The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
7 Ways to Lower Your Risk of Breast Cancer
Every health organization that is working to fight a disease talks about "raising awareness." But in the case of breast cancer, there are few people who aren't already "aware." It's the most common cancer in women. With diagnosed cases on the rise and one in eight women likely to develop breast cancer in her lifetime, virtually everyone knows someone who has had it. And it often seems like it strikes at random, caused by unfathomable outside forces.
Photo credit: Shutterstock
And it's true, you can't lay out a routine to absolutely inoculate yourself against it. But there are some simple things you can do in your everyday life that will lower your risk, increase your chances of survival if you are diagnosed and pay plenty of other health dividends as well.
1. Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This is one of those "duh" things that's good for just about every health issue you might face. You've read over and over that this or that plant-based "superfood" contains antioxidant minerals and compounds that help protect against cancer. Believe it. While some doctors or nutrition experts may tout a particular food or substance, there's no single one that is going to give you blanket protection. But stepping up the number of different plant foods you add to your diet can only be beneficial.
2. Cut down on dairy products and meat, especially processed, smoked and cured meats. They're not horrible for you in limited amounts, but in general, Americans tend to eat way too much of them. The good news is that lopsided, meat-heavy diets are starting to give way to more balanced eating as healthier cuisines have replaced the old meat-and-potatoes routine.
3. Cut WAY down on fats and sugary, salty processed foods. Fatty foods just shouldn't make up much of your diet, and chemical-laden processed foods may contain compounds that have been linked to cancer. Anything with a long list of chemical names you can't decipher or mystery ingredients such as "flavor" is something it's probably best to avoid.
4. Studies have suggested that getting enough fiber in your diet and eating foods containing soy may have some benefits both in warding off breast cancer and improving survival prospects after diagnosis. Most soy grown in the U.S. is genetically modified so if you are concerned about GMOs, you'll want to pay attention to that.
5. Maintain a healthy weight. You don't need to look like a 110-pound movie star or model. But not carrying around extra pounds lowers your risk of several types of cancer as well as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease.
6. Get regular exercise, even if it's just taking a walk each day. Sedentary women are more at risk than those who are active, and have fewer defense mechanisms if they are diagnosed.
7. Environmental factors have been suggested as an underlying factor in the rise in breast cancer cases. So don't live near a fracking site, oil well or coal-fired power plant if you can help it! Hint: pink fracking drill bits are NOT helping to fight breast cancer. Seriously, if you'd like to help cut breast cancer for all women, join the fight to clean up the air, water and soil. Not only will people be healthier in general, but you'll be helping fight climate change.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Erica Cirino
Visit a coral reef off the coast of Miami or the Maldives and you may see fields of bleached white instead of a burst of colors.
By Jason Bittel
High up in the mountains of Montana's Glacier National Park, there are two species of insect that only a fly fishermen or entomologist would probably recognize. Known as stoneflies, these aquatic bugs are similar to dragonflies and mayflies in that they spend part of their lives underwater before emerging onto the land, where they transform into winged adults less than a half inch long. However, unlike those other species, stoneflies do their thing only where cold, clean waters flow.
By Bob Curley
- The new chicken sandwiches at McDonald's, Popeyes, and Chick-fil-A all contain the MSG flavor enhancement chemical.
- Experts say MSG can enhance the so-called umami flavor of a food.
- The ingredient is found in everything from Chinese food and pizza to prepackaged sandwiches and table sauces.
McDonald's wants to get in on the chicken sandwich war currently being waged between Popeyes and Chick-fil-A.
By Andrea Germanos
Youth climate activists marched through the streets of Davos, Switzerland Friday as the World Economic Forum wrapped up in a Fridays for Future demonstration underscoring their demand that the global elite act swiftly to tackle the climate emergency.
By Tim Radford
The year is less than four weeks old, but scientists already know that carbon dioxide emissions will continue to head upwards — as they have every year since measurements began — leading to a continuation of the Earth's rising heat.