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5 Ways to Reduce Your Breast Cancer Risk in the New Year
Follow these research-backed tips to maintain a healthy lifestyle in 2020 and beyond.
A New Year’s resolution may be hard to keep – especially when it comes to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Fortunately, when it comes to lowering your risk of developing breast cancer, there are a number of simple ways to protect yourself. While it’s true that some of the factors that contribute to your individual risk of the disease are out of your control—such as genetics, family history, race, and ethnicity—the lifestyle choices you make play a pivotal role in prevention as well.
We recently spoke with BCRF researcher Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard Medical School. As a global leader who focuses on the intersection of diet, lifestyle and health, his research is aimed at characterizing the impact of diet and lifestyle on health outcomes, especially in relation to breast cancer risk.
To start lowering your risk of breast cancer today, below are his research-backed tips to take into consideration in the new year:
Maintain a healthy weight. Putting on a lot of extra pounds in the early stages of adulthood nearly doubles your chance of developing breast cancer after menopause. But if you’re able to avoid gaining weight, your risk is cut in half.
Eat less red meat. High consumption of red meat is related to a greater risk of developing breast cancer. Aim to consume more plant-based sources of protein, such as beans, nuts, and quinoa.
Serve more fruit and vegetables. Lower intake of fruits and vegetables is associated with breast cancer, particularly estrogen receptor (ER)-negative breast cancer. The USDA dietary guidelines recommend consuming 2 cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables each day.
Limit alcohol. Even moderate alcohol consumption—defined as up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks a day for men—is associated with breast cancer.
Quit smoking. Make 2020 the year you finally kick cigarettes for good: Several studies have demonstrated a link between smoking and an increased risk of developing breast cancer.