How often do you think about the health of your breasts? I mean, really think about them? I don’t mean wondering if they’re too small, too big, too saggy, or too lopsided, or if you’re showing too much cleavage — but about how they’re holding up in this world.
We give a lot of thought to our physical appearance but don’t often take the time to consider how our tissue is doing, the glands, the circulation — all the stuff we can’t see in the mirror.
When it comes to protecting the health of your breasts, there are no guarantees. And while measures like mammograms are important for early detection, they don't do their job until you actually find a problem.
So rather than be a standing duck in the water, I advocate taking action and doing things now that empower us to regain and help maintain our health.
Here are a few basic measures you can take every day to support your breasts:
1. Do a regular breast massage.
I don’t mean just monthly self-exams but active massages that start at the armpit, go down the side of the body, and then massage in toward the nipple. This helps with lymphatic flow and brings fresh blood to the breast tissue. Research out of U.C.–Berkeley also reveals that the mechanical action of squeezing can help prevent the growth of cancer cells in breasts.
Find a daily meditation practice you can sustain, and stick with it. Studies show that meditation helps suppress the genes that promote inflammation, which can be a precursor to many health problems, including cancer.
3. Move daily.
Exercise regularly to prevent stagnation in the body, as this can impede our lymph from doing its job and removing unwanted toxins from our bodies.
According to the National Cancer Institute, physical exercise can lower cancer risk anywhere from 20 to 80 percent. Exercise releases hormones that may protect against breast cancer, plus it helps us maintain a healthy weight — which further helps to reduce our risk.
4. Shvitz it out.
Sweat out the toxins, whether through exercise or infrared sauna. Studies show that this can help our bodies detox, which helps our immune system operate more optimally.
5. Drink clean water.
Water fuels our cells, delivers important vitamins, minerals, and chemical messengers throughout the body, and helps us poop (a crucial way to get rid of toxins!).
But many water sources, like tap water, can contain chlorine, fluoride, and traces of medications that are detrimental to good health. Install water filters in your kitchen and shower to minimize your risk, or find a good source of spring water to drink.
6. Glow naturally.
It's also important to reduce the chemical exposure in your home and workplace, including cleaning products, clothes, and makeup.
Research suggests that women’s use of personal care products — and the hormonal disrupters and known carcinogens within them, like parabens and phthalates — are related to an increased risk of breast cancer. Opt for nontoxic, chemical-free versions of the products you use daily.
7. Choose organic.
The chemicals used in conventionally grown foods can increase our toxic load. Wherever possible, choose cleaner, organic food and produce, especially when it comes to the "dirty dozen" — like apples and spinach.
One of my favorite quotes is by Martin Luther: “Even if I knew that tomorrow the world would go to pieces, I would still plant my apple tree.” We can’t be guaranteed a cancer-free life and statistics aren’t weighing in our favor. But it’s still worth it to work on your health.
Our everyday actions — including the food we eat, relationships we’re in, how we sleep and exercise, and our daily lifestyle practices — move us toward living a healthier, more awesome life. Every choice counts.
Photo Credit: iStock