Healthy breasts are breasts free of swellings, pain, cysts, fibrous tissue and, most importantly, free of cancer.
Breasts can be adversely affected by the sex hormones progesterone and oestrogen, as well as lymphatic congestion, which makes breasts prone to disease.
But there are a few simple behaviours we can incorporate into our daily routines to enhance breast health.
Here are my top 13...
A high intake of cruciferous vegetables has been associated with a 15% lower risk of breast cancer.
Cruciferous supplements like DIM (diindolylmethane) are wonderful if you're experiencing swelling, pain, cysts or fibrous tissue or have been taking synthetic oestrogen like the pill. For a gentle detox and lymph support, I love Alkalise Green & Go.
Vitamin D regulates sex hormone production and has found to be breast cancer protective. Even if you feel like you get enough sunshine, it's best to check on your absorption of vitamin D via a blood test. The level on the blood test for optimal breast health is 100.
Antioxidants prevent ageing and degenerative disease, which makes them pretty amazing already. But quercetin in particular is is a powerful anti-oxidant with proven anti-tumour properties.
Quercetin is found in fruits like cranberries, blueberries, blackberries, mulberries, raspberries, apples, citrus fruits and red grapes or also found as a concentrated versions in Acai Berry Beautiful.
Vegetables high in quercetin are capers, kale, broccoli, red onion, and it can also be found in black and green teas.
Simply put, medicinal mushrooms have been proven to kill breast cancer cells through their effect on our immune systems. Dried and powdered mushrooms are yummy in raw cacao drinks and smoothies while the fresh mushrooms can be added to Asian-style soups and stir-fries.
Exercise has a holistic effect in that it is remedial for the mind (mental and emotional wellbeing), as much as it is for the physical. It helps to strengthen bones, muscles and the heart while moving the lymphatic tissues and circulation to cleanse, detox and nourish the body.
There is very strong evidence that targeted exercise can also reduce the risk of breast cancer recurrence.
For extra tips to get your body moving, head over to this post: Exercise: 8 Not-So-Secret Tips to a Lifetime of Health and Wellness
The lymphatic system is like the sewage system for the body, mopping up toxins and dead cells and carrying them away. This means the toxins from your mouth flow through the trail of the breasts on their way to the glands at the armpits.
Good oral hygiene (flossing, gum brushing, oil pulling and regular cleans and checks with your dentist) and not smoking are essential for breast health.
The essential oils of clary sage and geranium are fantastic for optimal breast health. 10 drops of each in 100ml of carrier oil makes a lovely breast health massage blend that will help balance the mood as well as the breasts.
Having a professional lymphatic drainage massage at the beginning of every season is a wonderful way to care for breasts prone to congestion, tenderness and inflammation.
Generally speaking, to enhance lymphatic flow (and breast health) breathing techniques where there is a pause at the end of the breath are recommended. Find what works for you, the classic yoga breath; the immune building Wim Hof breathing technique or simply inhaling for 4 counts, holding for 2 counts and exhaling for 6 counts.
(Psst... There's a section on breathwork in our free ebook, 7 Steps to Better Health. Click the link to get your hands on a copy!)
An active breast is nearly always the preferable option for mum and baby. If your body is able to breastfeed, then the longer the better as it protects against breast and ovarian cancer.
Glandular tissue (the milk-making tissue in the breast) and hormones coordinate this beautiful and complex relationship between mother and child. Breastmilk contains many factors which help protect against infection and inflammation and contribute to the development of a child’s immune system and healthy gut microbiome.
Breastfeeding has been associated with a 24% lower risk of ovarian cancer, with the percentage increasing the longer the mother breastfeeds. There's a 34% lower risk of ovarian cancer over 12 months of breastfeeding and up to 91% for over 31 months.
Other studies show that for every 12 months of breastfeeding, the risk of breast cancer decreased by 4.3%, also improving with the length of time that mum breastfed. If you can, do. It's the recommended line for both mother and baby’s health.
It's best to avoid the contraceptive pill and hormone replacement therapy.
But if you have taken, or do take, any hormone therapy, including IVF, its good to see your local naturopath to naturally balance your hormones and enhance the elimination of any excess bad hormones that are detrimental to breast health.
Estrogen-mimicking fake hormones found in certain plastics such as glad wrap, water bottles and soft plastics for storage are the enemies of our breasts. They can mimic or block our natural hormones, and throw our body hormones off balance.
And always choose BPA-free. There are so many alternatives available now with drinking bottles, storage containers, bees wax wraps and natural food and drink accessories.
Giving up deodorants with aluminium is a breast health must. Swapping it out for a healthier option doesn't require extra effort and you'll know you're protecting your body from the aluminium.
Also try giving yourself the freedom of bra-free time to allow effective lymphatic flow through and around the breast tissue and movement of the breast naturally.
Finally, and possibly most importantly for our Human Be-ing-ness, our breasts are governed by our Heart Chakra so the energies of giving and receiving love make for happy breasts.
Give and receive to Self with Love (guilt-free!). And if you’re a giver, allow your self to receive. In doing so you're not only receiving but allowing others to give.
Tanya is a busy mum of two, plus dog and hamster, practising for over 30 years and responsible for many healthy and happy lives globally. Tanya practices at Dove Cottage in Paradise Point, Gold Coast.
For any questions or enquiries, feel free to visit her website or reach out via email - email@example.com
Tanya Goldie ND
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