October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and a great time to highlight the importance of maintaining healthy habits to support breast health. Here are our top recommendations:
Get to and maintain a healthy weight. If your BMI is out of the healthy range, find a program and tools to help you get to a healthy weight, which is important for maintaining health in general, including breast health.
Exercise regularly. Regular exercise can help you maintain breast health. At least 150 minutes of moderate exercise spread throughout the week (that’s less than 30 minutes a day) will help your body shrink the size of fat cells and regulate hormone production from fat cells. If your time is limited, 75 minutes a week of high-intensity exercise can have similar effects.
Eat a freshly prepared, whole-foods diet. It’s no surprise that your diet affects breast health just as much as other aspects of your health. But eating a diet full of fresh foods prepared at home can greatly reduce chemical exposure from processed convenience and fast foods. Eat plenty of produce that offers antioxidants, such as blueberries, cranberries, broccoli, kale, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Consuming foods rich in antioxidants has been associated with helping to maintain breast health.
Choose the right supplements. Filling in nutrition gaps with supplements can help you support breast health. Look for options that contain Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids, as they have both been associated with maintaining breast health.
Don’t smoke, and limit alcohol. Smoking puts you at a lot of risk in many aspects of your health, and this includes breast health. So let this be extra motivation to stay smoke free. Also, keep alcohol at moderate levels or lower (one drink per day or less). Regular consumption of two or more drinks per day in women can increase the risk of breast health-related problems.
Get the checkups you need—on time. It’s a good idea to see your doctor regularly and have a clinical breast exam once a year. Not only will checkups detect any unhealthy signs but they can also clear up any questions or confusion you have about your own breast health. If you are between the ages of 40 and 49, new guidelines recommend having screening mammograms every one to two years. It’s also a good idea to do your own breast self-exam every month; you should be familiar with how your breasts normally look and feel so that you can report any changes to your doctor right away.
 “Choices for Good Health: American Cancer Society Guidelines for Nutrition and Physical Activity for Cancer Prevention.” CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 56.5 (2006): 310-12.
 “American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) – How Omega3 Fats May Protect against Cancer.” American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) – How Omega3 Fats May Protect against Cancer. N.p., n.d.
 “Vitamin D and Cancer Prevention.” National Cancer Institute. N.p., n.d.
 “Study Supports Alcohol, Breast Cancer Link – Harvard Health Blog.” Harvard Health Blog RSS. N.p., 03 Nov. 2011.
 Brewster, Abenaa, and Kathy Helzlsouer. “Breast Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention, and Early Detection.” Current Opinion in Oncology 13.6 (2001): 420-25. Web.