Breasts are truly a wonder — they can nourish babies and boost their immune systems while also being an erogenous zone during physical intimacy. However, women often forget to care for their breasts, aside from wishing they were bigger or smaller. An ounce of preventative care can keep these multi-faceted organs at the peak of health for far longer.
1. Eat a Nutrient-Rich Diet
The food you eat impacts every aspect of your health — physical and mental. As such, your breasts will benefit from a diet rich in nutrients. Antioxidants, folate and curcumin are just a tiny sampling of beneficial nutrients. Certain foods can also help improve painful breast symptoms during your cycle. Try adding nuts, fish, avocados and spinach to your meals in your premenstrual phase. In general, eating a balanced diet focused on lean protein, fresh produce, whole grains and healthy fats will keep your body healthier — your breasts included.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
Weight gain is stressful for your breasts. The skin is fragile and will stretch easily, making you more prone to stretch marks and nasty sunburns. Also, as weight increases, so will breast mass, which can put a massive strain on posture and spinal health. High BMIs are also associated with an increased risk of developing health conditions — losing weight or maintaining a healthy one can reduce your risk over your lifetime.
One of the best ways to lower or maintain your BMI is to get plenty of movement. In addition, staying physically active has a preventative effect against many diseases. The National Health Service recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or a minimum of 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week. Try various activities like yoga, pilates, cardio and weight training to see what works best for you.
4. Get Regular Exams
Since one in eight ladies will experience breast cancer in their lifetime, you should make regular exams and mammograms a habit. These tests have come a long way in recent years. More advanced 3D mammogram machines are 40% more likely to catch cancer early than their predecessors.
5. Wear the Correct Bra Size
Only 10% of UK women wear the right bra size. Falling outside of this statistic means potential back pain and fashion faux pas. It can also lead to decreases in breast health. A bra that’s too tight may dig into your tissue and cause pain. One that’s too small allows for more bounce, leading to tenderness and stretching of the skin and tissue — underwire configurations exacerbate these problems. Do your breasts a favor and get measured before buying your next bra.
6. Try Some Self Care
Caring for your breast health is more than avoiding pain or cancer — you should care for them as you would the rest of your body. Use a lotion or body oil to keep them moisturized. When breastfeeding, you can use food-safe coconut oil since it’s safe for your baby and protects your nipples from damage. Lymphatic massage is also relatively easy to learn and can defend against many concerns like clogged milk ducts and lymphedema.
Know Your Breasts
The best way to boost breast health is simply to know your breasts. Frequent self-exams teach you their typical shape, size and how they feel. You should be aware of the size and color of your areolas and ensure the skin appears hydrated. This familiarity will prepare you to seek treatment early for anything unusual. Early detection — along with these other tips — will keep your breasts in better health.