Healthy Breasts–Inside & Out
Apr 29, 2015 10:52PM
By Dr. Debbie Engelmann
Breasts change many times and in many ways over a woman's lifetime. In fact, they change monthly. Getting to know your breasts is an important part of a balanced health routine, and caring for them properly is not only important for today, it increasingly becomes more important throughout the aging process.
Breasts, like women's bodies, come in all shapes and sizes. The breast tissue varies, they change as you age, and the left one usually doesn’t look the same as the right. How your breasts look and feel is affected by your menstrual cycle, pregnancy, breastfeeding, menopause, nutrition and the aging process. Breasts tend to sag with age with hormone changes such as breastfeeding and menopause.
In today’s world, it is often difficult for women to determine what constitutes “normal” breasts, especially with strong social pressures favoring some types over others. Our perceptions are influenced by how breasts are portrayed in the media and marketing revolving around bra sales.
- Exercise! Increased physical activity, even when started later in life, reduces overall breast cancer risk by up to 30 percent simply by taking a 30-minute walk five days a week.
- A well-balanced diet.
Daily consumption of dark green, orange and red vegetables and fruits
High quality meats and proteins, healthy fats and nutrient-dense foods
Plenty of essential fatty acids and antioxidant-rich foods
Organic, non-GMO foods and products
Lower levels of processed sugars and simple carbohydrates (lowers inflammation and acidity)
Phytoestrogens (plant estrogens) in the form of soy, lentils and grains. All are excellent sources of cancer preventing protection.
- Healthy weight. Obesity raises the risk of breast cancer, especially after menopause.
What Harms Breasts?
- Smoking/Alcohol. Both are strongly connected to breast cancer in women.
- Hormone replacement therapy. Increases the risk of breast cancer.
- Too much caffeine. Coffee, tea, chocolate and cola, Mountain Dew.
- Harmful chemicals. Toxic substances linked to increased risks of breast cancer can be found in beauty products. Parabens can be in deodorants, shampoos and body lotions. If you can’t eat it, don’t put it on your body.
Ways to Nurture Breasts
- Learn how your breasts feel. Doing this makes it easier to recognize breast changes.
- Wear comfortable, loose-fitting bras. NOT to bed!
- Breastfeed. Breastfeeding is good for your baby and you. Breast cancer risks can be reduced by 4.1 percent for every 12 months of breastfeeding due to lower levels of estrogen during lactation.
- Exercise the lymphatic system. Ayurveda calls the lymphatic system the “river of life.” The lymphatic system is a one-way system of vessels and nodes that runs throughout the entire body, from feet to heart, hands to heart, and head to heart. Immune function relies on the flow of the lymphatic system. More importantly, the lymphatic system does not “pump” like your cardiovascular system does—it relies solely on body movement to move things along. Daily breast self-massage keeps lymph flowing by moving it in the direction it wants to move—towards the heart.
- Keep emotions in check. Stress and “holding onto things” can create congestion and block energy in the body. Minimizing negative emotional patterns and stress levels improves breast and body health. There is a universal current or pulse all around us. Moving into harmony with nature and this universal pulse eases body stress and provides peace of mind.