The relationship Americans have with food today is much different than it was in the “good ole” days. With a shift in household dynamics and unlimited eating options, thinking about food, what we are going to eat, and when our next meal will be, is a big part of our day. Remember the days when meals were prepared mostly from scratch with ingredients and groceries we kept stocked at home in the pantry? Now, we can have a complete meal at the convenience of dropping by the restaurant of our choice and even going through the drive thru to grab our meal.
The American Cancer Society estimates there will be about 276,480 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed in 2020. As a woman of a certain age, my interest is peaked to say the least. Risk factors we cannot change include genetics, gender, and age. Wait… Don’t panic just yet! After further reading, my research has revealed 3 key areas we can actively modify to work on preventing cancer and reducing our chances of other unhealthy medical issues.
Maintaining a Healthy Body Mass Index (BMI)
· BMI is the measure of your body weight based on your height.
· Healthy BMI for adults if between 18.5 and 24.9.
· Women with a BMI > 25 are at greater risk for developing breast cancer.
· Risk for a higher BMI can be caused by too little physical activity, eating more calories than your body will use, diet too high in added sugars and saturated/trans fats.
Balanced Nutrition Plan
· Two-thirds of your plate should be plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans.
· No more than one-third of your plate should be animal proteins. Healthy choices include fish, non/low fat dairy products, egg, poultry, and chicken.
· Control portion sizes for all meals.
· Limit total and added sugars.
· Low alcohol intake to 1 drink per day (for women); 1.5 ounces of liquor (i.e. rum or tequila), 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer.
· Moderate to high intensity exercise for 30 – 60 minutes per day has been linked with lower risk for getting breast cancer.
· It is IMPORTANT to find activities you can enjoy! You are more likely to do them regularly if you do something you like.
· Activity ideas include take the stairs instead of the elevator or walking/biking dates with your partner.
These 3 will keep your body at it is healthiest, boost your immune system and help keep your risk for cancer as low as possible.