, and other tissues convert vitamin D into calcitriol, which is basically the activated version of vitamin D. The body’s organs then use this to repair damage, including that from cancer cells. In fact, vitamin D is actually able to enter cancer cells and stimulate cancer cell death. In fact, a 2007 study done by the Moores Cancer Center at the University of California, San Diego found that roughly 600,000 cases of breast and colorectal could be prevented each year if vitamin D3 levels among populations worldwide were increased. Trust me when I say that you want lots of this vitamin in your body! It’s simply one of your best bets in minimizing your risk of breast cancer.
- Control Your Insulin Levels! When we look at people who live the longest, it’s often hard to come up with why they live so long and others don’t. However, what you will find in most cases is that these rare exceptions all have relatively low blood sugar levels and low insulin levels! In much the same vein, research shows that diets high in processed foods and carbohydrates (which increase insulin levels) greatly increase your chance of cancer. Eliminating grains and sugars from your diet will go a long way toward preventing cancer. Try to replace these with vegetables as much as possible. I have patients who tell me that it’s too hard to give up grains and sugars but I have to ask them, is the alternative any easier? It’s your life and your health so make the choice you want but just be prepared for the consequences.
- Introduce Exercise into your Life! Exercise is critical for so many reasons. To start with, it is crucial to maintain a healthy weight for women (as well as men). A healthy body mass index is anywhere from 18.5 but no greater than 25. Research shows us that women closer to the lower end of this healthy body mass index have the most protection against breast cancer. Being overweight will drastically increase your risk of cancer. This may be partially due to the fact that estrogen, a hormone produced in fat tissue, may be a trigger for breast cancer. It is also important to note that exercise helps to optimize our insulin receptors, which once again helps lower the risk of breast cancer. Anywhere from five to eight hours of exercise a week is ideal and it’s important that it’s a combination of cardio & strength-training as opposed to just cardio alone.
- Avoid Alcohol and Smoking! According to recent studies, the more alcohol you drink and the more you smoke, the higher your chances of many different types of cancer including breast cancer. It’s important to keep in mind that alcohol is a neurotoxin that can poison your brain as well as disrupt your hormonal balance. Just as importantly, alcohol increase your insulin levels (back to the insulin again!). Smoking is well known to cause cancer due to the carcinogens inhaled as a result of this habit. In fact, smokers will die an average of 13 to 14 years earlier than non-smokers. For optimal health and to truly minimize the risk of cancer, it’s best to completely avoid both alcohol and smoking.