Health advice comes flying at us from all directions: Eat this, skip that, try this workout, take this vitamin. So what’s necessary, and what’s just noise? To help sort it out, these women—all breast health experts—shared what they do to protect themselves from breast cancer.

By Lauren Purcell

Eat Cleaner

"I aim for a “plant strong” diet. It’s not unusual for me to consume 30 different types of plants in a week."

—Halle Moore, MD, oncologist, Cleveland Clinic 

"I make sure I have a variety of colors—things that have a variety of vitamins and minerals. I want dark leafy greens. I want minimal browns and grays because that often means 'processed.'"

—Elissa Thorner, patient education/navigation (and breast cancer survivor), Johns Hopkins Medicine

"Fifteen years ago, I cut out soda, like diet Coke. Now I have a cup and a half of coffee in the morning, and then it’s water."

—Mary Rosser, MD, ob-gyn, NewYork-Presbyterian

"The American Cancer Society emphasizes weight control. I do really restrictive calories two days a week: Mondays and Thursdays, I eat just 700 to 1,000 calories. I’ve lost 16 pounds—I’m down to my wedding weight."

—Sheryl Gabram-Mendola, MD, surgical oncologist, Emory University

"I try not to eat red meat more than once a week."

—Vered Stearns, MD, breast cancer researcher, Johns Hopkins Medicine

Move It!

"Being a radiologist, I sit at a desk for long periods of time. Wearing a Fitbit made me acutely aware. I now try to stand at my desk rather than sit, and I force myself to leave my desk to walk at least 200 steps several times throughout the day."

—Laura B. Shepardson, MD, radiologist, Cleveland Clinic

"I exercise every day. The ACS guidelines are 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise or a combination. I’ve taken that literally. I’m on the treadmill for 30 minutes, 15 of which I run, Monday through Friday. So there’s the moderate and vigorous." 

—Sheryl Gabram-Mendola, MD, surgical oncologist, Emory University

"I try to do at least three workouts a week in addition to trying to stay active each day. I plan my workouts and put them on my calendar, so other things get scheduled around them." 

—Rebecca Seidel, MD, breast imaging expert, Emory University

Watch the Wine

Women do not want to hear this, including me—I love my wine—but we know that alcohol is related to breast cancer risk. I try to make sure that 3 or 4 days during the week I’m not drinking at all. On the other days, I try to count the drinks. Ideally keep to 7 glasses over 7 days."

—Sheryl Gabram-Mendola, MD, surgical oncologist, Emory University

Check. Check!

"It’s familiar advice, but it can’t be said enough: No matter how busy I am, I get my mammogram every year."

—Joan Kramer, MD, oncologist, Emory University 

Supplement Smartly

"I live in Ohio, where the sun’s not out all the time, even in the summer, so I take a vitamin D3 supplement— 2,000 IU daily. Low vitamin D levels have been linked to a lot of health issues, such as breast cancer and breast cancer recurrence."

—Stephanie Valente, DO, surgeon, Cleveland Clinic

"I don’t eat soy bars, soy supplements or other processed types of soy. I do eat food-based soy, and I don’t restrict the amount—although I don’t make it my exclusive source of protein."

—Wendy Chen, MD, oncologist, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston