Taking control of your health and developing healthy habits can help reduce your risks of developing breast cancer.
Physical activity and regular exercise helps maintain a healthy weight, which is important for breast health. High levels of estrogen increase the risk of breast cancer and working out regularly shrinks the size of fat cells and lowers estrogen production. The Department of Health and Human Services (HSS) recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity on weekly basis. Find your body-mass index (BMI) which is calculated based on your height and weight, and then refer to a BMI chart to know your healthy weight range.
A healthy diet is important for breast health. The good news is that dark chocolate can help as it contains a compound that keeps fast-growing cancers at bay. Dark grapes also have anticancer properties. Including lots of fruits and veggies in your diet reduces the risk of cancer. Foods with folic acid will enhance your body’s ability to repair DNA and the American Cancer Society recommends folate intake of 400 micrograms daily.
Breast self exam (BSE) is an important option for women age 20 and over. Doing a self-exam helps women understand how their breasts normally look and feel and to detect any changes such as lumps. Remember that not all lumps are cancerous. So if you notice anything unusual, report it to a doctor or nurse at once.
When it comes to alcohol, limiting intake to less than 3 drinks per day lowers cancer risks.
Make it a habit to go to bed early and get at least seven hours of sleep. Studies say that melatonin could control estrogen levels and avoiding exposure to light at night by staying up late can prevent suppression of melatonin levels.
Psychological factors have been associated with increased risk of cancer. So de-stress with relaxing hobbies or by engaging in activities such as yoga. Watching your favorite comedies is a great way to relax the brain. Focus on being positive and content to improve your emotional health.
It is always important to be in an ideal healthy weight in order to avoid all the possible complications that can occur once your body loses its comfortable level.
In addition to self-exam, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends yearly screening with mammograms starting at age 40 and continuing for as long as a woman is in good health. Getting a clinical breast exam once every 3 years is important in your 20s and 30s. Once you enter your 40s, make it every year along with a mammogram every 2 years. Women age 50 and over should have both these tests on a yearly basis. Educating yourself about your options and making positive changes in your lifestyle hold the key to staying healthy and minimizing your risks.
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