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Breast cancer prevention: 3 Simple lifestyle tips to reduce your risk

Karen Hawthorne is a health and lifestyle writer and producer in Toronto, Canada. Her work has appeared in print and online for publications including Glow, Homemakers, BestHealthMag.ca and the National Post.

3 Easy ways to prevent breast cancer

With breast cancer numbers on the rise, women need to take steps to improve their lifestyle to protect against the disease. Developing better habits doesn’t have to be complicated. Registered dietitian Elizabeth Ward, author of MyPlate for Moms: How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better, wants to spread the word about the impact of food and exercise in reducing the risk of breast cancer.

Woman wearing pink

Support Susan G. Komen for the Cure

For National Breast Cancer Awareness month, buying Eggland's Best eggs now through November 15 helps support the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. The eggs are stamped with the familiar pink ribbon logo – a reminder each time you're ready to crack a shell. Dietitian Elizabeth Ward partnered with the campaign to showcase how certain foods, including chicken and eggs, are excellent lean protein sources and contain plenty of nutrients to help you live a healthier lifestyle.

"I think there's so much information out there about what constitutes a healthy diet and what you should be doing in terms of exercise that it can become overwhelming, and if you're busy you might not have the time to wade through it," Ward says. Distilling advice into three simple tips, she wants women to embrace these changes and fight the rising number of women with breast cancer.

Here are her three simple lifestyle tips at the heart of her message.

3 Top tips to protect your breasts

1Make calories count by choosing nutrient-dense foods

Build your diet out of whole grains, seafood and lean protein sources such as chicken and fortified eggs.

Eating the right foods doesn't mean spending hours in the kitchen or making everything from scratch. Ward recognizes women lead hectic lives and need quick solutions: "You can do something as simple as go to the grocery store and get a rotisserie chicken that has already been cooked. Go to the frozen foods aisle, get a bag of mixed frozen vegetables and go pick up some crusty whole grain bread – and that is a meal."

If you have eggs on hand, you can make a meal in minutes – scrambled eggs, an omelette, French toast. Breakfast foods work at any time of day, and eggs are low in calories and high in protein and nutrients such as vitamin D.

Ward also hard-boils eggs at the beginning of the week for her go-to snack, combining an egg with some whole-grain crackers, fruit or vegetables. "I think snacks are great, but they should be mini meals, not meal wreckers," she says. "Always be thinking of a protein food and a carbohydrate food to put together."

2Eat lean protein to curb cravings

When planning your meals, incorporate high-quality lean protein into your diet to feel more satisfied in between meals and help reduce overall calorie intake.

"It's very important to build your meals around protein because protein helps to keep you fuller for longer," she says. Research has proven that eating protein such as eggs at breakfast will help you stay energized throughout the day and be less likely to give in to empty-calorie cravings.

Preliminary evidence also suggests that vitamin D and choline can help reduce the risk of breast cancer. Eggland's Best eggs contain twice the amount of vitamin D when compared to ordinary eggs, and contain 125 milligrams of choline, which is 25 percent of the daily adult requirement.

3Exercise for healthy weight control

Staying physically active for just 35 minutes a day will help with weight control, as well as help reduce risk of certain cancers, such as breast cancer.

How can busy people fit in 35 minutes? Break up your exercise time. "Get the exercise however you can – get out and take 10- or 15-minute walks," Ward advises. "Use a video at home or an active video game to get your exercise in. Do what you can, because all movement burns calories and will go towards controlling your weight better."

More on breast cancer

10 Risk factors for breast cancer
New drug for breast cancer: Fish oil?
The breast cancer-fighting kitchen

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