1. Blue foods. Blue pigmented foods like purple cabbage, purple carrots, purple cauliflower, radicchio, black rice, blueberries, blackberries, and more) are high in the anti-cancer pigment called anthocyanins. These have been repeated shown to kill ER+ breast cancer cells in laboratory studies.
Colorful, diverse and filled with broccoli-family foods. A rainbow diet of diverse polyphenolic compounds, colorful pigments and brassica-type foods like broccoli sprouts, have all been shown to be cancer protective. Your weekly menu should have plenty of these foods.
Soy. Evidence clearly shows that women do not need to avoid whole unprocessed soy foods (if you oncologist told you this he or she does not know the well-replicated scientific literature that has put the soy issue at rest). Soy may reduce risk of recurrence by up-regulating estrogen receptor beta signals linked to reducing cancer cell risk. Also, whole organic non-GMO soy foods (avoiding hydrolyzed soy proteins and isolated flavones, as these are not protective but risky as they are “processed” soy) help with weight reduction by replacing higher calorie and pro-inflammatory meats.
2. Avoid weight gain. Weight gain, extra fat cells, during or after breast cancer treatment, is linked to increased risk of breast cancer-related death. Women who are overweight or obese at diagnosis have less healthy outcomes. Work with a professional and get committed to portion control and sleuth out intermittent fasting.
3. Exercise. Move to protect your boobs. At least 30 minutes of moderate exercise at least five days a week, or 75 minutes of very vigorous exercise/week protects breasts from breast cancer cells taking hold. And it’s helpful to also add strength-training workouts for your large muscle groups (for example, upper legs, upper arms and low back) at least 2 to 3 times a week.
4. Vitamin supplementation. Moderate consumption of antioxidants like Vitamin C found naturally in fresh veggies as well as in supplements look promising. Melatonin down-regulates estrogen growth signals and up-regulates estrogen controlled growth signals. At night melatonin works in consort with Omega-3 and Omega-7 fatty acids to help eradicate cancer cells while we sleep. Many supplements have been shown to be helpful such as green tea extract, mushroom extract, and more. Vitamin D supplements help your immune system “see” cancer cells as well as maintain bone strength, as chemotherapy and hormonal treatments often reduce bone density. Chemo damages gut wall cells so nutrients that replace and replenish these cells, for example vitamin A palmitate, are also helpful.
5. Alcohol. Alcohol is a yogic beverage as it demands being perfectly in the NOW and not drinking to excess. The minute women drink alcohol even to mild excess it can increase the risk of recurrence, while limiting consumption to one or fewer alcoholic drinks per day may help reduce the risk of recurrence. Many young women now drink alcoholic beverages like they are water so this is a significant issue as alcohol can increase the risky types of estrogen in the blood.
6. Oxytocin. Oxytocin hormone has been shown to eradicate ER+ breast cancer cells in the lab in the petri dish, as well as in mice studies and in observational human studies. Orgasms release oxytocin, which protects breast tissue from cancerous change. Oxytocin is also gut protective. The gut is now recognized to be the mother ship of our health where most of our immune system lives. Go to sexybrainsystem.com as my new book has an entire chapter on the protective aspects of oxytocin and how to purchase it over-the-counter as a nasal spray or work with your doctor for a script.
7. Attitude. It has been well proven that pro-active patients who assert themselves and seek out a variety of care and stand up for themselves, have better outcomes and less risk of recurrence. Be bold. Take your health into your own hands to a sensible degree. Live out loud and as Dr. Bernie Siegel reminds us, live out your dreams.
8. Smoking. Within minutes of inhaling a cigarette, dangerous metabolites have been identified in breast tissue. Giving up smoking after a breast cancer diagnosis has not had a clear link to reduced risk of recurrence, but common sense says STOP. Smoking exposes your body to more carcinogens. Duh! It is not good for your bones, brain, or lungs, all of which diverse treatments for breast cancer worsen, while on the other hand, regular and satisfying intimacy benefits and protects.
• CMAJ, February 2017 Lifestyle modifications for patients with breast cancer to improve prognosis and optimize overall health. DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.160464