1. Breast cancer runs in the family. What can I do to reduce my risk?
You can't control your genes but the American Cancer Society says 1/3 of cancers can be prevented if you stop smoking and another ½ prevented with improved diet and exercise. Experts say the number one thing you need to do is maintain a healthy weight.
Fat cells make estrogen and estrogen promotes the growth of most breast cancers. Also as you become heavier, the insulin in your blood goes up. And insulin promotes tumors. In one study, women with higher insulin levels were 2 ½ times more likely to develop breast cancer than women with low levels.
The second tip is to minimize how much alcohol you drink. Drinking alcohol regularly, like the glass of wine with dinner, raises breast cancer risk slightly. Some studies show you may negate the effect of alcohol by taking a multi- vitamin with the B vitamin folate.
Initial studies show vitamin D may also reduce breast cancer risk. We have had a sunny winter but still here in New England we don't get enough sun for most of us to make vitamin D. Have your doctor check your blood vitamin D so you know if you need a supplement and how much to take.
Finally, initial studies say we may reduce breast cancer risk with beta-carotene. Be sure to eat an orange colored or dark leafy greens plant like carrots or spinach each day.
2. How accurate are the calorie counts on fitness machines?
Josh via the Internet
Obviously it will vary with different brands but one study found on average exercise machines overestimate how many calories you burn by 20 to 30 percent. So if you think you are burning 500 calories, you may only be burning 350 calories.