6 Ways to Lower Risk Factors for Breast Cancer Naturally
Breast cancer. Those two words are enough to make anyone worry, and reasonably so! Almost everyone knows someone touched by this disease, but there is some good news. Treatments continue to get better and we now know more than ever before about risk factors for breast cancer and how to reduce your risk of developing it.
As we recognize October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, we’re looking at 6 ways to lower risk factors for breast cancer naturally. These lifestyle adjustments could make all the difference in reducing your chances, or detecting it as early as possible.
Reducing Risk Factors for Breast Cancer
Natural breast cancer prevention and learning how to lower risk of breast cancer development starts with healthy habits. While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer 100%, there are several things you can do that may lower your likelihood of getting it. A few adjustments you can make to help lower the risk factors for breast cancer include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Following a healthy diet
- Keeping physically active
- Breastfeeding children, if possible
- Minimizing hormone replacement therapy time
- Managing stress to prevent a recurrence
Maintaining a Healthy Weight
While it’s easy to tune out after hearing about it for so many things, maintaining a healthy weight is a potentially effective method to lower risk factors for breast cancer naturally. Gaining weight as an adult, especially after menopause, has been shown to increase the risk of breast cancer. Furthermore, keeping a healthy weight is an important part of women’s health and wellness for healthy aging.
Part of this elevated risk comes from the fact that after menopause, most of your estrogen comes from fat tissue. Having more fat tissue increases the amount of estrogen your body makes, elevating your risk of developing breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about what your healthy weight should be and get guidance on how to get there in a safe manner. Once you’ve achieved it, a healthy diet and active lifestyle are key to maintaining it to lower your risk for breast cancer.
Following a Healthy Diet
Speaking of diets, a healthy diet may help lower risk factors for breast cancer beyond your body weight. What we put into our bodies is just as important as how we treat them. A diet rich in vegetables, whole grains, fruits, and fiber-filled legumes gives your body plenty of key nutrients.
In addition to paying attention to what you’re putting into your body, it’s just as important to consider what not to. Avoiding or limiting red meat, alcohol, sugar-sweetened beverages, and processed foods are suggested by many health experts. You should also quit smoking in order to lower risk factors for breast cancer, but also to reduce the chance of heart attack or stroke.
Keeping Physically Active
According to the American Cancer Society (ACS) Guideline for Diet and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention, at least 18% of all cancers and about 16% of cancer deaths in the US are related to excess body weight, physical inactivity, alcohol consumption, and/or poor nutrition. Experts suggest that individuals strive for 150 to 300 minutes of vigorous activity each week. That doesn’t mean you have to hit the gym daily, though!
There are loads of ways to get in healthy amounts of exercise to lower your risk for breast cancer (and reap other potential health benefits, as well). A daily walk after dinner is a steady way to not only get some physical activity in, but improve digestion, as well. For those looking for gym alternatives, many people look to full body workout exercises they can do from the comfort of home. From jumping jacks and wall exercises to chair yoga poses in your zero gravity chair, the options are endless and the results positive.
Breastfeeding Reduces Risk of Breast Cancer
While it’s not always a feasible option for all mothers, those who are able to breastfeed may choose to do so as another method for how to lower risk factors for breast cancer. Breastfeeding for a total of one year or more (combined for all children) may lower your risk for breast cancer, with research indicating the possibility that the longer you breastfeed, the greater the protective effect.
Minimizing Hormone Replacement Therapy
Next on our list of ways to lower risk factors for breast cancer naturally is to minimize the time spent doing hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Studies have shown that HRT treatments using a combination of estrogen and progestin could increase the risk of breast cancer. It could also lead to increased breast density that would make it harder to detect breast cancer on a mammogram.
For women who are on hormones or have used them previously, medical experts agree that the risk after three years returns to the same levels as those who have never taken them.
Managing Stress to Prevent Breast Cancer Recurrence
While most of these lifestyle changes have been geared towards lowering risk factors for breast cancer before it develops, managing stress may be a way to lower your risk for breast cancer recurrence for those in remission. While there haven’t been any official statements made, studies have pointed to a potential connection between elevated stress levels and higher risk for breast cancer recurrence.
Finding ways to manage stress levels such as learning how to meditate at home, integrating a zero gravity chair into a relaxing night time routine, or doing calming breathing exercises may all help. Many women have turned to relaxing and alleviating stress using zero gravity chairs as they can combine stress relief with a plethora of other potential health benefits to boost their overall wellness.
Unfortunately, there is no guaranteed way to prevent breast cancer 100%, but with a series of simple lifestyle changes, you may be able to lower risk factors for breast cancer naturally. Healthy habits like choosing a balanced diet, keeping active, and even using a zero gravity chair to help with stress management may positively affect your chances of developing breast cancer or experiencing a recurrence. Consult your doctor to discuss the best methods for how to lower your risk for breast cancer and live a healthy, happy life.
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