10 Steps to Optimize Health During Breast Cancer Remission

Heal Your Gut

​Health begins in the gut. Having a healthy gut lowers your risk of breast cancer by lowering estrogen dominance, which promotes breast cancer cell growth. A healthy gut is able to metabolize and eliminate toxic estrogen, lowering estrogen in fat and breast cells.  Good gut bacteria are essential for gut health.  Having “bad” intestinal bacteria increases cancer risk. Some intestinal bacteria have an enzyme that interferes with the elimination of estrogen, allowing it to re-enter circulation. Eating foods that feed your good gut bacteria (whole, plant based and fermented foods) and eliminating foods that feed your bad gut bacteria (refined sugar, highly processed, junk & fast foods), identifying and removing food allergens, and taking digestive enzymes and the right probiotics is key to optimal gut health.

Eat a Plant Based Diet

A plant-based diet is anti-inflammatory, low glycemic and rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients.Phytonutrients are plant compounds that fight disease and cancer.  Fat and cholesterol found in meat and dairy products have cancer-fueling estrogenic effects onbreast cancer so eating a plant-based diet will help lower cholesterol, which feeds breast cancer, and the risk of breast cancer.Eating a plant-based diet and getting the animal foods out of your diet will also help reduce hormones by eliminating excess estrogens (from pregnant cows) in the diet. Also, research shows that as many as 37% of breast cancer cases may be attributable to Bovine Leukemia Virus found in cows. The risk of dying from breast cancer has been found to increase by 49% in women who eat high fat dairy products every day. Women who avoid meat and dairy products can dramatically lower their risk of breast cancer and recurrence. If you’d like to learn more about how to cook and eat a plant-based diet, email me at info@brandifunk.com for more information.

Eat More Cancer Fighting Foods

You have the power to fight breast cancer recurrence with your daily food and drink choices!  Below you will find a list of proven cancer fighting foods that should be included in your daily diet.

Green tea with lemon – contains Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). 3 cups a day has shown to drop breast cancer recurrence up to 47%.  Adding lemon boosts EGCG content by 5-fold.

Broccoli – contains sulforaphanewhich inhibits breast cancer growth.

Broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower – Contain indole 3 carbinols which lower estrogen.

Turmeric– contains curcumin which lowers inflammation and

Ginger – contains gingerol which inhibits breast cancer growth.

Spicy Peppers– contains capsaicin which inhibits breast cancer growth.

Soybeans –contain genistein and isoflavones which decreases estrogen levels. 2-3 servings daily can lower breast cancer recurrence by 60%.

Red grapes – contain resveratrol, a bioflavonoidwhich inhibits breast cancer growth.

Pomegranate - Contain six compounds that may prevent breast cancer growth by blocking aromatase, an enzyme known to play a key role in most breast cancers.

Blueberries –shown to kill breast cancer cells

Cloves – contain Eugenol which inhibits breast cancer growth

Flax seeds (ground, 1 tsp daily), seeds, whole grains and beans – contain insoluble fiber and lignans which increases elimination of estrogen from gut and liver and reduces breast cancer risk and recurrence and increases overall breast cancer survival.

​Exercise Regularly

​Exercise can help improve breast cancer prognosis. Sadly, research shows that 35% of breast cancer survivors remain physically inactive for 5 years after diagnosis. Exercise lowers fasting insulin levels in breast cancer survivors, which helps lower breast cancer recurrence. Moderate, regular physical activity helps immune system function by raising levels of infection-fighting white blood cells and antibodies, increasing circulation, and decreasing stress hormones, all which lower breast cancer risk and recurrence. To reap the health benefits of exercise, aim for 150 min of exercise weekly. Walking, running, biking, dancing, yoga and weight training at home or at the gym are great examples. If these are too much, start with daily stretching for 20 minutes.

​​Maintain a Healthy Weight

​​Many mechanisms such as inflammation, insulin resistance, insulin like growth factors, increased estrogen and adipokines, link obesity to breast cancer. Excess body weight also increases the risk of developing a second primary malignancy in breast cancer survivors.

In both pre- and postmenopausal women, being obese increases chances of poor final outcome. In premenopausal women with breast cancer, those with the highest BMI were 2.5 x more likely to die of breast cancer within 5 years of diagnosis than those with lower BMI. Maintaining a healthy weight can be best achieved through eating a plant-based diet, regular exercise, stress reduction, adequate sleep and the elimination of food allergens and toxins.

​​​Detox Your Life

​​​​We are constantly exposed to a wide range of toxins and carcinogens every day causing serious health concerns, including cancer. These toxins and carcinogens are found in pollutants in our air, environment, food, food packaging, store receipts, water, cookware, cleaners, in our homes and personal care products, and cosmetics. Toxins can also be found in the mouth or oral cavity and bone in the form of mercury and anaerobic bacteria in cavitations (chronic bone infection in jawbone from root canals and tooth extraction). Repeated exposure to toxins is related to an increased risk of breast cancer.Numerous synthetic chemicals, called “xenoestrogens,” act like estrogen in our bodies, including common weed killers and pesticides, plastic additives or by-products. There are many things women can do to reduce their exposure to breast carcinogens, including:

Limit exposure to fumes from gasoline.
Limitexposure to exhaust from vehicles.

​Use a ventilation fan when cooking and reduce consumption of charred or burned food.
Don’t use non-stick cookware or products made with Teflon.
Avoid stain-resistant rugs, fabrics and furniture.
Don’t buy furniture with polyurethane foam; or ask for foam not treated with flame retardants.
Use a carbon drinking water filter.
Stop using plastic and plastic-lined cans which contain BPA, a harmful chemical.
Avoid eating processed and charred meat.
Avoid eating fish which contain mercury and other toxins.
Remove shoes at the door, use a vacuum with a HEPA filter and clean with wet rags and mops to reduce exposure to chemicals in house dust.
Decline to take store receipts, which are coated with BPA.
Buy organic fruits and vegetables.
Use clean, organic personal care products and cosmetics. Learn more at  ​
Choose safer cleaning products at EWG’s Guide to Healthy Cleaning.
Safely remove mercury (silver amalgam) fillings in teeth.
Find a biological dentist who can screen for and cleanoral cavitations at ​​https://iabdm.org/location/

​​​​Reduce or Eliminate Alcohol Intake

​​​​​I know this is very unpopular to say. I meet many women who do not want to give up their wine, etc. but the fact is, women who consume alcohol regularly have an increased risk for breast cancer. In fact, alcohol in any amount increases all cancer risk. Yes, drinking alcohol may help prevent cardiovascular disease but so does exercise and eating a plant-based diet. Reducing or eliminating alcohol is critical to prevent breast cancer recurrence. Enough said.

​​​​​Decrease Cellular Inflammation

​​​​​​Inflammation is part of the body’s natural defense mechanismdesigned to heal injuries and defend the body against foreign invaders but when inflammation goes on too long or becomes chronic it can have negative, damaging effects on health. Chronic inflammation could be why your joints hurt and why you can’t lose weight.  Chronic inflammation may be associated with increased risk of breast cancer recurrence as it increases estrogen and insulin levels in the body and promotes tumor growth and metastasis.

Inflammation is caused by obesity, gut barrier dysfunction, bad gut bacteria, stress, a diet high in saturated fats, processed sugar, alcohol, and processed carbohydrates, high blood sugar, toxins, foodallergens/sensitivities, and poor sleep quality. Chronic inflammation can be measured by a blood test through a health care provider.

You can control cellular inflammation by eating a whole food, plant-based diet full of anti-inflammatory foods, reducing stress, exercising, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling your blood sugar, and getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

Foods that help lower inflammation include, pomegranate, grapes, celery, blueberries, garlic, green tea and some spices (ginger, rosemary and turmeric).

​​​​​​Balance Your Hormones

About 60% of breast cancers are hormone dependent.Hormones such as insulin and estrogen greatly influence cancer growth. Insulin is a growth promoting hormone and insulin resistance is associated with increased risk of breast cancer recurrence.Estrogen fuels about 80% of breast cancers. Eating an organic, whole food plant-based diet, exercising, getting good quality sleep each night, reducing exposure to toxins, and maintaining an ideal body weight willreduce insulin resistance and overproduction of estrogen in fat cells, reducing your risk of breast cancer recurrence.

​​​​​​​Get at least 7-9 hours of Sleep Each Night

​Sleep has a powerful effect on immune function and inflammatory signals. A lack of sleep is linked many cancers, including breast cancer. After just one night of only four or five hours of sleep, your natural killer cells, the ones that attack the cancer cells that appear in your body every day, drop by 70%. Also, when you don’t get enough sleep, you are susceptible to weight gain.Sleep is an active process where your body and brain are cleansed and inflammation is reduced, lower your risk for cancer, obesity, and other diseases.

Tips for good sleep include:

Go to bed and waking up at the same time each day.
Keep a dark and device free room for sleep.
Lower bedroom temperature to 65-67 degrees for sleep
Don’t stay awake in bed if you can’t sleep. Get up, leave the room and read or do something else.
Avoid taking sleeping pills. These are sedatives that don’t promote sleep and have side effects.
Avoid caffeine after 2 pm and alcohol before bed.
Get help from a therapist to help with issues that may be interfering with good sleep.