What Every Woman Needs To Memorize About Breast Health
As the saying goes “prevention is better than cure”. This of course can only start with proper self-care. This is the first step in averting health challenges.
It’s not only during National Breast Cancer Awareness month (October) that we should be gingered as women to check our breasts for lumps. Breast health should be constant in every woman’s health regiment. Reducing the risk of breast cancer can be as simple as making lifestyle changes and making healthy living choices.
Of course, there are certain elements such as genetics and environmental aspects that we cannot change, but I’m going to emphasize on the elements that we as females CAN change to ensure optimal breast health.
- Alcohol and smoking. Alcohol consumption and smoking are ways to rapidly damage your cells. Alcohol can increase the estrogen levels and a higher estrogen level increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Evaluate your hormone levels. The most common way to determine if you have an imbalance of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone is to have a hormonal assay test, which can be done at most Nigerian clinics. Estrogen stimulates cell growth and an excess of it, especially in the absence of adequate levels of progesterone can lead to an increased risk of breast cancer.
- Bio-identical hormones. If your hormone levels are on the low side, then you need to start on hormone supplements. Bio identical hormones are molecularly similar in structure to hormones made by our body. Always consult with your health care physician on where to purchase these hormones.
- Balanced diet: Choosing food products that are absent of pesticides, herbicides, and estrogen (especially in meat and dairy products) is a great way to ensure a healthy, balanced diet. As a country that is rife with fresh vegetables, it is virtually inexpensive to include the recommended 1 to 3 servings of vegetables in your diet EVERY day. Vegetables like broccoli, spinach, kale, cauliflower and cabbage are high in Indole 3 C Carbinol which helps balance estrogen levels.
- Weight and exercise management. This is one of the most important elements of breast health, yet it seems to be one of the most difficult for women to adopt. Maintaining a healthy and average weight is the best way of preserving a balanced estrogen/progesterone ratio. Regular exercise is important because obesity, alcohol intake, high insulin levels and smoking can skew the estrogen/progesterone balance, leading to a greater risk of breast cancer.
- Supplements: As you approach menopause, it is crucial to supplement your diet with essential fatty acids (EFA’s). This is because your body naturally isn’t producing as much anymore, but it is still a necessity to maintaining your hormonal levels.
- BSEs: This stands for breast self-exams and should be done by adult woman of all ages at least once a month. This exam will allow you to become accustomed with your own body and be familiar with your breasts so you can notice if any changes occur that needs the attention of a health care professional.