During National Breast Cancer Awareness month, we should all take a pause to consider our health.
As it turns out, losing weight and balancing hormones may be two of the most important actions we can take to reduce breast cancer risks in our lifetime.
And the science is on our side here. There are numerous studies in the medical literature linking hormones and lifestyle to cancers.
A recent study published in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society (Dec 2012, vol. 118) found that extra pounds - even within the overweight but not obese range - are linked to a 30 percent higher risk of breast cancer recurrence and a nearly 50 percent higher risk of death despite optimal treatment. Given that the most common type of breast tumors are fueled by excess estrogen, and that fat cells (via aromatase conversion) are mini estrogen-producing factories, pinpointing the hormonal links to weight gain is a key to preventing breast cancers.
Dr. John Lee and David Zava, PhD, reiterate that point in their groundbreaking book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Breast Cancer: How Hormone Balance Can Help Save Your Life: "Experts agree that environmental risk factors, such as diet and exposure to toxins, account for about 80% of breast cancers, and genetic factors account for about 20 percent. Even those who happen to have a genetic predisposition can improve their chances of dodging a breast cancer diagnosis with hormone balance and a healthy diet."
So, let's talk about best ways to improve your odds of dodging a breast cancer diagnosis in the first place:
- First test your hormone levels to detect hidden imbalances. Examples such as estrogen dominance or high cortisol stress hormones are associated with weight gain, as well as higher risks for breast cancer. In case you haven't heard, ZRT Laboratory offers a Weight Management Profile that can detect and help correct such imbalances.
- If estrogen dominance is identified through testing, take steps to correct it ASAP. An estimated 97% of breast cancers are linked with excess estrogens unbalanced by adequate progesterone. If hormone therapy is indicated, bioidentical hormone approaches are preferable with a better safety profile and fewer side effects than synthetic hormone replacement (HRT).
- Fill up on high fiber, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts that help promote proper estrogen metabolism. Read more about why Brussels sprouts and its cruciferous cousins are so healthy.
- Get your "good fats" in avocados, olive/coconut oils, nuts and seeds to help inhibit tumor growth, boost immunities, and reduce inflammation.
- A daily dose of 64 oz of water can flush out free radicals and toxins that invite cancers.
- Avoid xenoestrogen exposure with hormone-free meat/dairy/poultry. Also make sure to microwave in glass or ceramic versus plastic containers, drink from non-plastic water bottles, and choose "green" household, garden, and personal care products.
- Minimize stress to stabilize cortisol, blood sugars and insulin levels. When those levels are elevated, they provide raw fuel for tumors. Prioritizing time to de-stress, eat right and exercise can boost your immunities against cancer.
Those are ZRT's top suggestions for how to balance your hormones and weight gain to reduce your breast cancer risk - and ultimately help save your life.
Feel free to comment here with your best suggestions for balancing hormones, weight and life!