Breast health is a major concern for a lot of women especially those who have witnessed firsthand the devastating effects it wreaks on family members. But, cancer prevention should be on the minds of everyone, male and female. According to the American Cancer Society breast cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in women. Men suffer from it at a lesser rate but it still happens.

There are things you can do in your life to help yourself. Believe it or not, most illness is caused by diet, while about 3 to 5 percent are thought to be caused by genetics. (The China Study) What type of cancer prevention you choose to do depends on the likelihood of your having received a breast cancer gene over not having done so. Now, keep in mind that most people who get breast cancer had no relatives with the disease that they knew of, so genetics aren’t everything. This means that diet plays a huge role in cancer prevention.

Eat More Plants — It’s clear due to all the research that has been conducted that eating more plants will reduce your chances of contracting certain cancers including breast cancer. When asked the question of The American Cancer Society if eating more fruits and veggies will lower the risk of cancer they answered yes, unequivocally. One reason is that people who eat a diet high in plants are less likely to be obese.

Lose Weight — Obesity increases your risks of contracting breast cancer, especially for women post menopause, as well as other cancers. Avoiding excess weight gain in the first place is most effective, but if you find yourself overweight, try losing some weight to help protect yourself against illnesses including breast cancer. (American Cancer Society) Being a healthy weight offers protection from all disease, including cancer.

Check Your Vitamin Levels — Ask your doctor to check the levels of vitamins in your blood once a year. It is a great way to ensure that you’re getting the nutrients you need to be healthy. If you get a comprehensive vitamin and mineral blood exam you’ll find out whether or not you need to add more to your diet. Your doctor likely will not perform these tests on their own, so ask, especially if you’re not feeling 100 percent. While we’re not totally sure about the connection to cancers yet, it’s clear that disease can be prevented with proper nutrition.

Exercise Regularly — The American Cancer Society recommends proper nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention. They recommend that you try to be as lean and fit as possible throughout life to help prevent breast cancer. They recommend that adults work out at least 150 minutes per week of moderate activity and 75 minutes a week of intense activity and not to be sedentary. Studies show that sitting for more than four hours on any given day increases your chances of illness including cancer.

Be Happy — While this might be strange advice for cancer prevention, the truth is, some studies show that attitude can play into illness. While this may or may not be true, it doesn’t hurt to practice being positive. Consider combining being positive with some physical activity and take up a Yoga practice.

It’s clear that you have more power over cancer prevention that you may have thought possible, including breast cancer. It all goes back to what your mother probably already told you. Eat right, exercise, and be part of your community. Enjoy the life you have today as the healthiest version of you possible. Even if cancer never becomes part of your truth, you’ll be healthier and happier along the way.

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