At nearly 600,000 new cases each year, breast cancer is an alarmingly common and serious health concern for women worldwide. In North America, breast cancer accounts for over one quarter of all female cancers. No one would argue that having breast cancer is stressful. As a matter of fact, there are some who will argue that stress can cause cancer. According to the American Psychology Association, it’s sometimes difficult to ascertain what comes first … the physical illness or the stress. However, there have not been any studies done that can definitively state that stress causes cancer.
Being sick does create stress in your life, for sure. When we’re stressed out, our immune system is compromised. Our immune system is our body’s protective network that fights off the effects of bacteria, viruses, free-radicals and even cancer cells. To keep our mind and body tuned and healthy to prevent disease and illness, we need to eat the right foods so that we have a healthy and balanced diet that includes the proper nutrients and sufficient antioxidants to help protect and maintain a healthy immune system.
We also need to keep stress to a minimum if we want to strengthen our immune system. Getting in touch with nature is a very good and effective way to lower the level of stress in our lives. Recent studies have confirmed that people recover faster from painful incidents and stressful situations when they are exposed to natural environments. Being able to walk around in a natural environment where there are trees, water, greenery, flowers, the sky and wind on your face has a noted positive effect on mood and stress levels.
With October being National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there are a lot of events taking place outdoors. The Komen Race for the Cure is a major activity that would be a perfect stress-reliever. You can participate in the race, whether running or walking, and connect socially with a group of people who have a common story and interest. Coming together as a group with a common interest and in a supportive way is a great way to lift the spirits, increase self-esteem and decrease stress.
Exposure to nature in a green space, park setting or natural environment does wonders for the mind and the body. Whether you’re sitting on a park bench listening to the birds chirp, reflecting upon a body of water, taking a hike in the woods, meditating under a shaded tree, or walking alone or with a group of others, there’s nothing like nature’s restorative power!
This week, set aside a 15 – 30 minute session with nature to de-stress through exercising outdoors. Try to increase the length of those sessions every week until you are spending about 60 minutes outside in a pleasant, calming green space or environment. Outdoor activities and exercise can help alleviate symptoms of Alzheimers, dementia, depression and stress, and improve cognitive function in those recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Evidence is growing that exercise can reduce breast cancer risk. The American Cancer Society recommends engaging in 45-60 minutes of physical exercise 5 or more days a week.
You can protect and maintain a healthy immune system by keeping stress levels to a minimum. Keep the mind and body tuned and healthy to prevent disease and illness. There is no clear proof that stress and anxiety can increase breast cancer risk. However, anything you can do to reduce your stress and to strengthen the immune system will enhance your recovery and ability to effectively fight breast cancer.
Spend as much time as possible in beautiful green spaces. Enjoy the sights and sounds of nature and work toward getting fit and well through exercise..
When you plan your meals for the week or shop at the grocery store, are you choosing foods that fight cancer? There are many foods that can help fight cancer before it starts. While cost, taste, and calories are important things to consider, selecting the best foods to keep you healthy and cancer-free should be the major deciding factor.
Don’t be afraid to try fruits, vegetables, beans or legumes you’ve never eaten before. There are a lot of healthy recipes you can find online that you can use to improve your health. Your local grocer carries most, if not all, of the foods and ingredients you will need to prepare delicious cancer-fighting meals.
Visit your local grocer or farmer’s market on a weekly basis and select five new fruits, vegetables, beans, cheese or dairy products you can combine or incorporate into your diet this week. Mix and match them and surprise yourself with fresh new flavors and quick meals that are full of nutrition and cancer-fighting properties.
Here are 6 cancer-fighting foods you can combine to make a delicious cancer-fighting salad:
We know that leafy greens are good for you but arugula is one of the best greens you can eat. It contains two cancer-fighting agents, kaempferol and quercetin. Diets containing arugula can lower the risk of lung cancer.
To create your salad, use arugula as a bed of tasty greens upon which to add other cancer-fighting foods. Young leaves or baby arugula has a sweet and nutty taste and make a tastier salad when used … versus the bigger leaves which have a slightly bitter taste.
Tomatoes contain a very high concentration of an antioxidant called lycopene. They pack a one-two punch against cancer because they contain lycopene and cancer-fighting Vitamin C. Studies report significant reductions in prostate cancer in men and cervical cancer in women who eat a diet rich in tomatoes and tomato-based products.
Beans are loaded with flavonoids and other phytochemicals that slow cancer cell growth and decrease chronic inflammation. By eating these fiber-rich beans, you can lower your risk of developing brain aneurysms, cancer (especially colon-rectal cancer), and other potential killers. Eat at least ½ cup of beans at least twice a week for optimum benefit.
Lung cancer is the #1 cancer killer for men and women. Being a non-smoker does not give you immunity from the development of lung cancer. Approximately 20% of women who get lung cancer have never smoked a day in their lives.
These hard cheeses are made with bacteria that produce a special form of Vitamin K called menaquinone that has cancer-fighting properties. Studies have shown that eating hard cheeses can reduce the risk of lung cancer by 62% if you eat at least 2 slices a week.
Jarlsberg cheese is a delicious cheese to try on your salad. It has a buttery and nutty taste and looks like Swiss cheese. Sprinkle some shredded Jarlsberg cheese on your salad for extra punch.
Mushrooms offer great benefits for overall health, including their ability to help fight cancer, especially prostate cancer and breast cancer. Asian mushrooms, in particular, have been used for more than 6,000 years for their medicinal powers.
Asian mushrooms come in dozens of varieties, and some of the ones most recognized in the United States include Shiitake, Maitake, Crimini, Reishi, Enoki, King Oyster, and Cordyceps. One healing component found in mushrooms is ergosterol peroxide, which researchers found to be effective against human prostate cancer cells. They found that ergosterol peroxide inhibited cancer cell growth and triggered cell suicide, known as apoptosis. Asian mushrooms also contain a powerful antioxidant called L-ergothioneine.
In regards to breast cancer, mushrooms help the body reduce the level of estrogen and prevent estrogen from stimulating breast tissue through compounds called aromatase inhibitors. Some studies suggest that by eating just ONE mushroom or 10 grams of mushrooms per day, a woman reduces her risk of breast cancer by a staggering 64% … ONE mushroom a day!
Extra virgin olive oil is liquid gold on salads! Almost every cancer-fighting dish begins with extra virgin olive oil. In many parts of the world, olive oil is considered to be “liquid gold” because of its medicinal benefits. But the secret to this cancer-fighting superfood is you must use olive oil that comes from SUPER olives.
There are three SUPER olives: Picual olives (which comes from Spain), Moraiolo olives (which comes from Italy), and Koroneiki olives (which comes from Greece). These extra virgin olive oils have the highest concentration of cancer-fighting polyfinols. The stronger the taste, the higher the concentration of polyfinols.
The next time you are in the grocer or an upscale supermarket, pick up a bottle of extra virgin olive oil, look at the label and ask yourself what kinds of olives were used to make it? Purchase an olive oil made from one of these three types of SUPER olives.
Store your (liquid gold) olive oil in a dark glass bottle, in a cool, dry place because olive oil is very sensitive to light. The light degrades the olive oil, especially those cancer fighters. So, make sure you store it properly to get the best flavor and cancer-fighting benefits.
A diverse blend of foods in your diet can give you all the variety of flavor you desire, help you maintain your weight and stay healthy, and help you fight cancer. The ability to prevent or fight cancer is literally in your hands. Make it your mission to explore, examine and experience a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables found at your local grocer and farmer’s market.
The ingredients outlined above will start you on your way to better health and wellness. They will make one of the most flavorful, healthy and delicious salads you’ve ever eaten.
Just throw all the ingredients into a big salad bowl and drizzle a couple of tablespoons of some extra virgin olive oil over the fresh arugula greens, beans, cheese, mushrooms and tomatoes. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper on top and toss all the ingredients together until coated with olive oil.
Savor the wonderful flavor of these ingredients … it’s a winning combination designed to help you stay or get fit and well. Subscribe to our newsletter to get more delicious cancer-fighting and healthy recipes, along with news you can use and great healthy living tips.
October is designated as the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). During the month of October, national public service organizations, healthcare organizations, medical associations, government agencies and numerous community and civic organizations come together to increase awareness about breast cancer and share information on the disease and services offered.
However, raising awareness about breast cancer and informing the public about the strides made in finding a cure is a continuous effort conducted throughout the year on a 24-hour, 7-day-a-week basis. Educating yourself and having a plan in place to prevent, detect or survive breast cancer is one of the best things any woman can do to maintain and preserve her health.
Over 220,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. That’s quite a few women. Detecting breast cancer early in its localized stage is extremely important.
According to the National Cancer Institute, when breast cancer is detected early, the 5-year survival rate is approximately 98%. The percentage of survivors drops dramatically when breast cancer has spread beyond the localized stage. Approximately 30% of women are diagnosed with the disease after it has spread — that’s 66,000 women a year faced with the fight of their lives.
While a lot of people are aware of breast cancer, many people forget to create a plan to detect the disease in its early stages. The best way to fight breast cancer is to have a plan in place that will help you detect the disease in its early stages. Being proactive about your health is a key factor in successfully preventing or fighting breast cancer.
An effective early detection plan will remind you to perform routine breast self-exams and schedule clinical breast exams and mammograms. This plan will vary depending on your age and medical history. Early Detection Plans save lives.
You will increase your chances of detecting breast cancer in its early stages if you create and follow an Early Detection Plan. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is the perfect time to think about and create a plan for beating breast cancer. Go HERE to create your own Early Detection Plan and/or download the app. Please share this EDP with other women during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and throughout the year.
The heat has been brutal this year! In the United States, there have been record-breaking heat waves over the past several months throughout the country. Five states had more than 100 record temperatures broken in June 2012. Thus far, Texas has had 237 records broken, followed by Colorado (226), Kansas (164), Missouri (126), and Arkansas (115).
Heat-related illnesses and deaths have also risen with the temperature. Heat is the number one weather-related killer in the United States, resulting in hundreds of fatalities each year. Excessive heat claims more lives each year than floods, lightning, tornadoes and hurricanes combined. According to the National Weather Service, there were over 200 heat-related deaths last year.
People at greatest risk for heat-related illness are the elderly, the very young, people with acute/chronic illness, those with cognitive impairments, people taking certain medications, and people who work outside.
To avoid heat-related illnesses, you need to take precautions:
In addition to protecting the sick, elderly, and children, remember to protect your pets from the extreme heat! Never leave a pet or any person in a hot car with the windows rolled up … not even for a few minutes. Make sure all animals have plenty of fresh water and are able to move out of direct sunlight to a shaded area or some covered shelter.
Heat-related illnesses and deaths are 100% preventable. Take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and others who are vulnerable. Call 911 in case of a heat-related illness because heat stress, heat exhaustion and heat stroke can result in death..
Today is Melanoma Monday- prevent skin cancer by avoiding tanning beds, wearing protective clothing in the sun and seeking shade. Remember to be especially careful at the beach: water and sand reflect the sun’s rays, increasing your chances of sunburn.
Melanoma is a very dangerous type of skin cancer. Melanoma develops in the cells that produce melanin which is the pigment that gives your skin color. Melanomas usually grow in unmarked skin but they may grow in a mole or birthmark you already have. Usually melanoma is found on the upper back, face, scalp and hands in men and women, and on the legs of women. Melanomas can also appear in the mouth, eye, esophagus, rectum, vagina, urinary tract and small intestines.
The risk of developing melanoma increases with age. However, the disease also frequently affects young, otherwise healthy people. Melanoma can spread very rapidly. Although it is less common than other types of skin cancer, the rate of melanoma is steadily increasing. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease.
The development of melanoma is related to sun exposure or ultraviolet radiation, particularly among people with fair skin, blue or green eyes, and red or blond hair.
Risks for melanoma include the following:
Other risk factors include:
The primary symptom of any skin cancer is usually a mole, sore, lump, or growth on the skin. Any change in appearance of a pigmented skin sore over time is a warning sign. Also, watch for any bleeding from a skin growth.
The ABCDE system may help you remember features that might be symptoms of melanoma:
The key to treating melanoma is recognizing symptoms early. You might not notice a small spot of concern if you don’t look carefully, so perform thorough self-examinations monthly, and schedule a formal skin exam with a dermatologist yearly.
The most common treatment is surgery to remove the cancerous skin cells and surgically remove some normal tissue that surrounds the area. That is all the treatment that you may need for early-stage melanomas that have not spread to other parts of your body.
If the cancer has spread to nearby lymph nodes, these lymph nodes may also need to be removed. Treatment with interferon after surgery may be useful for these patients. For patients with melanoma that has spread beyond the skin and nearby lymph nodes to other organs, treatment is more difficult. At this point, melanoma is usually not curable. Treatment is usually directed at shrinking the tumor and improving symptoms.
The American Cancer Society recommends professional skin examinations every year for people older than 40, and every 3 years for people ages 20 – 40. Self examination is also highly recommended. You should examine your skin once a month, looking for any suspicious skin changes. Use a mirror to examine your entire body and check hard-to-see places. Call your health care provider if you notice any symptoms of melanoma,
Protect yourself from the sunlight’s damaging ultraviolet rays by doing the following:
Protect yourself from the sunlight’s damaging ultraviolet rays by doing the following:
The exact cause of all melanomas isn’t clear, but exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight or tanning lamps and tanning beds increases your risk of developing melanoma. Other factors, such as your genetic makeup, climate, history of blistering sunburns during childhood, and weakened immune system may also play a role.
Limiting your sun exposure and avoiding tanning lamps and beds can help reduce your risk of melanoma. And making sure you know the warning signs of skin cancer can help ensure that cancerous changes are detected and treated before the cancer has a chance to spread. Melanoma can be treated successfully if it is detected early..
Eating out this week? Cut calories and fat by splitting oversized portions with a friend. If you’re dining solo, choose a healthy appetizer or two side dishes instead. Your meal will be better for you and just as satisfying.
Food portions have changed over the past 20 years. Getting fit and maintaining a healthy weight is difficult when there is portion distortion. Anyone eating on the run or at restaurants has probably noticed that food portions have gotten larger. Some portions are called “super size”, while others have simply grown in size and provide enough food for at least two people.
Waistlines and body weight have grown along with the increase in portion size. The next time you eat on the run, think twice about the food portions offered to you. A “portion” can be thought of as the amount of a specific food you choose to eat for dinner, snack or other eating occasion.
A “serving” is a unit of measure used to describe the amount of food recommended from each food group. It is the amount of food listed on the Nutrition Facts panel on packaged food or the amount of food recommended in the Food Guide Pyramid and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The following chart will give you an idea of what one serving size looks like:
1 cup of cereal flakes = fist
1 pancake = compact disc
½ cup of cooked rice, pasta, or potato = ½ baseball
1 slice of bread = cassette tape
1 piece of cornbread = bar of soap
VEGETABLES AND FRUIT
1 cup of salad greens = baseball
1 baked potato = fist
1 med. fruit = baseball
½ cup of fresh fruit = ½ baseball
¼ cup of raisins = large egg
DAIRY AND CHEESE
1½ oz. cheese = 4 stacked dice or 2 cheese slices
½ cup of ice cream = ½ baseball
MEAT AND ALTERNATIVES
3 oz. meat, fish, and poultry = deck of cards
3 oz. grilled/baked fish = checkbook
2 Tbsp. peanut butter = ping pong ball
1 tsp. margarine or spreads = 1 dice
A portion is the amount of food that you choose to eat for a meal or snack. It can be big or small—you decide. A serving is a measured amount of food or drink, such as one slice of bread or one cup (eight ounces) of milk.
Many foods that come as a single portion actually contain multiple servings. For example, look at the label of a 20-ounce soda (typically consumed as one portion), and you’ll see that it has 2.5 servings in it. A 3-ounce bag of chips—which some would consider a single portion—contains 3 servings.
Pay attention to your portion sizes and the servings recommended on packaging in order to maintain or lose weight. Because portion sizes have practically doubled over the past 20 years, we have gained weight and find it much more difficult to get fit and well. Cut those portion sizes in half and double up on the exercise routines!.
With Earth Day approaching, take time this week to get out and enjoy nature! Whether you go for a bike ride, observe wildlife or participate in a sporting event, now is the perfect time to gear up for spring and more outdoor activity.
Exercise outdoors — Save money and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine by skipping the electrically-powered fitness equipment for a walk, jog or bike ride outdoors.
Wear eco-friendly fitness gear — There are lots of recycled or renewable products being manufactured by companies that focus on offsetting their carbon footprint with eco-friendly products.
Top it off with green tea — After exercising outdoors, enjoy a copy of green tea. Add some freshly-squeezed lemon juice and honey to your cup of tea. The citrus juice helps bring out the antioxicant properties of green tea.
Ginger green tea is a great tea for digestion. Ginger is a natural detox agent.
Get fresh air and exercise is very important for maintaining a healthy body and mind. It is also good for the spirit. Striving to appreciate and enjoy the most natural products and materials available is the purpose of Earth Day.
Get outside and make Earth Day your day to get fit and well while enjoying the natural beauty of your environment.
To maintain your weight, it’s important to balance calories eaten with calories used. This week, keep track of the calories you consume by keeping a food journal. Try to stay within a 2000 calorie budget.
Jotting down what you eat and drink in a food journal will make it so much easier to maintain your weight. When we fail to document our daily intake of food, we lose track. We also consume too much food and tend to eat the wrong kinds of food when we don’t monitor what we eat.
A journal is a diary that reminds us of where we are and keeps us on track so we reach our goals; whether that goal is to lose weight or maintain our current weight.
You can use anything that will work for you to keep track, i.e., a sheet of paper, a small pocket-size flip-top tablet, a large spiral notebook or a leather bound journal. The key is to write it down!
When you track your calories by jotting down what you eat and drink, you will be in a better position to know if you have exceeded your recommended daily allowance. If you have, you can increase the amount of exercise you get in that day to balance things out and burn any excess calories before they turn to fat.
Start your day thinking about your daily goal and write it down. Make sure you keep track of the amount of water you drink and shoot for at least 8 glasses of water a day.
Losing weight or maintaining a healthy weight is all about maintaining balance in our lives and doing what is required to stay healthy, fit and well.
Start journaling today and keep track of what you eat, how much exercise you get, and how you feel physically, mentally and emotionally as you go about your day. What you find may be the key to helping your maintain balance in all areas of your life.
Healthy Monday Tip – April 4, 2011
Take some time this week to assess your progress on your fitness and nutrition goals. Are you where you hoped to be? If not, what steps can you take to guarantee results? Come up with a revised weekly plan that will help you achieve success.
If you embarked on a health and fitness plan at the beginning of the year and set some goals but find that you did not hit your target or reach your goal, now is a great time to re-evaluate that plan. Starting off with SMART goals is half the battle. Taking the necessary steps to evaluate your plan and make the necessary adjustments along the way will increase your chances of successfully meeting your goals.
For example, if you want to lose 30 pounds in 90 days, there are several things you need to track in order to ensure that you will successfully reach your goal. You can take measurements of your weight, body measurements, BMI (Body Mass Index / body fat measurement) distance traveled by foot or bike, length of exercise routines, reps, strength and resistance training, and amount and types of food consumed. Make it work for you by making sure you track critical aspects of your plan.
Revise your plan and make the necessary adjustments to reach your goals. If you have lost 20 of the 30 pounds you set as your goal, with some adjustments, you can reach your goal within the next 30 days. Take a look at what may have hampered you from achieving your goal and make the necessary adjustments. Is there anything in your routine, exercise frequency, eating habits, or emotions that may be hampering your progress?
Track and assess your progress. Make the necessary adjustments and keeping moving toward your goal!
If you want to learn more about setting SMART goals and achieving more than you ever dreamed possible, take a look at these books:
Healthy Monday Tip: It’s no coincidence that cultures with whole, plant-based diets tend to promote less disease and longer life spans! This week have a “Meatless Monday” and try a new ethnic cuisine like Thai, Greek or Indian.
The challenge is for you to have a “Meatless Monday”. Today, focus on eliminating all foods from your diet that are not harvested from the soil. A plant-based diet consists of foods that come out of the ground which includes vine-picked vegetables and fruit. These plant-based foods are more nutritious if they are not cooked or have not been processed in any way.
Vegetables are the healthiest foods you can eat. Eating raw vegetables free of pesticides and chemicals will give you an abundance of vitamins, anti-oxidants and minerals. However, steamed vegetables or vegetable soups can render very tasty meals.
Fruits are the tastiest natural food you can eat. They contain many natural sugars that will satisfy your taste buds and sweet tooth. Once you have allowed yourself the opportunity to enjoy the natural sweetness of fruit, you will not enjoy the taste of processed sugar.
Herbs are excellent sources of nutrients and have great medicinal value because they are loaded with anti-oxidants. Incorporating herbs into your plant-based diet will add a lot of zest, flavoring and nutritional value. In addition to vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, herbs contain a wealth of other healthful substances. Essential oils found in herbs produce anti-inflammatory effects, which are especially helpful for people with arthritis and inflammatory bowel conditions. Phytosterols found in herbs and all plants help your body fight germs and increase your immunity to disease. And the volatile oils in herbs may help protect against some types of cancers.
Nuts are among the healthiest foods to incorporate in your diet. They are an excellent source of protein and are an excellent substitute for meat. Nuts are full of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. They are also a great source of healthy fats that build a healthy immune and nervous system, reduce cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and protect the heart.
Heart Disease — Eating a diet that consists of meat, animal proteins and other saturated fats will raise the cholesterol levels in your blood. Heart disease is often caused by a diet high in saturated fats. These unhealthy saturated fats clog the arteries causing the heart to work extra hard, often resulting in a heart attack of heart disease. Plants do not contain unhealthy fats. If you eliminate meat or saturated fats from your diet, you will drastically decrease your chances of getting heart disease.
Cancer — Consuming red meat has been widely associated with the increase in cancer. However, if you consume the right amount of raw plant-based foods, you will get all the necessary enzymes and amino acids your body needs to boost the immune system and fight off cancer. Most fruits, vegetables and herbs are high in anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants help the body rid itself of toxins that may cause cancer.
Diabetes — A diet that consists of raw vegetables will not spike your blood sugar levels like processed foods do. As a matter of fact, you can reverse diabetes by incorporating the right foods into your diet and getting the right amount of exercise.
A meal prepared using a combination of vegetables, herbs, nuts, and fruits will provide most of the basic nutrients your body needs. Nuts and green leafy vegetables are a good source of calcium. A handful of whole raw almonds or walnuts contains as much as 85mg of calcium and 95mg of magnesium. A cup of lightly steamed broccoli has about 132mg of calcium. Another rich source of calcium is fresh papaya — a medium size fruit has about 72gm of calcium and 31gm of magnesium. Adding grains like brown rice or quinoa to the mix will really add some additional fiber and nutrients.
If you want an exotic experience and enjoy some ethnic cuisine, visit some Thai, Greek or Indian restaurants for a tasty dish that consists of only plant-based foods. Or you may want to find some recipes for ethnic cuisine to try at home. Just remember to drop the meat from your meal.
You can reap a tremendous amount of health benefits from going meatless. Choose organic over conventional fruits and vegetables, where possible, for maximum benefit. A plant-based diet can help you to enjoy a long and healthy life.