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Boost Breast Health with these Bust Musts

October Breast Health month.

Boosting Breast Health

From the bare-breasted days of the cave woman, through the Renaissance and into the era of blonde bombshells, a woman’s bosom has been an icon representing both sexual prowess and vitality. But the breasts are also vulnerable. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and, each year, about 40,000 women die from the disease. From puberty through the elder years, it’s imperative for a woman to take care of her breasts, from the inside out, both physically and emotionally.

The “bust musts” for breast health go beyond screenings and routine self-exams. Until recently, the prevalent thinking was that screenings are the best way to detect and treat cancer before it metastasizes. However, increasing numbers of false-positive tests have led to unnecessary medical treatment. In some cases, screenings have failed to detect active tumors. It could be that timing for screenings should be personalized, based on health and family history, age, and lifestyle habits.
More important than early detection is the power of prevention in the hands of every woman. This includes properly performing breast self-exams (BSE), and taking care of body and mind in ways that boost breast health.
Six Ways to Boost Breast Health

Know Your Bosom. It’s important for a woman to be familiar with the look and feel of her own breasts. Performing a monthly BSE is the best way to detect a lump or other abnormality. This video will help you do it right.

Chill Out. In general, excessive stress has negative effects on health. Research indicates that stress can also increase your risk for breast cancer as well as its recurrence (Ohio State U). Because stress impairs immunity, there’s evidence that it can alter how aggressively cancer develops. To manage stress, try yoga or meditation.

Go for Green. A component of green tea called epigallocatechin gallate (ECCG) is a powerful antioxidant that is believed to suppress the growth of new blood vessels in tumors. ECCG also seems to play a role in keeping cancer cells from destroying healthy tissue. Enjoy at least a cup or two of tea daily.

Get Crunchy. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables contain cancer-fighting compounds that convert excess estrogen into a form that is more “friendly” to a woman’s body. Women who eat a high percentage of cruciferous veggies on a daily basis are less likely to develop breast cancer. Enjoy a “crunchy salad” or add steamed mixed veggies to your daily meal plan.

Get Spicy. The turmeric plant contains curcumin, which is known to support a strong immune system. Some research shows curcumin can reactivate genes that suppress tumor development and stave off cancer cells. Add a curry night to your weekly meal plan.

Fiber Up. Fiber from fruits and whole grains helps rid the body of toxins. In addition, flax contains cancer-fighting compounds, called lignans, that can block the negative effects of excess estrogen on cells. Sprinkle flaxseed on your salad or yogurt.

References

Detoxing: Strengthening Your Body’s Defense Team

March2016_detoxDetoxification is a natural healing process that incorporates resting, cleansing, and nourishing the body from the inside out. By eliminating toxins, then fueling your body with healthy nutrients, a planned period of detox can strengthen your body’s natural “Detox Team” and help maintain optimum health.

Many health care providers recommend a medical detox plan at least one to two times per year, with spring and fall being the ideal approach. You may have heard critics argue the human body is designed with just the right physiological processes necessary to clear the body of impurities and maintain health. Unfortunately for many people, lifestyle habits and the environments where we live, work, eat and play often expose us to toxins that our bodies don’t efficiently eliminate.

The toxins you can be exposed to everyday include:

· heavy metals in the food and water supply
· environmental pollution
· chemical food additives
· smoking; overuse of alcohol or drugs
· use/overuse of Rx medication
· prolonged high stress
· poor quality diet and lifestyle habits
· frequent colds or chronic illness
Your Body’s Natural Detox Team

Your body naturally detoxifies itself via a Detox Team of organs that work synergistically to neutralize and eliminate toxins, with the goal of keeping the blood and cells free of impurities. The liver leads the Detox Team by processing toxins for elimination. The supporting detox defense players are the kidneys, intestines, lungs, lymph, and skin. When your body’s natural Detox Team becomes compromised, impurities aren’t properly filtered out. This makes it a real challenge for the Detox Team to maintain or restore health and well-being.

Detoxing Boosts Your Health

Following a detox program suited to your personal needs supports the body’s natural cleansing process and boosts your health in many ways:

· Allows digestive organs to rest
· Stimulates the liver to process toxins more efficiently
· Promotes movement of bowels
· Improves circulation
· Enhances sweating, which facilitates release of impurities
· Restores vital nutrients and energy to the body

6 Things to Know Before You Detox
Before you begin a detox, prepare mentally and physically. Read up on your specific detox program, foods to eat or avoid, and supplements needed. Plan your dates a few weeks in advance. Inform the people closest to you about the time you’ve set aside to take care of yourself. Clear your schedule of routine obligations that may create stress.

Decrease caffeine intake.
Some people experience headaches during the first few days of their detox due to sugar and caffeine withdrawal. You may want to gradually decrease the intake of these substances one week prior to detoxification to minimize discomfort. The detox medical food powder is designed to assist your body in this process as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Hydrate!
Without enough water, toxins will not be sufficiently flushed from the body. Aim to drink at least 2 quarts of water per day with lemon/lime during a detox.

Dry Brush Your Skin
Look for a brush with soft natural bristles. Begin with light, gentle brushing over the skin (don’t make the skin red). Always brush towards the heart. Shower immediately after to rinse off exfoliated skin.

Get Wet
Therapeutic use of water also supports detoxification. A steam or sauna can accelerate the release of toxins. Hydrotherapy provides support to the muscles and promotes relaxation. Mineral bath salts also help release toxins.

Sweat it Out-Gently.
Exercise facilitates digestion, circulation, metabolism and hormone balancing. During a detox, decrease the intensity of your usual exercise routine, but do break a moderate sweat. Get outdoors for fresh air and natural sunlight. Good exercise options are easy hiking, dancing, walking, yoga, or tai chi.

Rest.
For your mind and body to fully assimilate the benefits of detoxing, you need good quality sleep. Plan your least stimulating activities (reading, meditation, Epsom salt bathing) for right before bed.

 

How to Detox?
Many people think of detoxifying as a fruit and vegetable juice fasts or a herbal tea cleanses. But these alone can cause muscle wasting and increased fatigue. In order to detoxify properly, the body needs macronutrients such as quality protein and carbohydrates, plus specific micronutrients-vitamins, minerals and herbs, that provide targeted nutritional and liver support.

These are usually provided by medical providers through reputable Functional medical suppliers that use only quality products and raw materials.

Included are herbal and nutritional supplements such as burdock, milk thistle, dandelion, omega fish oils, and vitamins C and B protect and support the body’s Detox Team, especially the liver. They also have antioxidant effects that benefit the whole body.

There are people who must be under the care of a health practitioner, such as pregnant or nursing women or those diagnosed with certain conditions such as diabetes. In general, it’s important to work with your doctor to select a program that matches your health needs.

The medical food detox programs should enhance the body’s natural metabolic detoxification process while providing adequate fuel for both cleansing and other daily activities, supporting energy metabolism and overall well-being. Talk to your physician about the proper support and ways to safely detox.

 

Resources
The following as cited in Pizzorno, Joseph E. (2013). Textbook of Natural Medicine. St. Louis, MO Elsevier.
Jones, D.S., Quinn, S, et al. “Functional Medicine” (chapter 2), 10, 14-15
Lyon, M. “Functional Toxicology” (chapter 53), 483-484.

Bland J.S., Barrager E., Reedy R.G., et al.”A medical food-supplemented detoxification program in the management of chronic health problems.” Altern Ther Health Med. (1995) 1:62-71.

Cline, J.C., “Nutritional Aspects of Detoxification in Clinical Practice.” Altern Ther Health & Med. (2015) May-Jun, 21(3), p 54-62. PMID: 26026145. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26026145

Wheelter, L. “Detox for Life: The Three Crucial Steps of the Detox Program.” Natural News.com Accessed on January 11, 2016. http://www.naturalnews.com/025899_detox_body_toxins.html

Jade, K. “Liver Detox Tea as Part of Your DIY New Year’s Detox Cleanse.” Natural Health Advisory Institute Online. Updated 1/1/2015. Accessed on January 11, 2016.

Lucille, Holly. “Do You Have a Toxic Workplace?” American Association of Naturopathic Physicians website. Accessed on January 11, 2016.
http://www.naturopathic.org/article_content.asp?article=777

Riordan Clinic. “Detox Cleansing to Remove Body Toxins.” Accessed on January 10, 2016.

Jockers, D. “Dry Brushing to Detoxify Your Body.” Natural News.com. Accessed on January 11, 2016. http://www.naturalnews.com/040615_dry_brushing_lymphatic_system_detox.html#

Dempster, John. “Top Five Daily Detox Tips that Work” Huffington Post. Accessed on January 6, 2016. http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/dr-john-dempster/detox-tips_b_6089736.html

Zeratsky, K. “Do Detox Diets Offer Any Health Benefits?” Mayo Clinic Online. Last updated March 2015. Accessed on January 11, 2016. http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/detox-diets/faq-20058040

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