By Terra Wellington
Healthnotes Newswire (October 22, 2009)—According to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, every three minutes one woman will be diagnosed with breast cancer. Yet when looking into the disease’s cause, only 5 to 10% of breast cancers are due to heredity, which means there is great hope for reducing your risk. The latest research points to promising prevention strategies.
Sunshine and vitamin D may be key
Recent study results by Dr. Julia A. Knight of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada, suggest that exposure to sunlight and dietary sources of vitamin D may be two of the best ways you can reduce your breast cancer risk.
Combining the right food with sunshine exposure can produce sufficient vitamin D levels in your body (1,000 IU per day). Here’s how:
• Getting about 10 to 15 minutes two times per week in the sun without sunscreen and with exposed skin (face, arms, hands, or back) allows the sun’s rays to penetrate the skin and synthesize vitamin D.
• Besides getting vitamin D from sunshine, you can also get it from specific foods—including butter, eggs, and vitamin D–fortified foods, such as milk, soy milk, orange juice, and cereals. Oily fish are an animal source of vitamin D3, such as salmon (wild caught is better for the environment), trout, tuna (not every day due to potentially high mercury levels), sardines, and mackerel.
• Vitamin D supplements might also help, though research has not yet shown that this is as effective as sunlight and vitamin D gotten through food.
Live well and prosper
Overall healthy living may also reduce breast cancer risks.
• Get moving—Exercise in the sunshine and outdoors if possible. Make a regular date with a friend to work in a walk or a run before work or at lunch. Do an exercise DVD or take a class. Find a way to make it fit into your schedule.
• Watch the waist—If you are overweight, look for low-calorie foods and drinks.
• Choose your fats wisely—Avoid trans fats and stick to good fats, such as olive oil, oily fish (salmon, trout, mackerel and others), avocados, and walnuts.
• Get a folate fix—Get enough folic acid (400 mcg per day) to build healthy cells. In addition to supplements and multivitamins, folic acid can be found in citrus fruits and juices, green leafy vegetables, and fortified cereal.
• Kick the habit—Avoid second-hand smoke and use over-the-counter products to help you quit smoking, such as nicotine gums, inhalers, lozenges, nasal sprays, or patches.
A health writer, columnist, and editor, Terra Wellington is well-known for her wellness lifestyle segments on television and radio, including the CBS network's New York This Morning, This Morning, and Early Edition; ABC’s News This Morning, Sonoran Living, AM Northwest, and Good Morning Texas; NBC’s News At Noon, and Fox's Fox News Rising; and the Ask Heloise radio show, among others. She also toured nationally, in-person from coast-to-coast on live TV for the 2004 Athens Olympics. She has also been featured in MSNBC.com, Traditional Home, Better Homes and Gardens, Women's Health and Fitness, Parenting, The Christian Science Monitor, First For Women, Woman’s Day, and The Vegetarian Times.
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