Nutrition is an essential part of cancer treatment and can vary from person to person. Having a healing nutrition plan is especially important if you have cancer because both the illness and its treatments can change the way you feel and eat. Finding the right diet can be difficult, even when you are healthy, so check out these quick-reference tips to help you get started.
Cooking can be hard any day, but especially when you have a long day of treatments. Consider focusing on these key ways to optimize your nutrition right now:
• Move to six mini meals throughout your day.
• Have a wide variety of foods available.
• Make food portable (ex. nuts, fresh fruit)
• Get more herbs and spices into what you eat and drink.
• Stay hydrated – caffeine-free tea, organic broth, water are the best for this.
• Refined sugars are a no go.
More and more research is being accumulated, showing that our diet and what we eat can have an impact on cancer prevention and the outcome after cancer occurs.
- Beetroots are high in folate and manganese, and have a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. Betanin has been shown to provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory molecules in beets makes this food a strong candidate for risk reduction of many cancer types. Several lab studies on human tumor cells have confirmed this possibility for colon, stomach, nerve, lung, breast, prostate and testicular cancers. (Note: Your urine may turn red should you consume large amounts of beets).
- Carrots are perhaps best known for their rich supply of the antioxidant beta-carotene. These root vegetables also have a wide variety of other health-supporting nutrients (fiber, Vitamin A, C, and K). Beta-carotene consumption has been linked to a reduced risk of several cancers, notably lung cancer and colon cancer. (Note: eating large quantities of carrots may turn your skin a slight yellow/orange hue. This goes away after the amount is reduced.)
- Fatty Fish (salmon, sardines) are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been associated with lowered risks of cancer.
- Green Tea is presumed to have catechin polyphenols, an active antioxidant ingredient. Green tea is made by lightly steaming the freshly cut leaf, a process that prevents oxidation and possibly preserves more of the therapeutic effects, which has been shown to lower cancer incidence rates in some studies.
- Magic Mineral Broth was created by Rebecca Katz* and is chock-full of magnesium, potassium, and sodium allowing the body to refresh and restore itself. Broths are great to be used for a base of a soup or to just drink for added nutrition and hydration.
- Tahini is good to increase bulk and calories in one's diet without increasing inflammation.
- Tomatoes have high levels of lycopene, a carotenoid like beta-carotene. Lycopene appears to exhibit about twice the antioxidant activity of beta-carotene and may be more helpful for preventing cancer.
- Shiitake Mushrooms even in small amounts daily (5 grams of dried mushroom, which is the equivalent of 1-ounce fresh mushroom or less than one large shiitake mushroom) have been shown to provide measurable anti-inflammatory benefits.
Getting more herbs and spices into what you eat and drink has been shown to be very beneficial. All the spices listed below are high in NF-kB regulators.**
- Mint can act as an appetite aid, improving the taste of foods for those affected by treatments. It also relieves indigestion.
Try: Adding mint to water or unsweetened tea.
- Cardamom can help relieve numerous digestive issues including constipation, gas, and stomach-aches. Just chewing on cardamom seeds can ease indigestion, aid in reducing inflammation, and freshen the breath.
Try: Chewing cardamom seeds or adding seeds along with fresh ginger, crushed cloves, cinnamon, and organic choice of dairy for a spiced tea.
- Cinnamon acts as an appetite stimulant, digestive aid, and is antimicrobial. Cinnamon’s cinnamalde-hyde lessens inflammation associated with certain cancers and it also helps keep blood sugar levels balanced.
Try: Sprinkling cinnamon on a baked apple or on whole-wheat toast.
- Cumin is as an appetite stimulant, digestive aid, and antimicrobial. Studies found that they’re good for an upset stomach and to relieve cramping, especially when the seeds are toasted. Try: Preparing black beans, corn, tomatoes, and cumin
- Garlic has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antibacterial properties. A garlic compound called allicin gives this food its pungent smell and cancer protective punch. Try: Adding fresh garlic to cooked veggies drizzled with olive oil.
- Ginger is renowned for easing nausea and an upset stomach; that effect increases when it’s consumed with some protein. Ginger also has antibacterial components. Try: Grating fresh ginger in a cup of boiling water for a hot tea.
- Oregano contains two antioxidants, thymol, and rosmarinic acid (also found in rosemary), which can scavenge for potentially cancer-causing oxygen molecules. Oregano is also a good source of antibacterial and antimicrobial agents, which help immune systems taxed by treatment.
Try: Making a homemade dressing with olive oil, white vinegar, and oregano.
- Parsley is known for being an appetite stimulant, digestive aid, and anti-inflammatory. Parsley’s oil, such as myristicin, has strong antitumor properties. Parsley also appears to neutralize carcinogens such as the benzopyrenes present in cigarette smoke, charcoal grill smoke, and fried foods. Try: Add to veggies, or throw in a salad.
- Turmeric contains curcumin which is known to be anti-inflammatory and can be used in ayurvedic medicine for treating digestive disorders and helps stimulate the appetite. Try: Mixing turmeric with olive oil and cauliflower and roasting veggies. (Note: turmeric can stain dish-ware.)
NOTE: All cancers are different and certain foods, herbs, and spices can be more beneficial in preventing certain cancers. Talk with a Registered Dietitian, your oncologist, or cancer care team about dietary options best suited for you.
Want to learn more about nutrition for your cancer treatment and thereafter? Speak with a Wellview Registered Dietitian or click HERE to learn more about the Wellview services available to you. You are not alone. We can’t wait to support you!
**NF-kB regulator: NF-kB is a pathway that helps control the body’s immune response. When it is improperly regulated, chronic inflammation that may lead to cancer can occur.
EBSCO host Research Database. <www.ebscohost.com>