While the pink ribbon is strongly associated with the urgency for us to donate and contribute to finding a breast cancer cure, let's not forget that prevention is the best cure and the most important thing we can do today is to embrace our own healthy habits.
Ladies, here are 7 habits for healthy breasts.
Check labels of your cosmetics and self-care products.
Aluminum in your deodorant? What about lead in your lip stick and arsenic in your eye shadow? Cancerous breast biopsies have shown higher accumulations of iron, nickel, chromium, zinc, cadmium, mercury and lead than non-cancerous biopsies. Don't be fooled when you see the words natural ingredients or mineral oils. Marketing companies know the kinds of words we want to see. Unfortunately, products on the market today don't necessarily provide what they promise. Visit the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to learn more about the products you are using and to help you make an informed decision about what goes on your skin.
Limit your screen time at night.
Exposure to light throughout the night can affect some hormone functions in the body that may be related to breast cancer risk. Did you know the light from your cell phone and computer screen can disrupt your melatonin production? Melatonin is an antioxidant, it helps regulate our sleep and wake cycles and has proven to influence the timing of our reproduction and aging. We make melatonin only while we are asleep and when our eyes see darkness. In fact, blind women have a much higher production of melatonin than women with normal eye sight and their risk of breast cancer is 50% lower. Going to sleep at 10pm provides optimal production of this hormone. Lights off, your beauty and breast health are calling.
Check your plastics.
BPA is a carbon-based synthetic compound that is used in plastics and in the lining of food cans, like beans, tomatoes, etc. BPA has been linked to breast cancer due to its ability to exhibit estrogen like properties. If you are still microwaving your lunch in plastic containers, now is a good time to switch to glass containers. Check your plastics and cans to see if they have a number 3 or 7 on it, these are just about the worse sources of BPA you can get. Clear 'em out!
Limit alcohol consumption.
Unfortunately, if a glass of wine or a cold beer is your favourite part of a long day, your breasts won't be thanking you for it.
Alcohol has been statistically linked to a higher risk of breast cancer and that risk goes up with every drink we take.
Alcohol is a heavy load to the liver, our main detox organ, and can dampen the function of our immune system.
We know for sure that alcohol increases circulating estrogen levels in the body which can be a risk to breast cancer.
Short and sweet, think before you drink.
Stimulate the Lymph.
We have over 600 lymph nodes in the body.
The lymph nodes located in the under arm collect toxins and dead cells helping to keep our breast tissue in good health.
Since the lymphatic system is the only system in the body that doesn't have a pump, it's important that we lend it a hand.
Bring yourself to a sweat at least 3-4 times a week. Yoga, running or sitting in the sauna are some great ways to release stagnant toxins.
Jump rope or jumping on a trampoline are especially powerful exercises that help to move the lymphatic fluid, often referred to as rebound exercises.
Embrace your female networks.
Ladies, girl is essential to our health, maybe just as important as eating our veggies.
A large study on breast cancer patients found that women who had fewer social connections before their breast cancer diagnoses were twice as likely to die from breast cancer than women who started off with strong social connections. This same study found that those women who continued their journey alone after diagnoses, ended up 4 times as likely to die of breast cancer in comparison to women who gained support from their friends.
Needless to say, if female networks are this powerful for women with breast cancer, then embracing our intuitive urge to engage in girl talk is a natural way to keep our health in check.
To learn more about the power of female networks read my recent blog post Girl Talk- It's therapy.
There is no place for fear.
Fear is a poor health choice that can wreak havoc to our cells. Just one fearful thought can stimulate the stress response, send our body into panic mode, and give rise to a cascade of negative emotions.
This process is similar to the inflammation response. It's important that we choose thoughts that make us feel relaxed and nourished.
Yes, choose 'em and believe 'em!
As the great Albert Einstein says, "The most important decision we make is whether we believe we live in a hostile or friendly universe."
Much love and lady flow care,
Elaine Clark, nutritionist, writer, women's health pioneer, and founder of LADYFLOW. Elaine is creating a movement of women living in sync with their hormonal wisdom and creativity. Elaine works with health conscious women to feel at home in their body and awaken to their creative potential. She offers a variety of tools to support women with her workshop offerings, retreats, and wellness products.