We all know one thing about cancer: It’s the worst. And one of the most common types of cancer is breast cancer. In fact, about 85 of every 100,000 Americans have breast cancer, according to the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.
While that isn’t the most uplifting thing to hear, there is some good news. If you’re lucky enough to catch breast cancer early, it’s actually one of the most treatable forms of cancer.
While getting screened for breast cancer is the best way to detect it, there are lots of lifestyle choices you can try to lower your risk of developing breast cancer. Reduce your risk of breast cancer by embracing these 5 habits:
You hear it all the time—exercise, work out, do all the fitness things. And you should. Regular activity is one of the best ways to improve your health overall, and as an added bonus, it also helps fight breast cancer. One study published in JAMA Oncology found that partaking in about 300 minutes of physical activity per week helped with breast cancer prevention, not to mention being overweight or obese as been touted to contribute to developing certain cancers. That’s just 43 minutes a day!
Eat some fiber
Fiber is part of any healthy diet, but it’s also been linked with a lower chance of developing breast cancer. Women who consumed about three servings a day of high-fiber fruits when they were in their teens were less likely to develop breast cancer in adulthood compared to those ate less fruit, according to a study published in the BMJ. Fruits with high fiber include raspberries, apples, bananas, oranges, strawberries. You might also stock up on baked beans, almonds, and pecans, all of which are loaded with fiber.
But limit your fat
It’s important to incorporate healthy fats into any diet—for example, foods like avocados, olive oil, and nuts, which sustain your energy and keep you fuller longer. However, too much fat isn’t good in terms of breast cancer purposes. In a study published in JAMA Oncology, women who followed low-fat diets had a 22 percent lower risk of dying of breast cancer after eight years, compared to those who didn’t limit their fat intake. (Note that the women in this study ate a diet high in produce and whole grains, so that could have contributed.)
Cut back on alcohol
Drinking wine every weekend? Going to a ton of happy hours? It may be worth it to try to going sober for a bit. The link between breast cancer and alcohol is strong, research shows. Even moderate drinking showed a big risk—up to one drink a day contributed to a 13 percent higher risk of developing several types of cancers, but primarily breast cancer, according to a study published in the BMJ.
Smoking cigarettes isn’t just a precursor for lung cancer; turns out it may also increase your risk of breast cancer, especially in adolescents who haven’t gone through puberty yet. According to a study published in Breast Cancer Research, the carcinogens in cigarettes may affect hormonal pathways during breast development.
Do you know anyone who has breast cancer? Will you adapt any of these lifestyle changes?