28 December, 2023

2023 is coming to an end. What have been your highlights? Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for 2024 yet?

Over the festive season, we’re allowed to overindulge a little. When the New Year rolls around, we all get carried away and make big New Year’s resolutions that end by the middle of January.

So, this year, don’t set yourself up to fail. Set yourself the goal of making simple swaps to help you along your breast cancer prevention journey. Breast cancer affects everyone, but the choices you make in your life can influence your level of breast cancer risk:

  • Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Being active for at least 150 minutes per week
  • Reducing your exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs)
  • Limiting your consumption of alcohol

Forming simple, healthy and easy-to-maintain habits can ensure you take all the necessary steps to prevent breast cancer and benefit your overall health. Keep reading to discover how to make those first steps into a daily routine.

Diet and weight 

We know the festive season is still here, but watching what you eat is critical to maintaining a healthy diet and weight. By making better food choices, you can reduce your risk of developing breast cancer. Simple, easy swaps are an excellent way to incorporate healthy eating into your diet. For example:

  • Add some fruit to your breakfast – whether it’s with porridge, yoghurt, cereal or toast – to get your five a day. Try different fruits; diversity is key. Fruits are full of vitamins, minerals and fibre, and are an important part of a balanced diet.
  • Choose wholemeal pasta, grains and bread to increase the amount of fibre you get. Fibre aids digestion, helps you feel fuller for longer and is good for your gut.
  • Instead of crisps, try popcorn, raisins, rice cakes, fruit loaf, or nuts as a healthy but tasty snack. Snacks can help you reach your next meal without feeling too hungry and can reduce your chance of overeating during a meal. These simple swaps mean your snacks contribute extra valuable nutrients like vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre.
  • Add an extra portion of vegetables to your plate during lunch and dinner. An extra portion of vegetables can help you reach your 5 a day and provide the nutrients you need to stay healthy.
  • Reduced-salt and reduced-sugar versions of sauces. You’ll hardly notice the difference! Eating less salt can reduce your risk of high blood pressure, and eating less sugar reduces the amount of calories in your diet, reducing your risk of unhealthy weight gain.
  • Try replacing red meat with legumes, like beans, chickpeas or lentils, in meals such as soups, stews or curries. It’s recommended to reduce the amount of red meat we eat for our health and replace it with legumes, for example, increases your fibre intake, which can be a great option to support your health.

Exercise

Being active can reduce your risk of breast cancer by around 20%, but pushing yourself too far into a set routine can put you off exercising. We encourage taking it slow and steady to build a routine. Don’t go all guns blazing into the gym for hours because this is not doing you or your body any good by pushing yourself too hard. Why not try for 2024:

  • Doing 10 minutes of exercising and increasing by 5 minutes each time you exercise to build up stamina.
  • Incorporate daily movement into your daily routine (take the stairs instead of the lift, for example).
  • Buddy up so you can encourage each other to keep going.

Harmful chemicals

Many of the chemicals found in everyday products and the environment affect your risk of breast cancer. These are known as Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDCs). They can be found in everyday products, such as cosmetics, beauty, and cleaning products.

Still, you can reduce your exposure by making informed decisions on the products you buy and use. Where do you start?:

  • Educate yourself first and foremost. Download our ‘A guide to EDCs: how to reduce your breast cancer risk’.
  • Download the phone app ‘Yuka’ to scan your current products so you can make informed choices on the products you buy.
  • Instead of changing everything at once – when a product you use runs out, replace it with a safer EDC-free version.
  • Use natural cleaning products; if needed, use fewer cleaning products in smaller amounts and less often – hot soap and water are usually enough for good household hygiene.

Alcohol

Drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer in women, and heavy drinking increases the risk in men. The festive season is when most people indulge in a drink or two, so no one expects you to just stop at the flick of a switch. But simple swaps and changes can help you lower your alcohol consumption in 2024. We encourage you to:

  • Drink in moderation; as a minimum, do not exceed UK government guidelines of no more than 14 units of alcohol per week. The less you drink, the less you are at risk.
  • Swap out some drinks for alcohol-free options, mocktails or soft drinks.
  • Communicate with family and friends to ensure there are no questions or pressure on you to drink.

By understanding your breast cancer risk and taking small, impactful lifestyle changes, you can prevent breast cancer. There are some breast cancer risk factors you can’t change, but by taking control over the ones you can, you will live an overall healthier life.

2024 is the time for healthy living, and you have what it takes to get there. Take the first step and download our Weekly Wellness Planner to push you in the right direction and keep you motivated.

Happy 2024, and thank you for your dedicated and vital support.



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