Making healthy choices in your diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy weight can be helpful in preventing breast cancer. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so when shopping at your installation commissary, look for foods that promote breast health awareness and cancer research. Many food manufacturers are partnering with organizations dedicated to raising awareness for research funding to find a cure. Look for the pink logo to help support the fight against breast cancer.
Maintain a healthy weight
Reasons to lose the pounds and maintain a healthy weight are numerous. Research has proven a link between obesity and breast cancer. If you gain more weight later in life, especially after menopause, you may be at a higher risk of developing breast cancer. Fat cells provide estrogen, and breast cancer is linked to how much estrogen you are exposed to in your lifetime.
Stay physically active
Research has shown that women who participate in more than five hours per week of strenuous activity have a lower risk of invasive breast cancer compared with less active women. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines suggest 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. If you haven't been exercising regularly, start slowly and build up to your targeted goal. Remember: weight-bearing exercise such as walking or weight lifting keeps your bones strong.
Limiting the fat in your diet and choosing fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants - spinach and other dark, leafy greens - will put you on the path to healthier eating. The average person needs no more than 60 to 70 grams of fat each day. Be sure to check out Defense Commissary Agency's Kay's Kitchen where you will find cooking tips, techniques, advice and recipes to meet everyday challenges we all face in providing affordable family meals that are tasty, nutritious and easy to prepare.
Be proactive about your breast health by performing breast self-exams regularly, which is one way for you to know how your breasts normally look and feel and to notice any changes. See your health care professional regularly and discuss when you should have your first mammogram. Remember, a healthy lifestyle may be your best protection against breast cancer.
Taking care of yourself and your family by making healthier choices is a focal point of the Healthy Base Initiative, part of Operation Live Well, which supports the National Prevention Strategy for improving Americans' health and well-being through a prevention-oriented approach. For more information for making healthy choices, visit the Healthy Base Initiative page on Military OneSource or call 800-342-9647, to speak with a Military OneSource Health and Wellness coach.