Healthy breasts are a big topic in women’s wellness, and for good reason. According to BreastCancer.org, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis in American women. An estimated 30% of all women’s cancer cases are breast-related!
While certain factors that contribute to your breast health are beyond your control, like genetics and family history, there are things you can do to support healthy breasts. Read on to learn more about how you can support breast health, plus some of the best supplements for breast health.
Let’s talk about breast wellness, and why healthy breasts are so important
When it comes to breast wellness, one of the most important things to know is that a lot of it comes down to hormones. More specifically in this case, it helps to have an understanding of your estrogen levels.
Estrogen is one of the primary sex hormones in females. Along with progesterone, estrogen helps regulate many of your most important biological processes and systems. Your brain, reproductive organs, bone density, and gastrointestinal system health are all estrogen dependent.
Unfortunately, when it comes to estrogen, more is not always better, especially when it comes to breast health. You also make different estrogen molecules, or analytes. Some of these are “bad” estrogens because they can spur uncontrolled growth of breast cells.
Your estrogen levels naturally fluctuate throughout your life. For example, your estrogen and progesterone go through a predictable pattern of increases and decreases throughout your menstrual cycle. Your estrogen levels also start to fluctuate (sometimes quite unpredictably) during perimenopause, a period when your sex hormones begin a slow decline to signal the end of your menstrual cycle. These changes in estrogen are normal.
For reasons that are not entirely clear, the ratios of “good” estrogens to “bad” vary widely from woman to woman. While poor ratios can cause problems at any time of life, breast cancer seems to develop most often around perimenopause and menopause. This could be due to having too little progesterone to balance estrogens.
How to boost your breast health
Your breast health depends on a ton of factors, not all of which are under your control. For example, certain inherited genes can increase your likelihood of developing breast cancer. Even so, there’s a lot you can do to boost breast health.
Some of the best ways that you can be proactive about your breast wellness include eating a healthy diet, staying active, and taking breast health supplements when necessary.
1. Take breast health supplements.
One of the most important vitamins for breast health is Vitamin D3. Recent studies found that deficiencies of this vitamin, which also happens to be a hormone, may increase the risk of breast cancer.
Breast health supplements might also help. The best are those providing DIM (di-indolylmethane). This potent nutrient is found in cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage, but to get the amounts research shows is helpful for breasts, you’ll need to eat a pound of these foods every day. That’s why it has become a popular supplement.
Researchers believe DIM supports breast health by metabolizing estrogens down a pathway called 2-methoxyestrogens. Science confirms that these estrogens may actually inhibit cancer cell growth.
2. Eat a breast-healthy diet.
In addition to adding breast health supplements to your daily regimen, it’s also well worth taking a look at your current eating patterns to ensure that you’re getting enough nutrients from whole foods first.
Some of the best foods for breast health include:
Broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, and other cruciferous vegetables, which all contain diindolylmethane, but also contain other compounds thought to help your body mount natural cancer defenses.
Cold-water fish like salmon and mackerel, which, along with being a great source of Vitamin D also contains omega-3s, the healthy fatty acids with anti-inflammatory properties. These essential fatty molecules may help boost your immune system and protect breast health.
Red/orange fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, grapefruits, and watermelon, which contain a profound breast support compound called lycopene.
Berries, which are great sources of antioxidant compounds that may help reduce inflammatory responses in the body and slow the progression of cancerous cells.
Green tea, another great source of antioxidant compounds. The antioxidants found in green tea, which are called catechins, have shown potential anti-cancer effects in numerous studies.
3. Stay active
Getting enough exercise may be critical for keeping your breasts (and the rest of your body) healthy throughout all stages of your life. A large 2020 study published in the British Journal of Cancer found that women who reported participating in greater physical activity showed fewer instances of breast cancer through both pre-menopause and post-menopause when compared to women who reported less physical activity.
In addition to all the many benefits that regular physical activity confers, it can also help manage your weight. Since studies show a positive association between high BMI (body mass index) and breast cancer risk, this is yet another tool in your breast support arsenal.
4. Be proactive.
One of the best ways to give your breast health a boost is to be proactive and get to know your “normal.”
If you aren’t already in the habit of it, make a point to give yourself breast self-exams regularly. This will help you get to know what your breasts normally look and feel like, thereby revealing any new lumps, knots, dimples, or swelling. Be sure to report any changes to your health care professional in a timely manner.
The bottom line
The human body is simply a marvel of perfect design. Its complexity is overwhelming. It makes sense, then, that so many different factors can contribute to your breast health or problems. Because it’s so hard to get all the best nutrients from foods alone, we strongly suggest supplements like Breast-D™!* And, yes, they’re as good for men as for women. The same nutrients that support breast health support prostate health in men.
By keeping a close eye on your breast health and living a healthy and balanced lifestyle, you can give your body the tools it needs for estrogen balance and overall wellness through all stages of your life.