You know what the “girls” are, right? If you think for a second, you’ll know what I’m referring to. Believe it or not, a surprising statistic is that about one in eight women will get breast cancer at some point in her lifetime, according to the U.S. Breast Cancer Statistics. It’s pretty depressing. But, there are preventative things we can do to protect ourselves against the most commonly diagnosed cancer among American women. Here they are:
- Eat as healthfully as you possibly can. Go all natural. Don’t fill your body with processed meats and sugary sodas (diet cokes aren’t OK, either!). Eating roughly seven servings of fruits and vegetables per day is crucial—specifically berries and veggies from the cruciferous family. The cruciferous family includes broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage. Kale, collard greens, and spinach are also very important because they are categorized as leafy greens (another important piece to the puzzle). Try to cut out omega-6 fats as much as you can, and instead take in omega-3 fats, like the fat found in salmon and tuna. Use extra virgin olive oil, and eat avocadoes and nuts. Stay away from white foods like flour and white rice, and enjoy legumes and whole grains instead in order to get in your carbohydrates for the day.
- Don’t drink too much. This is hard for the average college student because we work our butts off during the week and, of course, we usually associate weekend fun with partying. Several studies, one coming from Harvard, have shown that consuming more than one drink each day increases the risk for the development of breast cancer by 20-25 percent. That being said, when you’re ready to go out for Thirsty Thursday, only sip on a couple of drinks. Don’t go crazy. Make it your night of indulgence for the week.
- Exercise. And when I say exercise, I don’t mean take an intense hour-long run twice a week. Keep it consistent. Do at least 30 minutes of brisk walking or jogging at least five times a week.
- Only take estrogen if you are told to do so by a medical doctor, for estrogen plays a key role in breast cancer development. Buying organic foods help with this because there can be residual hormones found in non-organic produce, meat, and poultry.
- Take supplements. These include fish oils, Vitamins C & E, a multivitamin, and the mineral Selenium. Just make it a part of your daily routine; don’t think of it as a hassle.
- Have a positive outlook on life, and be healthy. There are several ways to do this, but some ideas include establishing (and keeping!) close relationships with friends, family, and significant others; make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night; take care of yourself and do things that you really enjoy doing.
- Lastly: Maintain a healthy weight at or below a BMI of 25. Midlife weight gain has been identified as being a major risk factor for breast cancer. Make sure that this isn’t a possible risk factor for you by staying fit and lean. Make the John Wooden Center a part of your everyday routine!