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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another Tip Worth Passing Along- Breast Cancer Prevention

Dear Lovely Readers,

October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While today is the first day of November, that doesn't mean that the threat of Breast Cancer is gone. Actually, this weekend, I am running in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure here in Austin! Unfortunately  I registered this year because one of my dear friends was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer a few months ago. Getting the news was very scary, imagining what she and her children/family would have to go through as she fought it was heartbreaking. She's well into her treatments now; she's lost her hair but the fight in this woman is HUGE!

Breast cancer statistics are scary- 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed in their lifetime. 1 in 8. So today I'm passing along to you some a Tip from My Fit Foods (well, 10 of them, actually) on preventing breast cancer prevention.

Please keep my friend in your thoughts and prayers!!

-Susan

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and in this week’s tip we hope to give all of our clients some insight into preventing this disease. Although only 5% of breast cancer is due to genetics, today 1 out of 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime. This is astonishing considering that 1 out of 20 developed this disease in 1960 and cancer only caused 3% of American deaths in 1900. There are many things we can be conscious of to reduce our risk, and education and empowerment is the key.
 
Prevention Tip #1: As always, control blood sugar and insulin levels.
Research has shown that chronically high insulin and blood sugar is an independent promoter of breast cancer whether you are overweight or not. Insulin encourages certain growth factors and inflammatory responses that are leading to abnormal cell growth.
  • Eat protein at every meal
  • Eat breakfast 30 to 45 minutes after waking and eat every 2 to 4 hours after that.
  • Eat only low glycemic carbohydrates: veggies, fruits, and whole grains in small portions – ½ cup to ¾ cup. Avoid sugars and trans fats.
  • Remember that excessive alcohol and caffeine raise cortisol and blood sugar. See more in 7 Tips to Keep Cortisol at Bay.
  • Moderate cardio and strength training helps to control insulin and lower body fat.

Prevention Tip #2: Achieve an ideal body composition – lower your fat mass and raise your muscle mass.
This is your number one RISK FACTOR. Being overweight or obese or even “skinny fat” means more fat cells are creating excess estrogen which we know to be a promoter of breast cancer, especially in menopausal women. Some studies show that women carrying extra weight in their mid-section especially are at higher risk.

Prevention Tip #3: Lower daily caffeine and alcohol intake.
Researchers have found that women who consumed 500 mg of caffeine a day had 70% more estrogen a day than those that had 100 mg of caffeine. Keep in mind that there is an estimated 330 mg in one Grande 16 ounce cup of Starbucks coffee. As for alcohol, as little as 2 drinks per day increases breast cancer risk by 50%. Consider using the My Fit B-12 with L-Carnitine as a way to stimulate your mind and metabolism in the morning. See article: Wake Up and Burn Fat.

Prevention Tip #4: Get your Vitamin D checked.
More and more research has been done on Vitamin D which we know now is actually a hormone that powerfully regulates other hormones and also immune function. An astounding analysis of Vitamin D research from the University of California at San Diego, estimated that raising Vitamin D levels to 55 ngmol/liter could reduce breast cancer risk by 50 percent. Unfortunately, only 10% of the population is actually falls in the range of 40 to 60 ngmol/liter, so it is very important to ask your doctor for the 25-hyroxy- Vitamin D test. See Improve Your Weight Loss and Health with Vitamin D.

Prevention Tip #5: Optimize melatonin.
Melatonin is the hormone that is secreted at night when we sleep and is one of the strongest antioxidants in the body. Scientists first discovered the importance of melatonin in relation to breast cancer when studying different populations in the workforce. They found that flight attendants with their constantly changing sleep schedules, had much lower amounts of melatonin and a higher chance of breast cancer. Interestingly, they confirmed this connection when they found that melatonin amounts were extremely high in the blind, and their cancer rates were very low. Optimizing melatonin requires no light source whatsoever when sleeping. Using a sleep mask and black out curtains is a great way to protect melatonin as well as get a great night’s sleep!

Prevention Tip #6: Incorporate Iodine in your Diet.
The thyroid gland needs approximately 6mg a day of iodine for sufficiency. The breasts need at least 5mg of iodine. Japanese women have a much lower chance of breast cancer due to their high seaweed and seafood diet, which are the foods richest in iodine. The RDA for iodine is considered extremely low, and iodized salt is not significant enough without adding too much sodium. Read more in David Brownstein M.D.’s book Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It. Read about the My Fit Foods Daily Fit Pack here in What Makes a Good Multi-Vitamin?

Prevention Tip #7: Watch Those Toxins
Eliminate excessive fragrance in your life, and buy products that have “fragrance” listed at the very bottom. Dryer sheets, fabric softeners, and laundry detergent can all easily be natural fragrances with brands like Seventh Generation. Your skin is a huge organ that soaks up everything, and carries it to the bloodstream for your overtaxed liver to deal with. Considering that toxic deodorants go right into your breast tissue and lymphatic system, we suggest trying a natural deodorant like Tom’s of Maine. Ladies, take your wireless bra off when you get home to take the pressure off your lymphatic drainage.

Prevention Tip #8: Eat Your Good Fats
Omega 3’s and Omega 9’s are extremely healthy fats, and women living in both Japan and the Mediterranean area have much lower breast cancer risks than other countries. Part of this is due to Omega 3’s which lower inflammation and insulin levels. We suggest a bare minimum of 2,000 mg. Many researchers are showing upwards of 4 to 6,000 mg of fish oil is necessary to balance out the excessive inflammation promoting Omega 6’s (vegetable oils like soy and corn) in our modern diet. Read more in Top Ten Reasons to Love Omega 3's. Omega 9’s comes from oils such as olive oil and macadamia nut oil, which are My Fit Food’s primary cooking oils.

Prevention Tip #9: Eat Your Cruciferous Veggies
Cruciferous vegetables contain important compounds that help your body detoxify estrogen. Cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, cabbage, all contain these compounds but must be cooked or lightly steamed to be fully absorbed. My Fit Foods uses a variety of colorful vegetables and fruits – check out Better Beef and Broccoli, Salmon Stir Fry, and Simple Meal Chicken.

Prevention Tip #10: Get Moving
Exercise is the foundation of your vitality that can lower insulin, body fat, estrogen, and strengthen your immune and lymphatic system. The lymphatic system is like your body’s sewer system, cleaning the garbage and sludge and taking it to the hard working processing plant – the liver. Because it does not have a pump, it needs to be mechanically moved with exercise. We suggest 30 minutes of cardio max, and the rest to be strength training or other non-stressful exercises like dancing, yoga, or bike rides. Interval training is also a great way to burn fat.

There are many ways that we can naturally strengthen our bodies and lower our cancer risk. Focus on prevention! Every one of them can make a difference!

To Your Health,
Meg McCall, B.S., M.S. Candidate in Human Nutrition
Corporate Nutritionist
My Fit Foods
Resources:
New Model Suggests Role of Low Vitamin D in Cancer Development, The DINOMIT Theory of Cancer, Cedric Garland MD, et al, University of California San Diego Annals of Epidemiology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, May 9, 2009.
Repeated measures of serum glucose and insulin in relation to postmenopausal breast cancer, Kabet MD, et al, International Journal of Cancer,2009.
Brownstein M.D., David, Iodine: Why You Need It, Why You Can’t Live Without It.