Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women. It is so important to cultivate a healthy, loving relationship with our bodies, especially our breasts.
The risk factors for breast cancer include elements that are both within and outside of our control. We know that genetics, exposure to ionizing radiation, not having babies, and late menopause are all factors that increase a woman's risk. What about the other important causes to be aware of? These include exposure to pollutants, poor nutrition, high stress, and poor exercise habits.
So what can we do to protect the health of our breasts? Here are some ideas:
- Cultivate a healthy lifestyle and manage stress. Yoga and meditation both encourage the free flow of qi (life force) or prana, which helps to eliminate stagnation.
- Avoid wearing underwire bras. Although they are great support and provide a nice shape, they hinder the natural state our breasts should be in- which is free flowing. Bras encourage stagnation. Don't worry though... if you need to wear a bra, you can find non-underwire, organic options with a few searches on the internet. As this article from Michael Schachter, MD explains: "Over 85 percent of the lymph fluid flowing from the breast drains to the armpit lymph nodes. Most of the rest drains to the nodes along the breast bone. Bras and other external tight clothing can impede flow. The nature of the bra, the tightness, and the length of time worn, will all influence the degree of blockage of lymphatic drainage. Thus, wearing a bra might contribute to the development of breast cancer as a result of cutting off lymphatic drainage, so that toxic chemicals are trapped in the breast."
- Avoid caffeine, especially coffee. Try out herbal teas instead, they provide a much broader range of medicinal benefits! Cutting out coffee is not a popular recommendation. If you absolutely cannot break the addiction, just make sure your coffee is organic and limit to one cup daily. Coffee is normally grown outside the United States and typically is grown with strong pesticides and chemicals, which are not great for women's reproductive health. Even organic coffee tends to have an affinity with breast tissue and often has a negative effect.
- Exercise! Moving your body reduces the risk of stagnation. Remember that too much exercise is just as dangerous as too little. Both can severely affect hormone balance, which is essential to any woman's health. Yoga is a great and gentle way to ease into a daily practice of moving your body. Some women prefer running or other sports, and that's totally okay too! You know what exercise is best for your body.
- Massage your breasts! One of our favorites. Breasts are mostly adipose tissue, they don't have the quantity of blood flow available as other parts of our bodies. It is so important to get the blood flow moving! Jumping on a mini-trampoline is great and also is amazing for the lymphatic system, but nothing screams "self-love" and "self-care" more than breast massages. You can use coconut oil, castor oil, or untoasted sesame oil. After you shower, warm some oil in your hands and massage it vigorously into the breast tissue and around, not forgetting your arm pits!
- If you're having babies, that is already decreasing your risk, but make sure to breastfeed! For each year a woman breastfeeds, her risk of breast cancer is cut by 4.3 percent.
- Eat organic and/or locally grown food. Food grown with the use of pesticides and other toxic chemicals is very hazardous to our health. Although fruits, veggies, grains, and beans don't harbor estrogen-like pollutants as much as dairy and meat do, they still do count.
- Have panchakarma treatment. Highly recommend getting this treatment done at least once in your life! It is AMAZING.
- Avoid environmental pollutants.
- Consume soy, in easily digestible forms, in moderation. Organic tempth, of tofu cooked with fresh ginger; miso, and warm spiced golden soy milk are great examples of how to nourish your body with soy products.
- Be careful with the deodorants you choose. It is wise to avoid antiperspirants that have aluminum. Since many mainstream, commercial deodorants also contain parabens and estrogen-mimicking chemicals that may impact breast health, it’s just best to avoid them all together if you can! There are lots of natural, inexpensive, effective deodorant options on the market that do not contain any harmful chemicals. You can also get crafty and make your own deodorant!
If this resonates and you would like to have more support along your journey, feel free to drop a comment down below or send us an email!
Much love sisters.