October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month in South Africa. Here at BodiCafé women’s health is our priority this month as well as every month of the year!
Women lead busy lives, and it is often easy to forget to check in on oneself from time to time. The role women play in society varies from student, to stay-at-home parent, to career person, and sometimes juggling all three!
It is every woman’s right to be informed on how to best care for their health. It is as pertinent a time as any to attend regular check-ups and screenings as early detection could save a life.
While there is currently no cancer cure, there are ways to reduce your risk and recognize symptomatic patterns. The Cancer Association of South Africa encourages leading a balanced lifestyle and cutting out certain lifestyle habits that may increase your risk.
Understanding one’s body and its unique needs is the key to:
1. Reducing the risk of disease
2. Knowing how to detect the symptoms of disease and
3. Living a fulfilled and long life!
Please keep in mind that while BodiCafé is able to provide general lifestyle advice which may assist in reducing your risk of getting breast cancer, we strongly advise that you first seek medical advice from a trusted practitioner before attempting any alternative remedies.
Hippocrates, the ‘father’ of medicine, provided us with wise yet simple advice when he said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine your food,”. The human body is a system and as with any system, each part is dependent on what it is fuelled by to ensure optimum functionality. Food may provide our bodies with the energy to boost our immune system and cleanse our system or contribute to toxic build-up. Whilst there are no proven cancer-preventing or healing foods, our bodies do reflect what they are fuelled by.
Highly processed foods (yes, that includes vegan fast food!) are taxing on the system and frequent consumption thereof slows down the body’s ability to digest food and detox itself. This may lead to toxic build-up of free radicals which damage and mutate healthy cells. When the body is under this kind of stress, hormonal imbalances may trigger genetic predispositions to cancer as there is little defence against it.
It is best to consume foods that our grandparents would recognise (Matthews, 2007). Fruit, leafy greens, root vegetables and legumes in their whole form are all high in antioxidants. This means that they do not allow free radicals to oxidise and grow in the body. These foods fuel your system to protect your cells, allowing you to feel healthier and energised.
“Time and health are two precious assets that we don’t recognize and appreciate until they have been depleted,” – Denis Waitley (Brainy Quote).
It is difficult to practice mindful lifestyle habits in such a fast-paced world. But it is possible! We may think there is no time for health until we must make time for disease.
Alcohol consumption, lack of exercise and a poor diet are a recipe for disease.
Employ pantry staples and food prep as your friend in your journey towards health. Legumes and whole grains can provide a healthy base for your meals. Whole foods assist in keeping you fuller for longer, thus reducing the need to snack on empty carbs throughout the day.
Exercise your body in a way that best suits you. Avoid over-exertion. The focus should not be on appearance but internal wellness. Provide your body with true nourishment and regular movement and it will thank you in return.
Alcohol (an oestrogen-increasing and cell damaging agent) should be eliminated.
Fresh water, regular exercise and enough rest must all be a part of your lifestyle activities.
Medical examinations and check-ups are essential in establishing professional insight into our health. Annual check-ups and screenings are necessary and have led to early detection and treatment.
However, each bodily system is unique (isn’t that awesome?), and because of this we know our own bodies best. We know our unique symptoms just before we fall ill, we know what foods we like and dislike and most importantly we know how to recognize abnormalities. Inform yourself on how to examine your breasts and understand symptoms of cancer formation. Do research on the pertinent breast areas to be examined and the appearance and areas in which lumps may develop. Take note of any abnormalities or concerns that should then be shared with your physician.
We trust that these simple tips may assist and inform your lifestyle choices with the help of your medical practitioner. Be informed to stay healthy!
Brainy Quote. (n.d.). Denis Waitley Quotes. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from Brainy Quote: https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/denis_waitley_146927
Cancer Association of South Africa. (2020, October 14). Women's Health. Retrieved from CANSA: https://cansa.org.za/womens-health/
Matthews, C. (2007, December 30). Just eat what your great-grandma ate. Retrieved from MICHAEL POLLAN: https://michaelpollan.com/reviews/just-eat-what-your-great-grandma-ate/