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October 20, 2022
237: How to Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer with Maya Acosta

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Maya Acosta helps raise awareness of lifestyle modifications that can help reduce the risk of breast cancer in this episode. In this episode, you will learn the following: Lifesty...


October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Maya Acosta helps raise awareness of lifestyle modifications that can help reduce the risk of breast cancer in this episode.


In this episode, you will learn the following:

  • Lifestyle changes that you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer
  • How eating plant-based foods and exercising regularly may help reduce the risk of breast cancer
  • Importance of maintaining a healthy weight


Resources:


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Website Link for this episode:
https://www.healthylifestylesolutions.org/237


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Transcript

So, as you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This month, I am helping to raise awareness of breast cancer, who it affects, and what we can do to help reduce our risks. You can visit episode 234 to learn from Dr. Amy Comander, a breast oncologist who works closely with breast cancer patients.

In collaboration with Dr. Beth Frates and Dr. Michelle Tollefson, Dr. Comander launched "PAVING the Path to Wellness," a lifestyle medicine-based program for breast cancer survivors. They have also recently published the "PAVING the Path to Wellness" workbook.

Dr. Comander reminds us of the importance of getting annual screenings. We spoke about non-modifiable risk factors. We cannot control such things as being born a female, aging, genetic mutations, thoracic wall radiation exposure, breast density, strong family history, and reproductive risk factors.

Then we spoke of modifiable risk factors. These are lifestyle-related factors that we can modify to improve our health. Dr. Comander suggested reducing alcohol and tobacco use and increasing physical activity and plant-based nutrition.

I want to expand on Dr. Comander's suggestions on modifiable risk factors. I'm going to share four simple guidelines that will help you reduce your risks significantly; this includes a healthful diet. You can calm inflammation in your body, reduce your risk of diabetes and heart attack, and feel better than you have in years. Chances are that they'll improve your health in other ways, too.

These steps include eating more plant foods, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight.

Studies suggest that perhaps 40% of all cancers are related to lifestyle factors that we could potentially modify. Let's see how we can make these healthy lifestyle changes.

  1. Eating a plant-based diet

Plant-based foods are rich in nutrients that can help to protect against multiple diseases. A plant-based diet focuses on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans. This diet has been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer in several ways. First, plant-based foods are typically low in calories and high in fiber, which can help with weight loss. In addition, high-fiber, low-fat diets can help gently reduce estrogen levels, lowering the risk of breast cancer. To get the most benefit from a plant-based diet, include a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans in your routine.

If you're thinking of switching to a plant-based diet, I have a guide I recently put together with practical tips to get started. Many people have concerns about protein, calcium, zinc, and iron. My guide will show you just how rich in nutrients these foods are. Simply visit https://bit.ly/mayaspracticaltips

  1. Exercising regularly

To reduce your risk of breast cancer, you should exercise regularly. Physical activity, especially vigorous exercises like running or fast cycling, lowers the risk of breast cancer. Exercise helps with weight loss and strengthens immune defenses, which may help the body kill cancer cells.

Exercise does not have to be painful or tedious. Find a fun Zumba class or take up dance classes to lift your spirits and get moving. You've heard me talk about my love for dancing.

If you love nature as I do, consider getting outdoors on a bike. Dr. Comander suggested individuals achieve ideally 150 minutes of moderate aerobic physical activity each week.

My mother recently decided to take up swimming at a local gym. She was reminded of how much she loved swimming in her younger years.

Regular exercise has many other benefits, such as improving mood, increasing energy levels, and protecting our hearts. Physical activity has also reduced cancer risks, such as colon cancer. So, make sure to get moving and reap the many benefits of exercise!

  1. Avoiding alcohol

Alcohol causes weight gain and contributes to chronic diseases. One drink of alcohol daily increases our risks for all sorts of cancers. There is help out there for individuals who are ready to put down their glass. Feel free to listen to my conversation with Janet Gourand, founder of Tribe Sober, to learn how she supports her members in going sober. Janet also offered my listeners a discount code if they wanted to sign up for her Kickstart Your Sober Life online course.

Kick Start your Sober Life Online Course Coupon code: KK2022 https://www.tribesober.com/kickstart/ 

  1. Finally, Maintain a healthy weight

To maintain a healthy weight, you can use a body mass calculator to see how your weight fits into a healthy range. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is considered healthy.

To avoid gaining weight, you should avoid high-calorie foods and beverages, including alcohol. Alcohol can add empty calories to your diet and increase your appetite. It would help if you also avoided sugary drinks, such as soda, as they can contribute to weight gain.

Being overweight can increase your risk of breast cancer, especially after menopause. Extra weight can contribute to cancer cell growth when the fat cells produce estrogens. Estrogens promote cancer cells to form and spread.

You may have heard my recent episode 235 on Dr. Garth Davis' lecture on obesity. He is a bariatric surgeon who specializes in obesity medicine. While he knows that a whole food plant-based diet is the best approach to weight loss, he continues to offer his surgeries to patients. He is saving lives because of the tremendous risks associated with obesity. Being overweight can risk developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and other cancers.

Start with adding more plant foods to your diet. You will have more nutrient-dense foods with a lower caloric value that will help strengthen your immune system, help your body detox, and help you in your weight loss journey.

If you have not already done for, I recommend you read Dr. Kristi Funk's Breasts: The Owner's Manual book. This detailed book helps answer many questions about breast health.

Following these guidelines, choosing plant-based foods, exercising regularly, limiting alcohol, and maintaining a healthy weight can improve your overall health and lower your risk of breast cancer.

I'd love to hear if you found this content beneficial. Feel free to email me at plantbasedmaya@gmail.com

And as always, thank you for being a listener.