Because the women in my life are so important to me, I’m dedicating all of my work for October 2013 to them: my friends, my colleagues, my readers, and all the ladies I connect with in multiple Facebook communities. I want to empower my sisters with a baseline of knowledge, which you can build on as part of your own healthy practices.
While most of the western world observes breast cancer awareness in October, I want to put a positive spin on things. The blogs I’ll post this month will pour energy and focus into the manifestation of breast health. It’s a celebration of our femininity and our connection to the Goddess.
Today, I offer you practical tips for your breast health.
The food & lifestyle recommendations I’m sharing here are good for your breasts no matter the state of your/their health.
Perhaps you simply want to incorporate their care into your daily routine. Maybe you want to lessen your tendency towards cysts, or alleviate monthly pain & tenderness. (Incidentally, these benign breast symptoms are much more common than their more insidious cousin.) And yes, reduce your risk for breast cancer, perhaps even help to heal it.
My intention is to move beyond the fear of cancer. Where we put our attention, grows. Why wait for a diagnosis to provide motivation to change habits in your life that may contribute to that, and other diseases?
WHAT IF YOU MAKE A RADICAL DECISION TO TAKE YOUR BREAST HEALTH INTO HAND SIMPLY AS A PART OF LOOKING AFTER THE GIFT THAT IS YOUR WHOLE BODY?
I can guarantee you, whatever’s good for the “girls” is good for the whole woman.
First some facts:
- Breasts are made up of glandular tissue that’s sensitive to hormonal changes in the body, which means they change through the menstrual cycle, and through perimenopause.
- They’re particularly sensitive to estrogen, to which we’re exposed more & more (see below).
- Because of the strong link between the nervous & the endocrine (hormonal) systems, breast tissue is highly reactive to stress (both internal & external).
- Breasts and nipples come in all shapes & sizes. Most of us have one that’s larger and/or higher than the other. We’re all different. Or should I say, unique. As such, it’s important to get to know what that means to you. What’s your normal?
Estrogen dominance, the imbalance of estrogen relative to progesterone,
- is amplified by high body fat (some estrogen is produced in the fat cells)
- and by a high sugar/simple carb diet (increased insulin sets the stage for cellular inflammation and increased estrogen circulation by suppressing the hormone SHBG).
- Inadequate fibre reduces the clearance of hormones once they’ve done their job, allowing them to recirculate and do more than they were intended for.
- Environmental toxins (aka endocrine disruptors) mimic and increase estrogenic activity. Estrogen exposure includes that from the Pill & HRT, and their circulation in our waters.
- Add inflammatory tendencies from poor diet and stress, and you have the recipe for overstimulation of breast tissue, a higher incidence of benign breast symptoms (lumps, cysts, pain), as well as an increased risk of cancer. (Estrogen dominance is also responsible for PMS, uterine fibroids and thyroid imbalances.)
One point to highlight about any symptoms in your breasts
This is the place in your body that’s deeply linked to the way that you care for others, yes, but more importantly, your breasts are a barometer for how well you’re nourishing yourself. Any symptoms you experience in your breasts are a part of your soul’s messaging system, reminding you that there are places where you need to give more time, love and energy to yourself!
So, let’s dive into what can be done to protect, improve and maintain these gals.
Get to know your normal. In the next blog, I’m going to detail a new approach to the Breast Self Exam. Knowing the details of your own body is a crucial step in improving on its integrity.
For now, I give you
8 STEPS TO REDUCE ESTROGEN DOMINANCE AND IMPROVE BREAST HEALTH
Try looking at these suggestions as a way of improving your diet globally, for all sorts of bonus health reasons, like more energy, a healthier weight, clear skin, and increased libido. Now, who wouldn’t want all that?
This is not something you need to do in one shot, because then you’ll be right back to your old habits next week. Instead, every few days, choose a new habit to incorporate, a different food type to replace, or a new food to add to your menu. Let this be a gradual transition, a gentle shift to a new way of living, with lots of room for forgiveness and kindness along the way.
1. EAT MORE VEGGIES!
- Aim for a minimum 4 cups; challenge yourself to get as many colours of the rainbow in one day. Vary the types and preparation.
- Eat more cruciferous veggies daily: indole-3-carbinol limits estrogen binding. Be sure to mostly eat them cooked to lessen the goitrogenic effects, i.e. improve iodine absorption.
- Eat fewer nightshades, or avoid them altogether if you have inflammation.
- Include leafy greens daily. These babies, which include fresh herbs, are packed with vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fats and phytoestrogens!
The upshot: the more veggies you eat, the more you displace poor food choices, which means you will
- Decrease body fat
- Decrease sugar and refined carb intake
- Increase soluble fibre intake
2. Get to know where you’re exposed to xeno-estrogens and other toxins that add to the load your liver has to clear:
- No more plastic containers; especially with hot, acidic, fatty food
- No more chlorine-based cleaning products
- Opt for organic food
- Drink filtered water; consider a filter for your shower
- Choose cosmetics with natural ingredients
3. EAT PHYTOESTROGEN- AND LIGNAN-RICH FOODS; these plant-based compounds act like estriol and lessen the impact of estradiol. Bonus: they’re all rich in fibre!
- Legumes/pulses/beans; includes red clover & fenugreek
- Seeds, nuts & healthy oils
- Whole grains such as brown or red or black rice, quinoa (≠whole wheat/grain flour products)
- Leafy greens (yes, I’m repeating myself on this one!)
4. GET ENOUGH IODINE to decrease the ability of estrogen to bind to receptors
- Seaweed; add a 2-inch piece of kombu to your rice, instead of salt; eat more sushi!
- Tincture; a small drop can be applied right to a sore breast daily for 2 weeks
- Supplement drops
- If you’re at the beach, take long, deep breaths of the iodine-rich sea air!
5. EAT PLENTY OF GOOD FAT The more omega-3 and other high-quality fats you eat, the fewer “bad” fats you’ll eat (hydrogenated, trans, heat-processed, fried oils)
- Cold water fish; salmon, trout, mackerel, sardines
- Flax, hemp & chia seeds
- Extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter, ghee
- Avocado, olives, free-range eggs
6. Eliminate dairy
It’s mucous-forming. And, in the US, BGH given to cows adds to your hormonal load.
From an energetic perspective, milk is meant to flow from the breasts, out of a woman’s body. When you ingest milk, you reverse that natural flow, and create blockages & inflammation in joints, kidneys, uterus, ovaries, as well as breasts.
Stay away from all dairy for one month, and see what happens – you might be surprised!
7. REGULAR MODERATE EXERCISE regulates insulin and reduces body fat.
Walk, bike, swim, garden, yoga, dance around the living room like an idiot,…find something you love to do. Make it fun!
8. CHANGE YOUR BRA
An underwire or a too tight bra will prevent proper blood & lymph circulation, which means it cuts off the nutrients going into your breasts, as well as the removal of wastes coming out.
I know. I know. I love my “Body by Victoria” as much as the next girl. But, I’ve come to appreciate those as my occasional bras, and save the cotton sports bras & Lululemons for daily use. It’s made a difference to how lumpy by boobs used to get premenstrually. I’m currently on the lookout for a stunning bra that holds the girls in place without the wires and without looking like it’s a hand-me-down from my great-aunt Bernice.
Have you tried other solutions to improve the health of your breasts? Tell us about it. When you share in the comments, you open the possibilities for others.
Because this is a topic that effects us all, be sure to share this post with the women in your life, using any (or all!) of these buttons.
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What a great post and so informative. I do most of the things you’ve listed, but I do eat dairy at times (sometimes I’m vegan, sometimes I’m lacto-vegetarian with Greek yogurt and cheese) and I don’t do #8.
We all do what we can, Leanne! As long as you’re doing it with love and a sense of pleasure, and you have no issues, then it’s all good.