Susan Luck gives her 12 steps to preventing breast cancer from eating organically to supplementing your nutrition to avoiding plastics.
- Choose your food wisely – eat as organically as possible, and limit animal fats as endocrine disruptors and heavy metals accumulate in the food chain. The higher your animal protein source, the greater the potential toxics load. Choose seasonal and local foods. Fish consumption: Large deep water “fatty” fish like tuna and swordfish may contain high levels of synthetic chemicals and heavy metals, so eat them infrequently. Wild caught salmon and cod are better choices.
- Avoid Pesticides – if you can’t buy all organic food, try to pick and choose. Certain crops are more heavily sprayed than others. The Environmental Working Group data base (www.ewg.org) offers guidelines on the fruits and vegetables containing both the highest pesticide residues and the lowest. Produce containing the highest pesticide levels include: peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, lettuce, grapes, pears, spinach, and potatoes. Wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consuming, or peel them if they are not organically grown.
- Supplement your nutrition – Take a broad spectrum daily multivitamin, containing essential fatty acids and antioxidants to ensure rich nutritional and support for your body’s optimal functioning. In today’s world, we strongly recommend supporting your body with the essential tools it needs to function optimally particularly when it is challenged on a daily basis by so many synthetic substances. Unfortunately, much of our food supply is contaminated, shipped long distances and lacking the necessary nutrients, even when we think we eat well. Nutrients that have substantial research for supporting breast health include: Vitamin D 3, Cruciferous vegetables including broccoli and watercress, high in glucosinolates and sulforaphane, green tea, curcumin, alpha lipoic acid, and resveratrol.
- Support your body’s natural ability to detoxify by exercising and sweating on a regular basis. Use a sauna or steam bath. Get regular sleep (you detoxify at night) and drink plenty of filtered water.
- Consume plenty of fiber found in your whole grains, beans, vegetables, fruits, seeds (flax) and nuts.
- Drink antioxidant beverages like green tea containing antioxidants that can assist the body to rid itself of toxins. Other researched protective antioxidants include pomegranate, blueberry and raspberry juices.
- If you are planning on getting pregnant and breastfeeding, be vigilant about chemicals and put your energy into what you can eliminate and become the healthiest you can. Follow guidelines on fish for pregnant women listed at: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/fishmercury.htm
- Become an environmental detective – investigate the chemicals in your home, work, and community environments.
- Know your water supply – Find out whether your local community’s water testing program checks for hormone- disrupting chemicals and heavy metals. Not all household filters work effectively on chemicals and, unfortunately, not all bottled water is checked either. Read your water quality reports. If you drink purified water out of plastic bottles, do not leave the bottles in your car or the hot sun for any length of time; heat activates the molecules in the plastic, which increases the rate at which the polycarbons leach into the water.
- Avoid using plastics – If you do, the safest plastics are marked with the recycling codes 2, 4, and 5. Never let infants chew on soft plastic toys and never microwave food in a plastic bowl or covered in plastic wrap. A good rule of thumb is that the softer the plastic, the more chemicals. Buy in bulk and store foods in glass jars. Reuse hard plastic tubs. Limit use of plastic bags and cling wrap products. Assess the amount of plastic in your life and try to reduce it by five. For example: Bring a reusable mug to your local coffee stop. Buy a refillable glass or earthenware water jug. Invest in glass food storage containers that can be washed and reused for a lifetime. Use reusable cloth totes for groceries.
- Exercise your rights as a consumer – never doubt the power of consumer demand. Ask for green products when you don’t see them in your neighborhood stores. If you have a talent for organizing and recruiting people, use it to develop community ordinances regarding the use of chemicals in public places. It took a while to legislate no-smoking areas; hopefully “chemical-free” will not be far away. Encourage our youth to learn more about environmental issues and to pursue research into redesigning our future.
- Become a community advocate – Support local and federal clean air and water initiatives. Write to your local and state representatives and encourage them to vote for a healthy future. Support elected officials who make a clean environment their priority.
Together, we can create a healthier future for us all.