October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This is a great time to learn how to reduce your risk by eating healthy and being physically active. There is no one way to prevent breast cancer, but a healthy lifestyle can help reduce your risk of developing breast cancer and help to boost your recovery.
All women are at risk of developing breast cancer, but some women are at a higher risk. Some risk factors cannot be controlled, such as family history, and start of menstruation and menopause. But other risk factors can be reduced by improving nutrition and activity choices.
Body weight is closely connected with breast cancer risk. Engaging in regular physical activity is one way to help protect yourself by promoting a healthy weight. Body Mass Index, also known as BMI, is a ratio of your weight to height. You can calculate your BMI with this formula: Weight (in pounds) / [Height (in inches) x Height (in inches)] x 703. A heathy or normal weight would be a BMI between 18.5 to 24.9. People with a BMI outside of the normal weight range are at the greatest health risk.
Aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. It is best to spread out activity during the week, as well as break it up into smaller intervals of time during the day. Smaller amounts of time tend to be easier for people to start and maintain. If you cannot seem to find 30 minutes at one time in a day, you can still fit it in by splitting up the time. Try to schedule exercise into your calendar like other appointments. You could try to do 10 minutes in the morning, afternoon and evening. This could be a variety of exercises including walking and stretching. Thirty minutes of activity adds up quickly when you take the stairs, park far away and do yard work or house work.
Certain foods that are high in dietary fiber, vitamins and minerals may help protect against some cancers. These include:
- Cruciferous and dark, leafy green vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collards and kale
- Fruits: Citrus, berries and cherries
- Whole grains: Oats, barley, bulgur, rye and whole-grain breads and cereals
- Legumes: Dried beans and peas, lentils and soybeans
Alcohol intake also is linked with breast cancer risk. If you drink, limit your intake to no more than one alcoholic beverage per day.
Enjoy this recipe from Fruits and Veggies-More Matters
Red Lentil Soup Serves 4.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter 1/4 large onion, minced (about 1/2 cup) 1 garlic clove, minced (about 1/2 teaspoon) 1/2 celery stalk, diced (about 1/4 cup) ½ pound red lentils 1 teaspoon ground cumin 2 tablespoons long-grain white rice 1 quart Chicken Broth, or as needed Juice of 1/2 lemon Salt to taste Freshly ground white pepper to taste
Melt the butter in a soup pot over medium heat and add the garlic, onion and celery.
Cook until the onion is translucent, 4-6 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add the lentils and cumin and stir to coat evenly with butter. Cook 4-5 minutes. Add the rice and 3 cups of the chicken broth. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring often to avoid scorching, until the lentils dissolve and begin to look like a pureed soup, 30-45 minutes. Add the remaining broth as needed to adjust the consistency. Heat through. Season with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.