This food fight really doesn’t have to be complicated. Balance, variety and quality are three very essential factors when it comes to managing cancer with diet. Packing your meals with cancer-fighting foods will serve as natural compliments to your treatment. Curve.life have conducted extensive research and collected a lot of evidence from leading studies (such as the American Cancer Society (ACS) and research from the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF)), and based on this evidence, have been able to create a collection of dietary tips to help you to get stronger, feel healthier and become more resilient to cancer. It’s important to state that even though there will be advice in this post, always seek the advice of your doctor before making any changes.
Mostly Plant Based
Interestingly, many plant-based foods full of beneficial phyto and micro nutrients that have anticarcinogenic properties contribute to the prevention of cancer growing. Regardless of the stage you are at in cancer development, it is worth having a diet that is predominantly vegetarian – so food that is rich in colourful fruits and vegetables. To get the most out of the invaluable nutrients these foods offer that help with cancer treatment, examples include:
Allicin and allyl sulphides: found in onions and garlic. The compounds in these bind with toxic chemicals and these can be excreted from the body rather than affecting your organs. The sulphides free radicals and combat oxidation, which can cause cancer.
Sulphoraphane: found in brassica (cruciferous) vegetables such as watercress, cabbage, arugula and broccoli. The compound helps to reduce inflammation and also helps to eliminate cancer-causing compounds.
Lycopene: found in tomatoes. This is particularly beneficial as a help in preventing prostate cancer, as it guards against DNA damage and the development of free radicals.
Flavonoids and Carotenoids: found in brightly coloured fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, blueberries, squash tomatoes and bell peppers. Flavonoids and carotenoids have been shown to reduce the risk of pharynx, mouth, lung and larynx cancers.
It’s important to note that every person has different responses and needs. After surgery, or certain other treatments, you may have to restrict potassium (which is high in a lot of vegetables) which avoids putting undue stress on your digestive system. If you are unsure, ask a doctor or nutritionist for more personalised advice.
A number of key benefits come with the regular consumption of wholegrains:
Folate and antioxidants (an essential water-soluble B vitamin): These nutrients are believed to help in the protection against the development and spread of cancer cells and boosting your immune system.
Fibre: Has a dual benefit. As it pushes food along the alimentary canal, it provides assistance in removing toxins from the bowel. Secondly, the fibre contributes to cultivating microbes that are beneficial in your body. This can help to build immunity and therefore, resistance to various cancers (more notably mouth, stomach and pharynx cancer).
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are particularly advantageous for their anti-inflammatory and healing properties. Common sources include seeds, oily fish, olive oil and nuts – foods that are fundamental in Japanese and Mediterranean diets. Omega-3 is also present in foods such as walnuts, flaxseed and oily fish and this nutrient helps to lower the risk of prostate, colon and breast cancers in particular.
Protein is very essential when it comes to growth and recovery from having cancer treatment. Animal based proteins (such as eggs) or plant based protein sources help with the bodily healing and cancer fighting process.
‘Coffee as a cancer promoter or inhibitor’ is considered quite a complicated question. For a lot of cancer patients, drinking a moderate amount of coffee can bring potential benefits in the form of polyphenols. These antioxidants potentially have the ability to neutralise damaging free radicals that can cause the damage of cell components and disruption of genetic messages.
However, it’s very important at the same time to be aware of how the coffee has been produced. Roasting coffee beans produces acrylamides which are probable carcinogens, whilst compounds such as kahweol and cafestol have been linked with higher blood cholesterol and higher coffee consumption.
It’s important to remember that it does depend on the individual as to whether coffee will be a part of an anti-cancer diet, but for most, coffee in moderation is fine.
Foods To Avoid
Yor diet can be tailored so that you avoid certain foods that might trigger a normal cell to become a cancer cell.
For this, it’s best to reduce or completely eliminate alcohol intake if you drink. Alcohol can affect DNA through epigenetic abnormalities, and by calming on the alcohol intake, it reduces the amount of folate which is essential in the normal epigenetic control of the DNA.
Historically, alcohol has always been seen as a carcinogen linked to oesophagus, stomach, liver, mouth, breast and pancreatic cancer. Fortunately, the market for alcohol-free beverages is growing and this will be helpful in the transition to reduce your alcohol intake if you are a regular drinker.
Mycotoxins can harbour in mouldy nuts and grains which should be avoided as they are damaging natural carcinogens.
In saying this, it doesn’t mean that all fungi are detrimental. Mushrooms are believed to be a powerful cancer-fighting food which can help to support a healthy immune system response. Generally, buying fresh produce is healthier and using it promptly can help to avoid the ingestion of natural carcinogens like mycotoxins.
Red meat has a reputation in terms of cancer and more specifically from lamb, pork and beef. Red meat has ‘probable carcinogens’, in particular for cancers of the digestive system, but a lot of it is related to the way they are cooked. Chargrilling, smoking, broiling and especially barbecuing meat allows smoke from the coals to permeate the meat which can produce heterocyclic amines (HCA). These carcinogens are potent and are linked to bowel, breast and stomach cancers in particular.
It is prudent to reduce the intake of these types of proteins and substitute them with more plant-based proteins. If you do end up consuming meat for whatever reason, try to:
Cook until golden (avoid charring the meat)
Coke uncured and unsmoked fresh meat
Cook at a low temperature using liquids
Consume in moderation
Diet & Elderly Age
Due to a decrease in the resting calorie use, energy requirements reduce with age – due to the direct result of a decline in physical activity. A less-effective synthesis of Vitamin D also can occur.
As people get older and nutritional needs change, the standard ‘three meals a day’ rule might not suit the individual. As nutritional needs for the elderly change and especially for those who have/have had cancer, it means that the standard three meals a day rule might not fit the individual. Some people may prefer to eat snacks, one main meal a day or five smaller meals. This is all perfectly acceptable – as long as the individual is getting the right nutritional value in their diet.
It is also within our nature as humans for us to want to care for loved ones and family that are close to us. Therefore, ensuring that your elders are getting the right nutrition as they get older is vital for them to stay healthy and support their bodies’ aging needs. Opting for local home care is a great way to ensure that their dietary needs are being met if they can’t do it themselves. Care Agencies will understand that the process can be overwhelming, so they will guide you through the dietary requirements process as well as all of the other care issues.
Importance Of Diet & Age
The more we age, the more our tooth enamel wears away which makes teeth vulnerable to damage and decay. Tooth loss in elderly people is a major reason as to why they cannot chew their food as well and therefore, they may not consume enough nutrients. This is especially important in elderly patients who have cancer. When older people begin to lose their teeth, the area of the jaw bone where their previous teeth were won’t maintain its previous height and will appear to waste away.
If a diet is not carefully planned, the individual may need unexpected dental treatments and major tooth ache can pop up at any time. You may need a 24 hour dentist which wouldn’t be an ideal situation, especially if you are an elderly person.
In short, It’s All About Balance
Consuming a healthy diet consisting of fruits, wholegrains, vegetables, healthy fats and certain proteins can help greatly in the fight against cancer and your overall health. Simple additions and swaps to your diet can transform the way your body is responding and dealing with cancer, no matter what stage you are at.
Unfortunately, there isn’t such a thing as a ‘super’ or ‘miracle’ food, byt extensie research has shown that it is beneficial to supplement your treatment with certain foods. This won’t only improve your physical health, but can make you feel mentally stronger and more confident about dealing with cancer.