Breast Health Awareness: Food As Medicine
This is actually the third article in a series to address breast health awareness. I began in October, which is usually known as breast cancer awareness month; I am continuing on, to present more of the information available, so you can have the mindset of breast health, instead of breast disease. In my first article, I addressed ways to care for the lymph system as well as the muscles of the area, which also addresses the circulatory system. In my second article, I addressed the skin; what you put on your body and how we restrict circulation of lymph and blood flow with what we put on our bodies. Now I want to address the cells of all the tissues of the breasts, as well as the entire body.
As I mentioned in my previous articles, there isn’t a lot of research done on how to take care of our breasts so we can try to prevent problems in the future. I believe it makes sense to learn what information is available, and use our logic to make decisions that are the most beneficial for our bodies. Some of these ideas may be very easy to incorporate into our day, so why not do what we can do?
Just for a quick review:
This is a very “layman’s” explanation of the anatomy of the breasts. If you have an anatomy background, please forgive me, this is for illustration purposes and thought provoking purposes only. If you are interested in the technical aspects of the breasts, please do your research, that is an amazing thing to do. However, for our discussion, we have these systems in the breasts that we want to support:
Muscles and ligaments
Milk glands and ducts
Cells of all of the tissues
General health of the body
Cells of all the tissues:
I can’t talk about health and not address food. To me, it is so vital to your health. Your cells are made up of what you have eaten the past few decades. I want you to think about what is making up your cells when you choose your next meal.
Many of us have heard that Hyppocraties said “let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food”. I, for one, and a big proponent of this idea. However, this has been also listened to by the pharmaceutical companies, although they would never admit it.
Traditionally, cruciferous vegetables are considered a food for cancer prevention. This sounds crazy, but research has shown that cruciferous vegetables contain aromatase inhibitors, Indol 3 Carbinol, and glucosinates. Each of these work to defend against cancer in their own way. There is quite a bit of research on each of these, and even Web MD and the National Cancer Institute agree with the findings.
Here is a list of cruciferous vegetables we should all be eating:
• Bok Choy
• Brussel Sprouts
• Collard Greens
• Mustard greens
Just so you know, There is a drug on the market that is considered a better alternative to the stronger breast cancer drugs. It’s action is that is an aromatase inhibitor. I wrote a previous article that goes into it a bit more. What that tells me is these aromatase inhibitors are strong enough to cure the cancer once you have it. Just imagine how smart it would be to ingest these substances without even having cancer? Well, you can do that, just eat those cruciferous vegetables!
One more thing about aromatase inhibitors I want you to know, is how they act. They prevent the conversion of other sex hormones to estrogen. Why is this important? Because breast cancer is said to be an estrogen dominant disease. Preventing excess estrogen in your body is a great preventative method, and you can do it is such a simple way. Just by letting food be your medicine.
What about my thyroid?
What about your thyroid? Many people have said that they have been told not to eat these vegetables, because it can harm their thyroid. Research has shown that this is only an issue for those with very low iron. I don’t know how the research was done that showed cruciferous vegetables harming the thyroid, but people who healed themselves of cancer by eating large quantities of cruciferous vegetables did not end up with thyroid cancer. They usually cured themselves of all cancers. I do not believe the average person will eat too many cruciferous vegetables. However, if this is a concern for you, have your iron tested and cook your vegetables and limit the servings to one or two a day (I wish people would eat at least that many!). (Of course, if this is your issue, I will then tell you to eat liver and spinach to raise that iron count.)
While we are talking about cruciferous vegetables, let me give you an idea of a great way to eat some of those!
One of my favorite things is to take a head of cauliflower and chop it into those flowerets. Then you massage them with coconut oil or butter, or both, and sprinkle salt and spices on it. Put it in the oven at about 350 for about 40 minutes, until those flowerets get a bit crunchy. I usually put cumin and curry on at least half of it. Then just enjoy! I love this so much, I have been known to eat the entire head of cauliflower!! It is so yummy!
Other Immune Boosting Foods and Beverages:
There are other things you can do, too. Here are some others known to reduce anti-oxidants, and have anticancer properties:
- green tea
- mushrooms: maitake, reishi, and white button mushrooms
- wakame seaweed (partially because of the iodine)
Here are some other plant based substances that can be beneficial:
- ginko biloba
- ginseng (Panax)
- coffee!!!! (You may want to limit this!)
These are many easy things to put into your diet. Drink green tea, add lots of organic spices to your food, sauté mushrooms and garlic into your meal often…it is just easy to add these things in. Some people think we should take lots of supplements, because more is always better. I honestly don’t believe more is always better. I believe as we add more of the good stuff, we will release the foods that are not healing, then most of our foods will be healing. This is more beneficial than taking more and more supplements.
Reduce your Stress!
Stress is the third component of the trifecta or perfect storm of disease. Poor nutrition, genetic make up, and stress. I find that many disease symptoms begin after a stressful event or time in someone’s life. We can’t stop the events, but we can choose to change how they affect us.
Between relaxation techniques, mindful movement such as yoga, and eliminating stressful environments to the best of your abilities, there are a lot of ways to reduce how stress affects you. If you are a person who is addicted to stress, I would suggest you look up what is called “tapping”. To me it is a great way for the stress addicted to release some of that pent up tension.
There are also quite a few breathing techniques that are great for stress, as is massage. If you find yourself in a very stressful situation, then is not the time to research stress reducing techniques, do it before you find yourself there. Have a couple tools in your belt in case you need them in the future. Of course, a massage therapist will know a lot of those techniques, so feel free to ask your favorite massage therapist, or yoga instructor.
Basically, some of the things that we learned in my last three articles that are beneficial to your breast health are:
- Movement of the muscles around your breasts, of the tissue by self manipulation, and of your body by rebounding or walking or some activity you enjoy.
- Caring for the tissue of your breasts by easing the restrictions on them and the tissues around them. Also by caring for your skin by using less toxic body lotions and deodorants. Also perhaps by using natural products like essential oils, gently, to support your breast health.
- Considering food as medicine and eating lots of cruciferous vegetables as a prevention for disease.
- Have tools to help you reduce your stress.
Not so bad after all. That was a lot of information, and you can take what you know and decide what steps you would like to add to your daily habits, or take away from them.
There is one more area I would like to cover, and that is what some people call early detection, or diagnostic tools. I will address this in my next article. Until then, choose at least three things you can add to your daily habits that help in these areas. You can start with just one, then add a second when you are ready, then in time add the third. By then you will be ready to even add more.
If you believe this information could be helpful to someone, please feel free to share it with them. A great place to start a community discussion on these subjects is in either my Facebook Page, or the Girls Gone Kale Facebook page. Hope to hear from you there!