May is Womens Wellness Month at Clean Tea
What Better Time to Ask the Question: Can We Really Do Anything to Help Prevent Breast Cancer?
The answer is a big ‘YES’
This is about being pro-active with your own health. Its easier than you think! Our naturopath Amanda Hunter ND, has created powerful blogs so by the end of May you will feel both empowered and inspired by the knowledge and practical tips you gain.
Of course, always use regular breast self examination and screening programs. Get to know your breasts. If something doesn’t look or feel right, see your doctor.
If you would like more information on anything in the Blog, you can ask that question on the website or Facebook and Amanda will answer them for you.
Your question is likely something another woman is wondering about so you will be helping others too.
The blogs for Womens Wellness Month will cover:
Week One: Food – Everyday Changes You Make Today Can Reduce Your Risk of Breast Cancer Tomorrow.
Week Two: Skin – How to avoid the nasties in cosmetics and skin care that have links to hormonal problems and cancer.
Week Three : Home and environment – All the amazingly easy things you can do to make them a healthy, safe place to be.
Week Four: Supplements -We will talk about the best supplements to use in breast cancer prevention.
Week One – Food
Foods to Fight Cancer
- Eat a minimum of 6 cups of fresh veges, including the leafy greens and brassicas (broccoli, broccoli sprouts, cabbage, brussels sprouts, cauliflower) every day. 2 -3 pieces of fresh fruit – especially berries. Make it easy by having some sort of vegetable with each meal.
Why: because the micronutrients in fresh vegetables, fruit and other natural plant products help prevent cancer by interfering with the way cancer cells start and grow.
- Wherever you can look for the ‘Australian Certified Organic’ with your fruits and veggies.
Why: simply because of the load of pesticides/fungicides you are getting in non-organic produce and everybody detoxifies these chemicals differently.
- Some people are very efficient at detoxifying these chemicals but plenty of us are not, so their risk factor will be increased.
- Others have so much unknown exposure to chemicals and toxins from different sources, that their ability to break down and eliminate the pesticide/fungicide residue on fruit and veggies is overwhelmed and the toxic residues then have to be stored within the body.
- There is enough evidence to suggest many pesticides can begin or promote cancer. Glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup) is used increasingly as a herbicide to control weeds in crops. It has an ability to accumulate within our bodies, even showing up in breast milk. It is able to kill off the beneficial bacteria in your gut, allowing the bacteria that causes you harm to overgrow and take over. Most alarmingly, Glyphosate is estrogenic at tiny doses. That makes it an endocrine disrupting chemical that can drive breast cancer growth in the parts-per-trillion range. For your own safety, look for non GMO, whole, organic foods as toxic pesticides are not permitted in organic farming.
- If you can’t always afford or locate organic produce, this is what you can do:
Get to Know: “The Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen”. Sounds like a bad movie, I know, but this helps.
The Dirty Dozen have the highest pesticide residues and should be bought bio-dynamic or organic where possible. These are:
10. Kale/Collard Greens
The Clean 15 – Lowest in Pesticides of Conventional Foods
6. Sweet Peas
9. Cantaloupe/Rock Melon
10. Kiwi Fruit
13. Sweet Potatoes
Washing veggies and fruit under running water will not remove modern harmful pesticide residues, but you can further reduce residues using this method:
Mix into a clean spray bottle: distilled white wine vinegar (half fill the spray bottle) + water (fill the remaining half of the spray bottle) + 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda. Shake to mix together. Spray veggies and fruit well and then rinse off under the tap.
- Along with all your lovely veggies and fruit, making your diet largely plant based by including nuts (use activated forms if you find them hard to digest) and seeds, beans and legumes and whole grains (in moderation) has proven benefits in the fight against development of cancer.
- Whether you follow a Paleo Diet, a low carbohydrate, clean eating, vegetarian or vegan diet, its not hard to make a large part of it plant based.
Other Pro-Active Things to Do:
- If not a vegan or vegetarian, eat red meat only occasionally and never char grill it – stir fry or slow cooked meat is healthier. Bar-b-qued meat is a real problem.
Why: burnt or browned foods are likely sources of carcinogens (cancer causing). Those nice blackened bits on bar-b-qued or fried/baked meat are quite toxic. The problem also includes toast, potato crisps, hot chips (sorry ladies), cereals and crackers because super heating a carbohydrate like potato produces a very toxic, cancer causing compound called acrylamide. It is linked to oestrogen receptor positive breast cancer and high levels are linked to an increased risk of postmenopausal endometrial and ovarian cancer. Boiling and steaming doesn’t create acrylamide so by reducing the amount of browned food you eat (a lot), you are doing something positive.
- Use as many fresh herbs and spices as possible every day in your cooking.
Why: tumeric, ginger, cloves, thyme, aniseed, parsley, mustard and cinnamon have antioxidant and other properties that all contribute to nature’s defence against cancer. Buy quality spices – the supermarket is not the best source.
- Avoid using ham, bacon, sausages and other processed meats that are made with sodium nitrite as a preservative.
Why: nitrites, nitrates and nitrosamines are associated with gastric cancer and possibly other cancers and again are more chemicals your liver has to process. All these meats are available free of these chemicals and more naturally preserved, which is a huge bonus if you love your ham and bacon. They are in the supermarkets and health food stores.
- Dairy products: only use if you know you are not intolerant or allergic to either cow, sheep or goat products. Milk that has come from an animal that has been pregnant will have some level of hormones still present. That is not something, as a woman in this age of breast cancer, that you want. So be careful about how much you consume and try to use dairy from organic, pasture raised animals.
- Fish: so good for you but try to use fish caught wild from very cold waters. These have the protective omega 3 oils in them and the lowest level of mercury and other pollutants e.g. wild caught (not farmed) salmon, sardines, herring, cod, even anchovies.
- Meat and Chicken: in one word truly “grass fed” (not grain finished). Bonus: “organic”. Find out how your meat and chicken is grown and where. I believe it is important to start doing this.
- Eggs: awesome food but again get to know where they come from and how they are produced. There are plenty of farmers who pride themselves not just on what they feed their hens, but also what they don’t.
Why: modern, intensive farming methods produce meat etc that is a long way from the lean, omega 3 rich, low trans fat meats we used to have. For your own, safety, support the farmers that are trying to produce clean, natural meat – grown on chemical free pastures with high nutrient levels.
The take-home message is that toxins of all sorts from and in food can cause genetic changes that at some point can trigger cancerous changes. So check where your food is coming from and how its grown. It is a powerful tool for you.
- Healthy Oils: my favourite subject. Fall in love with a great tasting, Australian extra virgin olive oil. Use it every day on veggies, salads, in place of butter on toast, cook with it – even use it on your skin. Love your avocado, some extra virgin coconut oil, your fresh, raw nuts and seeds.
Why: olive oil, the omega 3 oils in cold water deep sea fish, small amounts of coconut oil and the oils in fresh nuts and seeds and avocado are anti-inflammatory. Liquid nut and seed oils are good but need to be used in moderation and never heated. Inflammation is a driver of breast cancer. Using anti-inflammatory oils in your diet every day gives you a great tool with which to fight. Also a great source of sustainable energy.
Especially if you avoid the toxic, inflammatory oils found in processed foods. That is also an important take home message.
- Sugar: the fuel that cancer cells love to use to survive. It makes sense to follow a low sugar diet.
- Alcohol: regular alcohol consumption is a major risk factor for cancer, including breast cancer. Sad but true and needs to be taken seriously.
Why: as alcohol is broken down by your liver, it produces a chemical called acetaldehyde. Acetaldehyde is carcinogenic (cancer causing). There is another problem with alcohol: while your poor liver is busy detoxifying the alcohol, it is not able to properly detoxify and eliminate harmful oestrogens that you have been exposed to. That is dangerous.
Alcohol is also known as “oestrogenic” in that it can stimulate your oestrogen receptors. This produces an oestrogen response in your breasts and other hormonal tissues. Oestrogen causes growth of tissue and if that is happening in your breasts, I’m sure you can see the problem that is being created.
So: minimal alcohol. Follow the Department of Health guidelines that are constantly being updated, as there is serious concern about the link between alcohol and cancer, particularly breast cancer. If you want to have an occasional glass or two of good wine with a friend – just enjoy the moment. But if you are drinking every day, or having a lot more than a couple of glasses with friends, and you know its bordering on binge drinking – give this a rethink.
- Water: most of us know we need plenty of this. Filter out the chlorine and fluoride if you can. 2 litres over a day is about the right amount, and you can use this in making your beautiful teas, a good organic coffee or just drink it straight.
Why filter your water: fluoride and chlorine compete with iodine for uptake by your cells. This means you can be in a low iodine state and not know. There is a strong association between breast cancer and iodine levels. Animals in an iodine deficient state will develop breast cancer.
Filtering water makes sense.
Lots of Information So Here is a Quick Summary
- Reduce, reduce, reduce your exposure to toxins through food and drink. We can’t totally eliminate them but that reduction in exposure can be the very thing that keeps you safe.
- Your diet should be mostly plant based i.e. heaps of veggies.
- Protein from animals should be from clean, grass-fed sources.
- Healthy, anti-inflammatory fats every day are very important.
- Diet needs to be low in sugar, refined carbohydrates and alcohol.
- Keep away from processed foods.
- Do your best to find organic or bio-dynamic sources of food.
- Wash your non-organic fruit and veggies in the above veggie wash to help remove more pesticide/fungicide residues.
Above all, live your life with joy and gratitude and know, as a woman, you are a powerful tool for change.