Though a drink or two a day appears beneficial for heart disease prevention, this is not true for breast cancer prevention.
General Pritikin guidelines for women regarding alcohol drinking are no more than four drinks a week, but for women with a high risk of breast cancer, any alcohol consumption – even as little as a drink a day – may spell trouble.
In research by the National Cancer Institute, postmenopausal women who drank one or two drinks daily ended up with a 32% increased risk of breast cancer compared to nondrinkers, and those who put away three or more drinks daily saw their risk soar to 51%.
Does this mean no alcohol drinking whatsoever for high-risk women? Not necessarily. We all celebrate special occasions throughout the year, like New Year’s Eve and weddings. Having a drink or two during these festive events is not going to cause breast cancer. What will increase risk is day-in, day-out drinking.
You may be asking yourself, “But what if I have a high risk of breast cancer and heart disease?” If so, remember this: The Pritikin food and exercise plan, in and of itself – no alcohol added – dramatically reduces heart disease risk. It’s the Olympic Gold winner for good heart health. You’re at the top; adding alcohol doesn’t get you any higher.
If you want optimal protection against both breast cancer and a heart attack, you’ve made the right choice by adopting the Pritikin Program.
Always keep in mind, too, that 70% to 80% of breast cancer patients have no family history, which means that for most cases of breast cancer, our lifestyle choices are even more important than genetics in warding off this devastating disease.
So do take good care of yourself. More and more research is finding that healthy lifestyle changes can significantly lower breast cancer risk. Here are top guidelines:
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Eat a diet low in fat and other calorie-dense foods and high in whole, naturally-fiber-rich foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
- Exercise regularly.
- Carefully watch your alcohol intake.