Since being diagnosed with — and treated for — breast cancer in 2009, author Judy Fitzgerald has made it her mission to learn everything she can about the causes, treatment, and prevention of the disease. She details her experience, her discoveries, and her appeal to further breast cancer research in her book entitled A Teacher’s Journey…What Breast Cancer Taught Me. More recently, she founded an organization called Sisters4Prevention with the help of her mother, sisters, and sisters-in-law. Sisters4Prevention strives to support breast cancer education as well as the development of a breast cancer vaccine.
On her blog, Fitzgerald shared a month’s worth of steps for breast cancer prevention. We are fortunate enough to benefit from her years of research through the short excerpts below from her “31 Days of Prevention.” The entirety of her post can be found at http://sisters4prevention.com/judyblog and includes strategies for both nutritional and lifestyle changes — from the cancer-fighting benefits of certain herbs and spices to the importance of exercise and positive thinking.
31 Days of Prevention
Strategy 1 – Drink water with lemons/limes
Lemon/lime water has several benefits including purifying the liver, helping with digestion (restaurants offer lemon water for this reason), maintaining a high body pH (alkalizing effect), is high in magnesium and potassium and helps the body eliminate toxic waste. All these wonderful things can happen by drinking a simple glass of water.
Strategy 2 – Pack Your Sneakers & Get Moving
Statistics show that walking three hours per week, or a half hour per day, improves breast cancer survival rates by as much as 50% and reduces risk of developing the disease by 30%. This is an easy goal to achieve, and matches the minimum exercise levels recommended by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Walking for a half hour per day will also reduce risks for other cancers, Type II Diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.
Strategy 3 – Vitamin D & Green Tea
Remember when we were children and our parents told us to go outside and play? It turns out they were again right of course. Sunshine is the main source of Vitamin D3. This form of Vitamin D helps create and enhance the proper functioning of all healthy cells in the body. Vitamin D is particularly helpful in preventing breast, ovarian, prostate and colorectal cancer, and people living in the Northeast have been found to be deficient in this important vitamin.
For another easy point, while you’re sunning yourself, sip a cup of tea. Although tea drinking has been associated with health benefits for centuries, only recently have its medicinal properties been investigated scientifically. Tea has a high content of flavonoids, which are plant-derived compounds that are antioxidants.
Green tea is at the top of the list since it is the best food source of a group called catechins. This Superfood is more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and appears to have other disease-fighting properties. Studies have linked green tea with a reduced risk for several cancers, including, skin, breast, lung, colon, esophageal, and bladder.
Strategy 4 – The B’s of Prevention
Berries and Broccoli Are Your Breasts’ Friends
The First B: Berries
There’s no better way to start the day than with fresh fruit. Some of the best are the berry family: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. These delicious Powerfood cousins are packed with lots of antioxidants and vitamins. These natural treats that almost everyone loves, provide potent anticancer compounds. Clinical trials on berry consumption and cancer prevention at Ohio State University’s College of Medicine promote the concept of ‘fruitraceuticals’ as opposed to pharmaceuticals for cancer, and emphasize prevention vs. treatment.
The Second B: Broccoli
The cabbage family, including cabbage, cauliflower, kale and broccoli, contain phytochemicals that are considered some of the most powerful prevention tools we have. The uniqueness of cabbage in cancer prevention is due to the three different types of nutrient richness found in this widely enjoyed food. The three types are (1) antioxidant richness, (2) anti-inflammatory richness, and (3) richness in glucosinolates. Glucosinolates act "indirectly" to activate the body's detoxification systems. Cruciferous vegetables provide numerous health benefits including: anti-inflammatory benefits, antioxidant properties, detoxification benefits, cancer prevention, cardiovascular support, and digestive support.
Strategy 5 –When to buy organic?
Every year the Environmental Working Group publishes the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists. These publications rate foods according to which have the highest and lowest pesticide residue to help shoppers determine which foods to buy organic and which are okay to buy conventional.
Research has established a strong link between estrogen activity induced by organochlorine pesticides (containing chlorine), and the risk of developing breast cancer. The results are significant. Patients with very high estrogen levels due to pesticide residues run four times more risk of developing the disease than patients with undetectable or very low levels.
To read more of Judy's strategies, visit http://sisters4prevention.com/judyblog