​Supplements and Lifestyle Changes to Support Breast Health

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and I feel it’s vital to highlight the importance of breast health. Proper nutrition, supplementation, and lifestyle factors all play a huge part in supporting overall breast wellness.
 
The Mediterranean Diet has long been recommended as the guidepost for healthy eating. This eating plan is filled with fresh veggies and fruits, olive oil, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes, cheese, yogurt, whole grains, herbs and spices, and limited amounts of red wine and meat. Keeping sugar to a minimum is ideal, as sugar has been known to be inflammatory and to depress the immune system.
 
Antioxidant-filled foods and vitamin C-rich foods, such as deeply colored berries, dark green leafies, and others are incredibly important in our diet. Antioxidants work to protect cells from the effects of free radicals. One of the specific antioxidants, vitamin C, helps speed the production of new cells in wound healing, fight off infections, and produce anti-stress hormones.
 
Vitamin D is an immune system modulator, and more recent research is showing a connection between vitamin D levels and breast health. Some foods contain vitamin D, but rarely enough to sustain adequate levels. The amount of vitamin D3 required depends on the person. The best way to know how much vitamin D one needs is to have the levels checked at a health practitioner’s office or through an at-home Vitamin D Test Kit.
 
If you are one of those people who don’t like eating fish, a fish oil supplement would be very beneficial to take. The omega-3s EPA and DHA support a healthy, balanced immune response. Cod liver oil is a great choice with its naturally occurring vitamins A and D, which further work to assist the immune system.
 
If we don't eat zinc-rich foods regularly (fish, meat, poultry, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, kale, etc.) our stores may be depleted, and a zinc supplement would be beneficial. Zinc is another important nutrient that affects multiple aspects of the immune system. It's crucial for the normal development and function of cells mediating immunity.
 
Stress plays a major role in depressing our immune system. Ladies, when we are constantly on the go, and not taking care of ourselves properly, it can be very taxing on our immune system. Our bodies don’t know the difference between “good” stress and “bad” stress. Certain supplements can assist with this like GABA, L-theaninemagnesium, and B-vitamins, and we can’t leave out the importance of lifestyle changes too. 
 
Getting enough rest and exercise are crucial for overall health and wellness. Other de-stressing techniques for immune health include yoga, meditation, and deep breathing. Choose one or more that can be easily added into your day.
 
Many of the foods, supplements, and lifestyle changes mentioned have been found in one way or another to be beneficial with overall health, wellness, and immunity as well as breast health. Simply try incorporating a few of these into your daily routine to start, and then add in more when you are ready to tackle more changes. Keep it simple and don’t stress!