In conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the American Cancer Society recommends the following healthy life changes to help reduce the risk of cancer:
• Weight loss if you are overweight. Excess weight raises blood levels of estrogen and insulin, two hormones that can increase growth of cancer cells. Ideal body mass index should be less than 25, but any weight loss is good. The National Institutes for Health has an online Body Mass Index calculator at www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/.
• Thirty minutes of intentional daily activity above your normal activities each day. Even better is 45-60 minutes per day. This intentional activity should make you breathe as hard as you would during a brisk walk. Possible activities besides walking include biking, dancing, heavy yard work and swimming laps.
• Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. More fruits and vegetables is even better.
• Switch to whole grains like whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, oatmeal and even popcorn. Eat less white bread, refined cereals, white pasta and white rice.
• Limit intake of processed meats like lunch meat, hot dogs, bologna, bacon and sausage.
• Eat red meat like beef, pork and lamb less often. Instead eat skinless poultry, fish, seafood, nuts and cooked dried beans and peas.
In Georgia, Oct. 20-24 will be celebrated across the state as Breast Cancer Awareness Week