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Health 11 October 2019
By: Natasha Tanga

5 Healthy Habits to Reduce Breast Cancer Risk


Cancer prevention is especially important to avoid cancerous cells from developing in your later years. In order to do this, it is crucial to make healthy lifestyle changes that will last and find a way to fit them into your daily routine. As October is the annual breast cancer awareness month, on this week's journal, we shed some light on the ways you can prevent the development of this disease before it's too late. Read on! 

1. Consume nutritious food regularly

Although there's debate about direct link between breast cancer and diet, certain factors do actually play a role in triggering cancer cells. A high-fat diet, for example, may increase cancer risk. Therefore, striking a balance in your daily diet plays a key role in preventing breast cancer. You can swap your usual food for alternatives, for example, consuming oily fish instead of red meat, as the omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrient from it may help lower breast cancer risk. Studies have also revealed that it’s possible to lower breast cancer risk by consuming non-starchy vegetables, carotenoid-rich produce, as well as foods high in calcium. 

In general, eating lots of whole grains, fruits and vegetables is important to obtain enough fiber in your diet. Studies have found that every 10 grams of fiber consumed every day, it can reduce as much as a 5 percent of breast cancer risk. Moreover, a balanced diet can also help maintain a healthy weight, which is incredibly important for cancer prevention. Always make sure to consume a variety of nutritious foods and balancing your total caloric intake with your physical activity.

2. Watch your weight

Studies have shown that being overweight increases your risk of breast cancer. This is because fat cells is linked to increased levels of estrogen and produces excess amounts of it. Furthermore, fat also raises insulin levels, which can stimulate tumor growth. To reduce your chances of weight gain, a number of habits you can do includes avoiding sodas and other added sugars, eating only when hungry, doing exercise daily, and getting enough sleep. Eating well and being physically active can help you have a healthy body weight. Maintaining a healthy weight protects against other types of cancer as well, not to mention diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

3. Be physically active

As briefly mentioned on the previous point, it is obvious that doing routine exercises and living an active lifestyle in general can lower the risk of breast cancer. Exercise helps you maintain a healthy weight, decreases levels of estrogen in postmenopausal women and builds a stronger immune system. Although its protective effects vary depending on whether or not you’re postmenopausal, the intensity of exercises, as well as the time spent doing physical activity, it's never too late to implement this healthy habit. 

4. Reduce smoking and drinking habits to a minimum

Aside from being a risk factor in triggering various diseases, research have shown that smoking can also put you at risk of contracting breast cancer, as tobacco smoke increases the risk of cancer in multiple organs. 

Your drinking habits can also elevate breast cancer risk as well as other cancers. Alcohol has been linked to breast cancer in a number of studies, as this may be due to the fact that alcohol increases estrogen levels. Research have shown that one drink a day increases your chances of developing breast cancer specifically by as much as 10 per cent.

5. Get enough sleep

The benefits of having enough sleep is especially important to maintain health, including protecting yourself from breast cancer risk. Research have shown that females who don't get enough sleep, working night shift, having exposure to light during the night, as well as exposed to other causes of circadian disruption may increase breast cancer risk by a whopping 34 percent.

Sufficient sleep is needed to maintain our body's natural repair system, such as replenishing our energy and replacing our cells. Therefore, aim to sleep between 7-9 hours every night. Studies show sleeping for less than six hours each night raises a women’s risk by nearly 50 percent. But, sleeping too much is no good either. Women who slept nine or more hours or more were at a 60 percent higher risk than those who slept a healthy amount.