According to Dr. Vikki Petersen, DC, CNN, CFMP, Latinas are at risk for certain diseases that affect their hormonal balance. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, a sedentary lifestyle, and obesity are common among Hispanic and Latin American women.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer found in the female Hispanic population; it is also the type of cancer that takes the most lives.
Conventional medicine tends to place diseases in separate “boxes,” which doesn’t allow for the appreciation of how they are interconnected. While we used to think that heart disease was a “bad fat” disease, and diabetes was a “bad sugar” disease, and cancer was genetic or just bad luck, research now shows us that they are all interconnected.
“This is exciting because making positive changes to reduce your heart disease incidence, the leading killer of Latinas, also reduces your risk of diabetes, obesity, and cancer,” Dr. Petersen told HOLA! USA. “Plus, you will earn the additional benefit of balanced hormones — think stable mood, no brain fog, no menstrual cramps, and more.”
According to the expert, immigrants tend to eat healthier in their native countries. “Having treated a diverse population of patients, I have definitely found that Latinas who immigrated to the U.S. (or whose parents did) remember how much better and fresher they ate in their native country,” the doctor told us. “Food, including fruit, vegetables, meat, and fish, was accessible from a family garden or nearby neighbor. It was very fresh and free of chemicals and hormones.”
Dr. Petersen also said that they exercised more readily to the lifestyle of simply walking more, compared to driving in larger cities as seen once they moved to the U.S.
Hormonal imbalance, which leads to breast cancer, is tied to a poor, highly processed diet, overweight, and a sedentary lifestyle. Dr. Petersen shares five steps to enjoy better health and balance hormones.
- Exercise: walk briskly or enjoy some type of moderate exercise for 30 to 40 minutes per day, at least 5 to 6 days per week.
- Eliminate sugar and processed foods from your diet: This is a big “ask,” but moving to a plant-rich diet that includes 7 to 9 servings of fruits and vegetables will go a long way to reducing disease risk while balancing your hormones.
- Drink more water: Aim to drink eight glasses (8 ounces each) of purified water every day.
- Raise the fiber content of your diet: A diet rich in fiber is beneficial for reducing your risk of every disease process we have just discussed. In addition to fresh fruits and vegetables, as mentioned above, a couple of servings of beans or legumes plus seeds such as flax seeds, sesame seeds, and hemp seeds will fulfill this requirement.
- Cooking for family and friends is something Latinas are known for. The love we share in cooking is a vital part of the family. Take a moment to change out some of the less healthy staples for those that will benefit you and your family. Instead of lard, switch to avocado oil. Instead of pork, try fish or beans or tofu (must be organic).
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Adopting the five steps above will factually lower your risk of:
- Heart disease
- Breast cancer
- Dementia, and more.
Every movement made towards embracing these steps will cause measurable improvements in your health.