Healthy lifestyles help reduce risk of breast cancer

| October 14, 2010 | 0 Comments

Karen Hawkins
Defense Commissary Agency Dietitian

FORT LEE, Va. — Making healthy choices in your diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight can be helpful in preventing breast cancer. 

October is Breast Cancer Prevention Month, so look for foods that promote breast health awareness and cancer research when shopping at the commissary. 

Many food manufacturers are partnering with organizations dedicated to raising awareness for research funding to find a cure. Look for the pink logo to help support the fight against breast cancer.

Here are several ways to live a healthy lifestyle:

Maintain a healthy weight. Research has proven there is a link between obesity and breast cancer. If you gain more weight later in life, especially after menopause, you may be at higher risk of developing breast cancer. Fat cells provide estrogen, and breast cancer is linked to how much estrogen you are exposed to during your lifetime.

Stay physically active.  Research has shown that women who participated in more than five hours a week of strenuous activity had a lower risk of invasive breast cancer, compared with less-active women. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise most days of the week, according to the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, available at Start slowly and build up to a targeted goal if you haven’t been exercising regularly. Also, don’t forget that weight-bearing exercise such as walking or weightlifting keeps bones strong.

Eat healthy. This includes limiting fat in a diet and choosing fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants, such as spinach and other dark, leafy greens. The average person needs no more than 60 to 70 grams of fat each day. To help protect against breast cancer, limit alcohol consumption to less than one drink a day, as there is a strong link between the two.

Get screened. Monthly breast self-exams may have a limited effect on finding breast cancer, so talk with a health care provider about when and how to do them. Also, talk with a health care provider about when to start having mammograms. Remember that a healthy lifestyle may be the best protection against breast cancer.

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