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Natural Tips for Better Breast Health
Most women know the agony of breast tenderness in those few days before PMS, but very few think about how to fix this issue. We are just told it’s a normal part of being a woman, and that some get it but others don’t. There are many reasons why we can suffer from breast tenderness- build-up of toxins, a sluggish lymph system, nutritional deficiencies, genetics (very small chance though, considering the environmental factors we know about) and bras that are too tight. I’ve gathered a list of the best tips to help support breast health, whether you are preventing or reversing an issue.
Bras and Breast Health
I’m sure most people have seen recent studies about how bras can actually cause breast cancer. Bras that are too tight or ill-fitting can reduce circulation to the breast. Healthy.net had an amazing article about preventing and treating Breast Cancer and had this quote:
“Over 85 percent of the lymph fluid flowing from the breast drains to the armpit lymph nodes. Most of the rest drains to the nodes along the breast bone. Bras and other external tight clothing can impede flow. The nature of the bra, the tightness, and the length of time worn, will all influence the degree of blockage of lymphatic drainage.Thus, wearing a bra might contribute to the development of breast cancer as a result of cutting off lymphatic drainage, so that toxic chemicals are trapped in the breast. “
So- Finding bras that fit correctly is essential. If it’s possibly, go without them as much as possibly. Wear camisoles with light support when you are home, do not wear a bra to bed, and limit the amount of time you wear one when you have to. I found these awesome Coobie Bras that can comfortably fit women of sizes 32A to 36D! If you can find them, 100% cotton bras with no wires are even better.
Toxins and Breast Health
It’s pretty impossible to stay away from ALL toxins, but we can do our best. Avoiding plastic containers and cups, limiting the amount of OTC or pharmaceutical drugs you use, using natural deodorants and other beauty products, and using a good water filter helps to eliminate a huge amount of the toxins we come into contact with on a daily basis. Earthley is a great place to start to find toxin free skin care items.
The worst offenders to stay away from are probably the most common, and they tend to lurk in our beauty products.
These chemicals are cancer causing, hormone disrupting (especially causing infertility), and skin irritants. The skin is the largest organ in our bodies and using these harsh products on our skin daily is truly wreaking havoc for our health.
Here are some of the most common chemicals:
1) BHA and BHT are synthetic antioxidants used as preservatives in lipsticks and moisturizers. They are also used in food products (a lot of them!! Think crackers, chips, and processed meats).
BHA is a probable carcinogen and has been shown to mess with hormone function.
BHT is also a hormone disruptor, as well as promoting tumor growth and has been shown to be extremely toxic to rats.
Both of these have been shown to have negative effects on hormones, especially reproductive hormones in both women and men.
2) Anything you can’t pronounce is probably something you shouldn’t be consuming or putting on your skin. P-phenylenediamine would be an example. This is a coal-tar dye used in hair dyes. It is derived from petroleum. Coal-tar is a recognized carcinogen to humans and yet most colored cosmetics contain it. This is why when you dye your hair, there is that crazy warning that no one ever reads about how you shouldn’t use it longer than it says to and if you get it near your eyes, it could cause blindness.
3) Parabens are one of the most widely used ingredients in cosmetics. You may actually be seeing now that some products claim to be “paraben free!” on their labels. Parabens are easily absorbed into your skin and they are known to mimic estrogen! There is a strong link between parabens and breast cancer because of the effects it has on humans.
4) One of the worst preservatives you’ll see are PEGs. PEGs stands for polyethylene glycols. I see glycols everywhere. The most common one I see is propylene glycol. I have seen this ingredient not only in lotions and other cosmetics but also in multiple food products and antifreeze. Now, why the heck is something that is in antifreeze in our food?? That scares me because unless you are truly reading all ingredients in everything, you have no idea what kind of poison you can be ingesting! PEGs are also known carcinogens and it is more than likely you are getting at least a dose of it through the day between food and cosmetics.
Detoxification and Breast Health
As I mentioned before, lymph flow is crucial for breast health. The liver and the lymph go hand in hand when it comes to detoxification. Dry brushing and rebounding are 2 of the best exercises to help with lymph flow.
Castor oil packs are also an amazing help for detoxing the breast tissue. For anyone that suffers with Breast tenderness and lumpiness, inflammation, pain, lumps, cysts and calcifications, castor oil packs applied to the breasts three times per week for one hour, over two or three months, castor oil packs often eliminate breast pain, particularly if there is swelling of breast tissue. A maintenance program of once per week thereafter is recommended.
You can also do breast massages which will help increase circulation. Here is a great resource from Susun Weed for oils that can help with this. Using chickweed as an infusion or tincture can help with dissolving breast cysts and lumps too. (source)
Gua sha is also an amazing modality to use for lymph health. I love Wildling Beauty as they have many high quality gua sha tools and amazing instructions on how to use them properly.
This Lymphatic Cream from Earthley is also amazing for topical lymph support!
Nutrients Needed for Breast Health
Vitamin D, iodine, magnesium, copper, vitamin A and Vitamin C are ALL essential for breast health. Click on the nutrient to read their whole posts! It isn’t as easy as just popping pills when it comes to supplementation. BreastCancerChoices.org has a lot of great information about iodine and breast cancer.
Good fats like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and full-fat dairy, controlling blood sugar, and healthy proteins are essential for all health. Eating as close to a whole foods, Organic diet is ideal. But again- do the best you can! Aim for buying higher quality meat and dairy, and for product stick to the dirty dozen and clean 15. Herbal infusions like Red Clover and Nettles can be great additions to filling nutrient gaps in your diet. Red Clover is well-known for being a breast health helper.
Sleep and Breast Health
This is the most underestimated healer out there. We just need sleep! It’s not just because it keeps us happy- it helps us regenerate and heal, as well as helping us to eliminate toxins. If we are always on the go during the day and we aren’t sleeping enough at night, we simply cannot function well. The first part of ANY healing plan should be to evaluate your sleep. If you aren’t getting enough because of your schedule, then it is time to cut down on things to take care of yourself no matter how hard this might be. “You cannot pour from an empty cup.” If you are healing from any illness, you have to focus on yourself as much as you can in order to truly heal. This may be hard for a lot of people but it is crucial!
If you having any trouble sleeping, there are a variety of reasons why this could be happening. Read my post on how to bust insomnia here.
This one is kind of obvious- we need sleep to heal from everything!
If you feel breast lumps, or you are not sure, always go get checked by a doc! At least if you can get a confirmation on what the lumps are, you will be able to have options on how you want to treat yourself.