Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients


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Pancreatic Enzymes and your Digestion

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The pancreas is essential in both digestion and absorption of nutrients, since it secretes pancreatic enzymes that facilitate the breakdown of foods into smaller molecules allowing the body to actually use fats, vitamins, minerals, amino acids etc.

Certain medical problems can cause the pancreas to produce fewer enzymes than needed for digestion. Some of these problems include, but are not limited to, pancreatic cancer, large pancreatic cysts, chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic surgery or cystic fibrosis.

Digestive Enzymes

Digestive enzymes are now being taken by an increasing number of people to help treat health conditions like acid reflux, gas, bloating, leaky gut, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, diverticulitis, malabsorption, diarrhea or constipation.

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Digestive enzyme products are derived from several sources, with the most common being fruits (usually pineapple or papaya), and plants like probiotics, yeast and fungi. These can be used for general help with digestion they cannot be used as a replacement for pancreatic enzymes.

Foods that benefit the pancreas

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High-antioxidant foods: This includes leafy green veggies; all berries; orange and yellow veggies like carrots, peppers, squash and sweet potatoes; tomatoes; artichoke; asparagus; broccoli; cauliflower, pineapple, papaya and kiwi. Ginger and other fresh herbs and spices.

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Fermented/probiotic: Foods like sauerkraut, yogurt, kefir, and miso soup.

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Healthy fats: Avocado, coconut or olive oil, grass-fed butter and ghee. Healthy fats are energy-dense, so they can be useful for adding calories to your diet and preventing weight loss.

MCT oil:  MCT oil can be beneficial because it doesn’t require the same amount of digestion as other oils. MCT is easily absorbed and a good calorie/fat source for providing energy and preventing weight loss.

Nuts and seeds.

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Clean proteins, including grass-fed meat, pastured poultry, wild-caught fish and free-range eggs.

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Bed Rest

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Physical activity should be built into the day, no matter your age, level of fitness, medical condition. These days there are many experts who can tailor physical activity to your ability and needs.

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Going to the gym a couple of times a week, won’t reverse the trends of an otherwise sedentary life, you need to be active all day, which includes being on your feet and taking walk breaks.

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The problem is more severe in older people who have a sedentary lifestyle and have certain limitations, resistance training to counter the aging of muscle and cardio training to increase stamina, it’s never too late to change your lifestyle.

Being sedentary will increase the risk of gaining fat and losing muscle, and overall poorer health, this can also increase the risk for conditions such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Elderly individuals are at increased risk of becoming physically incapacitated or placed on bed rest for an extended period. The loss of lean body mass is dramatically increased during inactivity.

A study by Bowden-Davies and her colleagues found that after two weeks of a sedentary life, participants lost nearly a pound of lean muscle mass and gained body fat. The increase in body fat tended to be in the belly, a major risk factor for developing chronic diseases.

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If your goal is to be in optimal health, you shouldn’t have a sedentary lifestyle. An active lifestyle is one where physical activity is built throughout the day.

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Muscle Weakness & Atrophy is caused by disuse.  3-5 weeks of complete immobilization can lead to a 50% decrease in muscle strength. Loss of muscle mass is 3% within thigh muscles within 7 days, there is increased risk of clots. =


When unable to eat

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These recipes are for weight gain or when eating solid food gets difficult. Each smoothie provides approximately 2000 Calories.

These smoothies can be used as meal replacements when swallowing becomes an issue. To increase Calories add heart healthy oils like avocado, Olive and Peanut butter or Almond butter.

Cachexia in Cancer

Cachexia Illustration FINAL

Cancer cachexia is the complex, multi-symptom syndrome seen in late-stage cancer patients, characterized by anorexia ,the unintended loss of appetite, progressive and continual weight loss, accompanied by generalized host tissue wasting, skeletal muscle atrophy, immune and metabolic dysfunction, and a greatly diminished quality of life.

Cachexia is wasting of both adipose tissue and skeletal muscle. It occurs in many conditions and is common with many cancers when remission or control fails. Some cancers, especially pancreatic and gastric cancers, cause profound cachexia.

The Ultimate

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  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 bananas (can be substituted for ½ avocado)
  • 2 scoops protein ( use a medical grade protein for digestibility)
  • 1 cup ice cream (preferably similar flavor to the protein powder)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 4 tbsp peanut butter

Method:

1. Soak the oats before blending them.

2. The protein powder and peanut butter should be added to the blender after some of the other ingredients have gone in to avoid them getting stuck to the bottom and being difficult to blend properly.

Weight Gain

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  • ½ avocado
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ cup berries
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon

Method:

Blend all of the ingredients together until creamy and smooth.


Energy Balance and Body Fatness: AICR Report

With over 70% of Americans living with overweight or obesity, this factor is projected to overtake smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer. Understanding the contributing factors and causes of excess body fat are key to creating policies and interventions that will help make a difference in cancer prevention.

Energy Balance


Appetite stimulation during cancer treatment

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Eating foods high in Sulphur helps to stimulate liver detoxification such as garlic; Brussel sprouts cabbage, onions, broccoli, cauliflower and radish.

Have a vegetable juice each day (beetroot, carrot, celery and ginger) as these encourage liver detoxification, and cleanse the system.

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Ensure adequate water intake. The thirst center in the brain is also closely related to appetite, dehydration may affect metabolism

Eat 4 or 5 small meals throughout the day, rather than 3 large ones. This ‘grazing effect’ keeps your metabolism working at a higher rate throughout the day and stimulates the appetite.

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Include spices in your diet, this may help to increase metabolism by adding thermogenic effect to the digestive system and raising the heat of the body to encourage the digestive juices to flow.  Spices, such as Chili, turmeric, garlic, cumin are some examples.

Spices

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Reduce your consumption of saturated fats. Saturated fats decrease the appetite by decreasing the transit time of food through the digestive tract, reducing metabolism and affecting digestive and liver health.

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High fiber diets also slow transition time and reduce appetite.

whole grains and dietary fiber

Include whole grains and good quality protein (such as almonds, fish, and organic dairy products). Increase lean good quality protein at each meal. Have lean beef, lamb, tofu, beans, eggs; increase whole grains such as oats, brown rice, spelt, barley, millet, rye etc., increase full spectrum of vegetables and fruit of all colors; snack on almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.

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Avoid soda drinks as these can affect the absorption of vital minerals and also cause over-stimulation of the nervous system due to the high amount of caffeine and sugar and they reduce appetite.  Sparkling or flat water is a healthier alternative

Some herbal teas aid digestion, – Dandelion, fenugreek, fennel, Spearmint, Peppermint, lemon and ginger.  Some other useful herbs include alfalfa, anise seed and cinnamon.

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Daily physical activity will help with appetite stimulation.

Eat with others in a relaxed atmosphere.

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Tags: Appetite, cancer, foods

Category: During

 


Survive and Thrive after Cancer

cancer survivor

You are fortunate enough to survive cancer, but now living a healthy lifestyle is very important. While studies are ongoing, there is definitive research showing certain behaviors and foods can help improve long-term health after cancer.people_exercising

Exercise is beneficial for cancer survivors; it helps reduce the risk of a recurrence. It improves mood, increases stamina, decreases anxiety and, also helps with recovery from your treatment. Exercise can also help you achieve a desirable body weight, depending on if you gained or lost weight during treatment.

The American Cancer Society recommends exercising five or more days a week, 30 minutes per session, if there is weight loss during treatment let that not discourage you, start small. Every minute of activity will improve strength and endurance.

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After treatment stops return to normal eating patterns .Food safety at every meal is still important since; infection is a big concern among survivors. When dining out, avoid sushi, salad bars, rare meats, fish and shellfish, poultry and eggs, since these items have a greater prevalence of germs. At home, scrub fruit and vegetables well; avoid raw honey and raw juices, selecting pasteurized varieties instead; cook meats thoroughly; and keep your refrigerator and all utensils, cutting boards and counters clean, replacing sponges weekly, just as you did during the treatment.

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Eating five servings daily of fruit and vegetables should become routine. Dark green, leafy vegetables like Swiss chard, spinach, kale and beet greens are good choices, especially when prepared with garlic and turmeric.

Herbs

Fresh herbs such as rosemary, mint, thyme, oregano and basil should be used regularly since they have documented medicinal properties related to the terpines in their essential oils.

grains

Whole grains such as bulgur, barley, oats and brown rice are a good source of saponins, a water and fat-soluble plant compound that acts like an antibiotic.

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Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, cod and sardines are good protein sources. They have the added benefit of being rich sources of healthy, omega-3 fatty acids, which play a vital role in boosting immunity.