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Breast health

General characteristics

General characteristics

Breasts begin their development in the womb and reach their full maturity with pregnancy and breast feeding. Research has shown that breast feeding is the culmination of their development and is the ultimate fulfillment of the function of breasts.
Breast tissues change naturally around the time of each menstruation under the influence of hormones and often become fuller, more lumpy and tender in preparation for pregnancy. This usually settles down with the passage of your period and the absence of pregnancy.
During pregnancy the milk ducts grow larger under the influence of hormones in readiness for milk production and breast feeding and the breasts and nipples become larger.
Around the mid to late 30's and on into the menopausal years the breast tissues begin to change again with the changes in hormone levels and the glandular tissue containing the milk ducts begins to diminish and be replaced with more fibrous tissue. The breast become less full and change shape, feeling softer and sometimes saggier.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

A diet based on a wide variety of unprocessed wholefoods is crucial to keep the breasts healthy. Foods rich in vitamin A, E and C and the minerals selenium and iodine are especially helpful as are unprocessed plant oils like flaxseed, linseed and evening primrose.

Foods from the cabbage family like brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, turnips, pak choy, broccoli and all leafy greens are excellent for breast health and contain the most nutrients that are helpful in preventing breast cancer.

Foods containing sulphur such as garlic, onions and leeks are also excellent protection against cancer.

Avoid or limit foods and products containing hormones. These include non-organic meat, animal milk generally (as it often contains oestrogens from the pregnant animal), hormonal medications and steroid medication.

Body fat also stores excess oestrogen and other hormones so try to get leaner through good diet and exercise.

Kelp and other seaweeds contain lots of iodine which is an important mineral for healthy breasts. It also helps with shedding excess weight so include a little in your weekly diet by adding a teaspoon or so to soups or herbal teas every few days.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

A daily cup of nettle and oatstraw tea (with red clover flowers added every few days) will improve blood and lymph flow to and from the breasts and help protect them from cancer by providing good quantities of vitamins and minerals. Add a little chickweed if you are experiencing lumps in the breasts and for its deep cleansing and dispersing effects.
Dandelion root is very good at keeping breasts healthy. It helps with inflamed or sore breasts, clears cysts and lymph blockages and helps protect against cancer. Take a teaspoon of tincture in water or juice daily.
Add a half teaspoon of turmeric to your daily herbal teas.
A few drops of blue flag tincture in water 3 times daily could help clear swollen lymph vessels in the breasts or armpit areas.
Cleavers tea will aslo have a similar lymph dredging effect. Add a few drops of figwort tincture to enhance the lymph clearing action.
Agnus castus can help to reduce painful or fibrocystic breasts.
Fenugreek seeds are renowned for promoting new breast tissue and for increasing size and fullness of the breasts.
Lady's mantle tea is an old but trusted remedy to increase the tone of breast tissue, often included in formulas for achieving fuller, firmer breasts or to lift them after breastfeeding is complete.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Gently massage your breasts, under armpits and chest area with a light oil such as almond or sunflower every few weeks in circular motions to familiarise yourself with how your breasts feel. There will be all sorts of lumps and bumps which are a normal part of breast tissue so you are looking for any unusual changes.
Stay active as long as possible with regular exercise.
Evening primrose oil taken for a week or so before your period is very effective in reducing breast tenderness around menstruation.
Make sure your regular bras fit correctly and do not pinch or cut into the breasts. Impairing the circulation to your breasts is an open invitation for problems and diseases.
Avoid using anti-perspirants especially if in a metal can. They block up the lymph glands in the armpit and reduce blood flow to the breasts and waste removal from them. They also introduce toxic aluminium into the body. Use deodorants in roll on form instead.

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