We all understand that how it feels when someone is diagnosed with cancer. It is quite natural to feel scared and lost, and not know where to start and where to apply the brakes. If you are in a similar situation, all you need at the moment is a roadmap, that allows you to take control of your life, by taking control over your health and combating the illness. Perhaps, the truth and the only truth is – when your health situation is bad, the decision to fight or to give up is totally on you, and no one else can take this decision. It is the intensity of the issues of your health that propels you to seek a solution. All you need is proper nutrition for cancer patients.
Cancer and Nutrition
While the cause of cancers may be different, but one thing that is common in all types o cancers is the food that we choose it. Our diet and eating pattern have considerable changes in the past few decades. Today we consume more of the foods that are no longer fresh and are man-made and processed for increased profits. These foods could be appealing and tasty, but they are dead foods that do more harm to us than good.
You must know that most of the types of cancers are a result of the weekended immune system, which has been weakened and cannot destroy the developing cancer cells as they appear. To avoid and fight cancer, the focus should be primarily on strengthening our immune system. And, the foundation of a strong immune system is proper nutrition that can only be derived from freshly grown whole foods that have minimal interference by man.
Why nutrition is important in cancer?
Your diet and proper nutrition are the most important piece of any cancer puzzle. A diet for cancer patients is a healer for him. A well-balanced and healthy diet provides us with adequate nutrition and it is a very important part of any cancer treatment. A cancer diet is the one that improved the quality of life of a cancer patient.
Proper nutrition is of paramount importance, as it provides the sufferer with the ability to recover while being treated and progress towards a better life, out of the illness.
At Diet2Nourish, we have registered and award-winning best dietician for cancer patients, Priyanka Jaiswal. Priyanka is an expert oncology nutritionist, who has been helping cancer sufferers with individualized plans as per their need and type of cancer. She aims in providing appropriate nutrition and helps people through their complex dietary needs. She understands that the right foods are required for cancer sufferers to provide them with strength and promote their overall wellness. She advocates the adopting particular eating habits and patterns can also go a long way in combating the side effects which cancer sufferers may have to face as a result of their treatment like poor appetite, diarrhea, constipation, altered taste, and weight loss. The food that we eat, has a major role to play in our overall health and also affects the risks of developing cancer of certain types. A diet rich in fats and high-energy can lead to the chances of developing obesity and is studied to improve the chances of developing certain types of cancers. You should aim towards enjoying a wide variety of nutritious foods, and it may go a long way in preventing the chances of developing cancer.
Diet2Nourich recommends eating a wide variety of foods from all the five food groups (Fruits / Vegetables and legumes or beans / Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts and seeds / Grains and other cereal foods, mostly whole grains / Milk and milk products like yogurt and cheese) and in recommended amounts to maintain an interesting and healthy diet, which provides a range of various nutrients for the body. Eating a variety of foods is paramount for good health and can be very effective in reducing any chances of developing any type of cancer or any other health issue.
What is a cancer patient diet all about?
The treatment and recovery from cancer go much beyond just technological advancement and the healing process. A cancer patient’s diet is the one that takes care of the special dietary needs of any cancer patient, which they require during and after the cancer recovery treatment journey. The key to a proper cancer diet is the following nutrients:
Proteins are the building blocks of human cells. Since during cancer the human cells are damaged, cancer patients need more proteins to heal the cells and retain the ‘good’ cells. The much-needed valuable proteins can be obtained from:
Carbohydrates are a vital nutrient for any cancer diet. Any cancer nutritionist will advocate the consumption of quality carbs to fuel their body for the much-required energy. Carbohydrates come in different forms like Fruits, Vegetables, Starches, Dairy Products, and Desserts. Always prefer to choose whole-grain bread and cereals, vegetables, fruits, and low-fat dairy and dairy products as your primary carbohydrate source. Also, there is a common misconception that sugar, which is a rich source of carbohydrates fuels cancer cells. It may be true that cancer cells in the human body, because of their accelerated growth needs more energy, but it is also not right to avoid sugar completely. It is best to consume natural sugars, that you can get from fruits and other foods, rather than from foods that are rich in added sugar and processed foods.
Fats are a valuable component of a diet for a cancer patient. Fats are much-need by the human body for the absorption of minerals and vitamins and energy. But there are good and as well bad fats. Aim for good fats from sources like nuts and seeds, vegetables, and fatty fish. Healthy fats are required to fight inflammation and are a vital part of any anti-inflammatory diet.
Some common types of cancer and what does an Oncology dietician say about its relationship with food?
As per an oncology dietician, some of the types of common cancer can get affected by what we eat and certain types of foods. Let’s know these in detail:
Breast cancer is one of the most common types of cancer prevalent in women all around the world. Factors like rapid weight gain during adulthood, rapid early growth, greater adult height, and many others alike may increase the risks of developing breast cancer in women. Much of the risk arises from the estrogen levels of women during their reproductive age. The rate of developing breast cancer also increases with age.
A breast cancer nutritionist advocates the intake of a diet rich in mono-unsaturated fats, like olive oil, canola oil, nuts and seeds, and some vegetables can reduce the chances of developing breast cancer. On the other hand, high consumption of alcohol, and foods rich in saturated and trans fats may increase the risk.
Lung cancers are mainly caused due to smoking and are also the leading cause of death all over the world. Consuming a diet rich in healthy fruits and vegetables has proven to be effective in decreasing and protecting against the chances of developing lungs cancer. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are excellent in protecting and curing lungs cancer. Eating a wide variety of foods including fruits and whole-grain can be very effective in protecting and treating people with lungs cancer.
Prostate cancer is common in men and the risks are more for men over 50 years of age. Cancer nutritionists recommend a diet rich in vegetables (mainly soy) can help in decreasing the chances of developing this type of cancer, whereas, a diet rich in fats (mostly animal fats like dairy, fatty meats, and fast foods) can increase the risks. Maintaining a healthy body weight is also critical in reducing the chances of developing prostate cancer.
Foods that you should limit to stay protected from the chances of developing cancer
As some foods can be very effective in protecting and treating cancers, there are also foods that we all should avoid or limit to ensure that we stay protected from any chances of developing any type of cancer. These foods are: Processed and Fatty Read Meats, Processed Foods that have no or less Fiber, Salted and Pickled Foods, and Alcohol.Artificial sweeteners, cured, pickled, and salty foods, burnt or barbequed foods, peanuts, and alcohol are not good foods.
Foods (Diet and Nutrition) play a vital role in preventing some types of cancers. It is also true that a person suffering from cancer needs good nutrition to better cope with his or her physical demands and his or her treatment.
Diet is the most important part of the puzzle called ‘cancer’. Always remember that if your diet is not fighting cancer, it must be fueling it. Treatment and medicine can give you short-term relief from your ailment, but it is your diet that will provide you with a long-term solution, and all because you are rectifying the reasons, why you developed cancer!
Frequently Asked Questions
A vegetarian or vegan diet can be healthy even during cancer treatment. Moreover, such a diet can provide all the necessary nutrients during cancer treatment. However, it is important to work with a healthcare professional to ensure you’re getting enough protein and other key nutrients. This is to ensure your recovery and fulfil the daily nutrient intake. It is important to eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods. You can include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. You may also need to adjust your diet based on your individual needs and treatment side effects.
Yes, it is important to enjoy food and eat what you can during cancer treatment. However, you may need to adjust your favourite recipes to make them more nutrient-dense and easier to digest. You can also consult a dietitian who can help you with amazing recipes including your favourite foods.
Eating a nutrient-dense diet and staying physically active can help you maintain a healthy weight during cancer treatment. Moreover, you can include various sources of lean proteins and healthy fats in your diet. They can help you maintain a healthy weight during the treatment. You may also need to work with a healthcare professional to develop a personalised weight management plan.