Let’s Beat Breast Cancer Together!
Have you noticed an eruption of pink in the last couple of weeks? Football players are wearing pink gloves, shoes and mouthpieces. Runners in crimson-colored shirts race through the streets. Even signature, cherry-studded bagels shaped as a survivor’s ribbon are available for a limited time—enjoy them while you can. These are just a few indications that it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. This annual observance started in the 1980s to heighten the awareness of the frequent and needless deaths associated with breast cancer. Specifically, there are many things we can do to help prevent breast cancer and it begins with our lifestyle.
In her book, “Breasts, The Owner’s Manual*,” Dr. Kristi Funk provides the ABCs of breast health. She begins by debunking breast cancer myths; explains the importance of a plant-based nutritional plan; emphasizes daily lifestyle activities; stresses weight management, and, shares how we can live longer, more vibrant lives.
Am I destined to have breast cancer? Many fear that their genetics or family history of breast cancer is a death sentence for the inevitable. Dr. Funk shares the facts, “…genes aren’t the be-all, end-all many people think they are. In fact, only 5 to 10 percent of breast cancers currently prove to be hereditary.” She explains, “…meaning that they occur because abnormal gene mutations pass from parent to child.” As another physician stated, “Genes load the gun, but lifestyle pulls the trigger!”
Why does food matter? Dr. Funk emphasizes the power of our plate, and specifically, more plants on our plates. In her book, she discusses the anticancer and anti-inflammatory properties of phytochemicals (phyto means “plant” in Greek), which she writes “…directly target the very processes that cancer cells use to develop a tumor.” She introduced, “…some of the powerful plant compounds that block carcinogenic actions—like sulforaphane and indole-3 carbinol (think broccoli and kale), genistein (soy), diallyl sulphide (garlic) and ellagic acid (berries and walnuts). She concludes that these compounds, “…can save your life.”
According to Dr. Funk, the perfect plate will be filled with antioxidants and other cancer-fighting nutrients. Without knowing each nutrient by name, we will know them by color. Look for a vibrant, deep-colored rainbow with red (lycopene), yellow and orange (beta carotene), green (chlorophyll) and blue (flavonoids). This rainbow of colors should fill 70 percent of our plate at most meals; pack the other 30 percent with plant-based protein and whole grains.