Breast Cancer Prevention
Keeping It at Bay!

The good news is that the number of new cases of breast cancer dropped from 1999 to 2005, which may be due to the reduction in the use of hormone replacement therapy. I would like to think it may be partially due to more knowledge and awareness of causes and methods of prevention. Making prevention a daily activity is your best defense against breast cancer. Along with monitoring your breast health with regular medical screenings, follow these stragegies for reducing your risk.

Cut Your Chemical Exposure

This mainly refers to plastics. Certain chemicals interfere with your body's hormonal balance and could harm breast health. To reduce your exposure to chemicals such as bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, use products that are make from glass, ceramic, or stanless steel whenever possible.

Choose Your Produce Carefully

Aim for five to nine servings a day of fruits and vegetables. Researchers have found that the synergistic effect of the consumption of a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables may thwart the development of breast tumors. It's not one single item that is going to be a miracle cure, but the combination of many working together. Some of the vitamins and antioxidants actually work more effeciently when their synergistic partner or partners are around. Also, try to stay away from those heavily sprayed with pesticides and herbicides. A list of fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide load can be found at Lastly, don't forget to thoroughly wash all produce, even organic, to remove any remaining chemicals.

Limit Your Red Meat Consumption

Eating red meat one time, or less, per week may lower your risk for breast cancer. Beef contains harmful compounds ranging from hormones and antibiotics given to them directly to accelerate their growth, to pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides given to them by way of their feed which ends up in their muscle (the meat we eat). Look for organic meats, at least lowering your chances for harmful chemical consumption, and avoid charred (burnt) meats. They can be high in carcinogens and promote unhealthy cell growth.

Limit Your Alcohol Consumption

Let's face it, there is very little alcohol is good for except a buzz. It's smarter to just leave the stuff alone. But, if you want to know how much is too much, then limit intake to less than five drinks a week. This limit even goes for the "wonderful" red wine, everyone supposedly drinks for hearth health.

Watch Your Weight

By eating small, healthy, frequent meals, and exercising at least 5 days a week, you should be able to control your weight. Sticking with a Mediterranean-style diet (for example) and incorporating physical activity are essential to guard against breast cancer. Obese women are more than twice as likely to develop breast cancer when compared to their non-obese counterparts.

In conclusion, antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals are ALL essential players in the fight against breast cancer. No one nutrient is more important than any other, especially when they all work synergistically, needing specific properties from eachother to reach their own full potential. They can all be supplemented, and sometimes should be, to obtain the adequate amounts needed to make a difference. Quality, consistency, and knowledge are very important to properly choose supplements. Always buy from a reputable company who sells only top of the line, quality products. My favorite online superstore is They sell only the best products and the website is very user friendly.

Julie Riggs MED RD LD
Registered and Licensed Dietician

Julie Riggs has been teaching fitness and nutrition skills to every population, from NFL players to the elderly, pre and post-natal moms to professional bodybuilders for her entire career. As a writer and consultant for and as a registered dietician, personal trainer, and mom of three Julie brings real life perspective to the every day person's fitness and nutritional concerns.

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