What’s Your Bone Density?

bone density Aug 21, 2019

An often-overlooked part of managing our maturing bodies is keeping our bones strong and healthy. This is especially important for breast cancer survivors since some of the medications you take can weaken your bones. In this week’s post we’ll cover the causes of bone loss, who is at risk, and what you can do to keep your bones strong.

 

The most common cause of bone loss is surviving past the age of 30. That’s right.  Bone loss is a normal part of aging.  As you grow your bone is constantly going through a process called remodeling which involves destroying and building bone. This process continues throughout life. Before the age of 30, you make more bone than you break down, and after the age of 30, you break down more bone than you make.

 

Since surviving past 30 is generally a good thing, what are some of the causes of bone loss that we might actually want to change? Here are some things that impact bone health that you have control over:

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Which is Better to Fight Breast Cancer: Broccoli, IC3, or DIM?

We all know that eating vegetables is a healthy thing to do and can help prevent a lot of diseases including cancer.  But are there some vegetables that are better than others at preventing cancer, and are some of these vegetables better at preventing breast cancer specifically?

Well, broccoli is one of those veggies that has been promoted as preventing breast cancer as a member of the cruciferous vegetable family. And there’s actually research to back that up.

This group of vegetables has been looked at for cancer prevention because some of the compounds in these veggies have very interesting anti-cancer activities.  In fact, there are even a couple of nutritional supplements that have been developed from these compounds that are being used by some women for breast cancer prevention.  I’ll talk about the wisdom of that choice in just a bit.

First, what are cruciferous vegetables?  They include this list of veggies which you can see includes some of...

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Why You Don't Know What to Eat

Why is it that no one seems to have a straight answer on what to eat?

 

We know that good nutrition and good health are inextricably linked. What we eat directly influences our health, our weight, and our future. Wouldn’t you think that the health care providers, the media, the weight loss experts, the diabetes experts, the heart health experts, and so many more...wouldn’t you think that they could all agree on what’s healthy and what’s not??

 

Though it may be hard to believe, it’s just not that simple. Here’s why.

 

Most of the confusion comes from how we actually conduct nutritional studies. A lot of nutritional studies are what we call observational.  Basically, researchers observe what people eat and compare their health outcomes. The gold standard of research is a randomized controlled trial where you control the variables that could have an impact on the outcome and randomize subjects to a treatment group or a control...

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Eating Awareness

Tell me if you’ve ever done this:

 

Ate your entire dinner while standing at the kitchen sink…

Ate in front of the TV, in your car, at your desk, while holding your phone in one hand…

Looked down at the empty bowl in your lap and wonder who ate all of your popcorn/chips/pretzels…

Didn’t dirty a single dish for dinner because you ate your meal from a container…

 

You get the picture, right?

 

Most of us would benefit from a practice that I call “eating awareness”. I am not asking you to meditate while eating or roll a raisin in your mouth for 5 minutes (although that is a mindfulness exercise that is really beneficial). I would just like to get us all to slow down and be aware of what we are stuffing in our mouths.

 

Here are some of the tips you can use to become more aware of what you are eating. This will let you enjoy your food more and probably lead you to consuming less. Yes, this could even lead to a...

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Can Breast Thermography Replace Mammograms?

Don’t you just love mammograms? The comfort, the privacy, the instant and clear results? All so much fun right?

 

Isn’t there a better way?

 

I often get asked if there are any options other than a mammogram for breast cancer screening or follow-up. One of those options that you may have heard about is breast thermography. In this post I’ll discuss what breast thermography is, how effective it is at picking up breast cancer, and whether or not it can replace the incredibly enjoyable mammogram.

 

Thermography or thermal imaging is supposed to detect differences in temperature on the surface of the breast at the skin. The idea is that since cancer cells are so metabolically active, dividing rapidly, and may have more blood flow than surrounding tissues, they are generating heat that can be detected on the skin of the breast by one of these devices.

 

This idea has been around for a long time and makes sense on some level. After all, we have...

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What to Do About Hot Flashes

hot flashes May 08, 2019

One of the most distressing things about going through breast cancer treatment can be the onset of menopause and the hot flashes that go with it. In this post I'll give you some helpful tips on dealing with hot flashes and avoiding triggers.

What exactly are hot flashes?

If you have had a hot flash then I don’t have to tell you what they feel like.  But for some of you, they are something you still have to look forward to, so let me explain what they feel like.  Most women describe a sudden feeling of warmth in their face, neck and chest associated with intense sweating and then sometimes chills.  Your heart rate can increase, and you may feel it “fluttering” (called a palpitation). You may feel tingling in your fingers or even light headed.  Some women have one a month, others have one every hour.

They are thought to be due to the changes in reproductive hormones associated with menopause, especially a drop in estrogen.  In women with...

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Three Things Meditation Can Do for Breast Cancer Survivors

Uncategorized Aug 21, 2018

You’ve no doubt heard that meditation can benefit your overall health, but did you know that there are some very specific benefits of meditation for breast cancer survivors?  This post covers research about three common problems that breast cancer survivors face and how meditation can help alleviate those problems.  The three problems that I am going to touch on are anxiety/depression, sleep disturbances, and hot flashes.

 

Let’s begin with how investigators commonly teach and utilize meditation in research studies.  One of the methods they use to teach meditation is called Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction or MBSR.  This program was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn at University of Massachusetts and has been widely used as a meditation training program across the US.  Using it provides a similar structure to the meditation instruction that participants get across studies.  But it is certainly not the only way to learn meditation.

 

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Is Stevia a Healthy Choice?

natural sweeteners stevia Aug 07, 2018

If you are one of those health-conscious consumers who has mindfully switched from pink or blue packets of sweetener to the more natural choice, stevia…we need to talk.

 

First, what is stevia anyhow?  Stevia is a sweetener made in a lab but starting with a plant.  The pink and blue stuff is also made in a lab but starting with…umm…not a plant.  So in this regard, stevia is “natural”. 

 

Stevia belongs to a group of products known as nonnutritive sweeteners. It is pretty new to this club so we don’t have a long track record of its use in the US.  In the US, pure stevia extracts (those made in the lab) are considered by the FDA as GRAS (which stands for generally recognized as safe).  There is some nitpickiness at the FDA differentiating whole leaf stevia extracts (which may have some serious effects on blood sugar, blood pressure, and the kidneys) and “high-purity steviol glycosides”, and it...

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How to Pick a Healthy Yogurt (and Why You Should)

dairy yogurt Jul 31, 2018

Yogurt has become a staple in a lot of homes in the past several years.  Moms view it as a healthy snack for kids.  So much so that the food industry came up with a variety of kid and lunch box friendly packaging ideas.  And then there are the folks who eat yogurt to lose weight usually leaning toward the low-fat, fruit flavored varieties.  And then there are the health-conscious Whole Foods shoppers who lean toward the Greek yogurt varieties. 

 

Even if you don’t fit one of these categories, there are some things you should know about yogurt if you are trying to be healthy (and who out there doesn’t want to be a little healthier). 

 

Real yogurt is made when fresh milk is fermented by adding bacteria to it.  Don’t get grossed out.  Those bacteria are really good for us.  The bacteria eat up the sugar in milk (lactose) and convert it to lactic acid which gives yogurt that tangy flavor and thickens the...

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The Alkaline Diet for Cancer

alkaline diet Jul 24, 2018

“Breast cancer patients need to be on an alkaline diet”. 

 

I know you’ve heard it.

 

Unfortunately, an “alkaline diet” just doesn’t make any physiologic sense. The body just doesn’t work in a way that the proponents of this diet says it does.  There are two assertions about the rationale for the diet that just are not true.

 

The first misconception is that cancer cells thrive in an acidic environment.  Cancer cells exist in an acidic environment, but they don’t thrive there.  They don’t like it any more than a regular cell would.  The reason they exist in an acidic environment is that they create that environment.  This is because they grow so fast and uncontrollably.  Which means that they outgrow their blood and nutrient supply quickly.  Which also means that they have no way to clear the waste they produce through their metabolism (which is acidic).  So, cancer...

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