Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients


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.

Small Portion1

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

Spices collection on spoons

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.

Tea

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

 

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Eliminating Carbs?

Low Carb

The popularity of low-carb, ketogenic and other Atkins-style diets are fueling an intense fascination around Carbohydrates. As a dietitian I feel it’s my duty to deepen our understanding of this topic.

The world’s staples are carb-heavy; these include cassava, corn, plantain, potato, rice, sorghum, soybean, sweet potato, wheat and yam. Fruits and vegetables, the foundation of a well-balanced diet, also contain carbohydrates. Even dairy contains milk sugar, which is a carb.

Importance of carbohydrates

carbohydrates-food

Carbohydrates supply glucose, the fuel source that our bodies use. Our body runs on calories, and it gets those calories by metabolizing carbohydrates, fat and protein from our food. Since our body spares protein for rebuilding and repairing tissue, carbohydrates and fat are by far the fuel of choice. While every cell is capable of burning glucose for energy, the same is not true for fat.

Certain organs and tissues require glucose. Our brain and red blood cells rely on the plentiful glucose in carbohydrates. Through gradual adaptation, the brain can learn to use fat in the form of ketone bodies, but our blood cells will always rely on glucose. In fact, our body fights really hard to keep our blood glucose levels within a narrow window. Once you dip below 20mg glucose/dL of blood you risk slipping into coma or having a seizure. This biological fact is partly what drives the daily recommendations for carbohydrates.

Carbohydrate Recommendations

Carb Chart

The National Academy of Medicine sets the recommended dietary allowance at 130 grams per day. This is the minimum amount of carbohydrates needed to provide enough glucose for the brain and red blood cells from carbohydrates.

The  Dietary Guidelines for Americans set macronutrient distribution for carbohydrates at 45–65% of total daily calories. For someone who eats a typical 2,000-calorie diet, this is 225–325 grams of carbs per day.

The World Health Organization and Food and Agriculture Organization recommend that 55% of total calories come from carbohydrates per day.

Can we function without carbs?

Protein and fat can provide glucose. The healthy human body is fully capable of reforming the amino acids from protein into glucose. Even the breakdown of fat for energy yields a bit of glucose. If an individual is eating enough calories, even if those calories are mostly from fat or protein, that person can still satisfy the glucose needs of their brain and blood cells and maintain their blood glucose at a normal level.

There is no such thing as “carbohydrate deficiency”. Nutrition science defines a nutrient as “essential” if we must get it from the diet because our body can’t make enough of it to meet our needs, so that we may not end up with an impairment or disease. This is not the case with carbohydrates.

The Atkins diet advocates followers eat as little as 20 grams of carbohydrates per day! To give you an idea of what this means: 20 grams is the amount of carbs in 1 small (6-inch) banana.

The classic ketogenic diet is 80–90% fat. It was originally used as a therapy for epilepsy but is now gaining popularity for use in weight loss.

The traditional Inuit diet, which is what the natives of northern Canada subsisted on for many years, is empty of refined sugar and grains. Instead, there’s plenty of fresh seal, walrus and other marine life on the menu. The diet on average has 23% calories from protein, 39% calories from fat and 38% calories from carbohydrates.

When it comes to choosing how low-carb you should go, keep in mind that:

  • Everyone responds differently to varying levels of carbohydrates. Our bodies are unique, so what works for one person may not work for another. The key is to do some research, and then experiment to figure out what works best for you. Enlisting expert guidance from a dietitian can make this process easier.
  • The best diet is one that can be followed over time. Consistency is the key to a healthy lifestyle. Setting yourself up with a plan that allows 20 grams of carbs per day may not be the best way to achieve this. A balanced diet is one that allows flexibility for you to fit in foods you enjoy regardless of carbohydrate content.
  • “Low-carb” can be a healthy lifestyle. Most low-carb diets don’t go as low as you may think, hovering around 35–40% of calories from carbohydrates. For many, the term “low-carb” has become synonymous with eating less refined carbs and added sugar and eating more fruits and vegetables.

Vitamin-B6

 


Cook with Care

What if I told you, your vegetarian diet—the one designed to protect your health and your family’s health—could kill?!

Vegetables

Meh. That’d be a little dramatic. But look, there are a few ways to accidentally harm yourself or your dinner guests by preparing plants the wrong way, and a few of them aren’t obvious if you’ve never been taught. All cooks, especially new ones, should read up on the hidden dangers of seemingly harmless ingredients, and so… here we go.

The humble potato, an integral part of the world’s food supply, is definitely not toxic. But a potato abandoned and forgotten in your pantry will eventually turn green in places, or even sprout. That’s when you know the poison solanine is now present.

Green, sprouted potatoes

Throw away (or plant!) green or sprouted potatoes. Cooking with them will result in gastrointestinal illness at least, and eating enough can kill.

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Yuca (cassava)

Cassava root, otherwise known as Yuca, is a staple food for over a half billion people and one of the most drought-resistant, pest-resistant sources of carbohydrates in the tropics. And why is it so pest-resistant, you ask? That would be all the cyanide.

Cassava, especially bitter cassava, contains cyanide and must be processed before consumption. Even soaking the product for a few hours will make a difference. Otherwise, unprocessed bitter cassava can kill if consumed in sufficient quantities

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Rhubarb leaves

Rhubarb is a sour, red, celery-like stalk most often used in desserts like the ever-popular strawberry rhubarb pie. Rhubarb stalks are a great ingredient, but avoid the leaves: they’re high in oxalic acid, which causes kidney failure. Just 25 grams of oxalic acid would kill, but you’d need to eat 11 pounds of rhubarb leaves to get there.

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Asparagus berries

You’ll never see these in a grocery store but apart from the safe stems, the asparagus plant also produces red, poisonous berries. So if you ever find yourself on an asparagus farm or something, don’t eat the berries—even a handful will make you vomit

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Tomato vines & leaves

Technically tomatoes aren’t vegetables, but we’re still not putting them in fruit salads. And technically tomatoes aren’t toxic either, but their leaves and stems may be slightly poisonous. In fact, tomatoes were widely feared in medieval times.

These days we rarely see tomatoes plated with anything other than the red fruit, but if you’re served tomatoes “on the vine,” don’t eat the vine. Tomatine found in the stems and leaves are said to cause headaches and dizziness.

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Raw lima beans

Lima beans contain a toxin called limarin, which is only neutralized by cooking the beans for 15 minutes. Don’t be tempted to throw raw lima beans on salads, and don’t slow-cook raw beans without boiling first. Limarin is fatal at high doses, but even a couple raw lima beans can cause gastrointestinal distress. Canned is fine

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Raw kidney beans

Raw kidney beans contain phytohaemagglutinin, a toxic lectin, and must be boiled for 10 minutes before use in any recipe, including slow cooking. In fact, slow cooking raw kidney beans that haven’t been boiled multiplies the toxicity.

Raw kidney beans have killed rats in lab tests. In fact, just like gluten, avoidance diets targeting lectins like phytohaemagglutinin are starting to gain popularity.

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Underripe tomatillos

Each tomatillo grows on the vine shrouded by a papery “lantern,” which begins to dry and peel off on its own once the tomatillo is ripe. There’s some debate on whether or not the tomatillo inside is toxic before the lantern peels, but the fruit is sour at this stage anyway, and probably not worth the risk. All other parts of the plant—including the lantern, leaves, and stem—are poisonous, so wash your tomatillos well.

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Mystery mushrooms

Grocery store ‘shrooms are harmless, of course. But with the popularity of wild mushroom foraging on the rise, it’s important to remember the average forest isn’t all morels and chanterelles. Some mushrooms, like the intimidating “death cap” amanita phalloides, can kill in one bite. Unless you’re an expert or you brought one along, don’t taste anything until you’re sure.

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Cancer and wound Healing

Wound Healing

There are several factors that influence wound healing, and it can be especially difficult for patients on chemo therapy.

Factors that can influence wound healing may include:

Age. The older you are slower the healing process, exercise can help improve the healing process for older adults, the female hormone estrogen helps with healing, so women tend to heal better. Diabetes can slow the healing process, use of certain medications like steroids and chemotherapy, radiation, use of alcohol, smoking, poor nutrition and being overweight can all slow down the healing process.

Good Nutrition can help with the Healing process

Nutrition is important for healing for those surgical wounds or pressure ulcers. There are some key nutrients involved in this process, paying attention to them will reduce you hospital stay and help with wound healing.

Protein

Protein helps to build healthy tissue as the wound heals. The amount you need depends on your body weight, a Dietitian will be able to give you the grams of protein you will need for healing. Track your intake by keep a good food log, to do this you will have to read the food label to figure out the amount of protein in a particular food.

Some good protein sources are, all kinds of meats, eggs, dairy and dairy products, beans, tofu etc.

Protein

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an essential nutrient, it can be obtained from fruits and vegetables and low Vitamin C is a rare thing. This vitamin plays a big role in wound healing. High doses of this Vitamin are not recommended, start this vitamin supplementation only if recommend by your doctor. Dietary source should be your first go to.

Vitamin C

Zinc

This Mineral deficiency can happen to people with celiac disease, Crohn’s, short bowel syndrome and sickle cell diseases, some vegetarian and alcoholics as well. Zinc can be lost during processing of grains, look for whole grains and fortified breakfast cereals, red meats, beans, peas and Lentils are some other good sources. Zinc supplementation should be started in consultation with your Dietitian and should not be taken for more than 3 months.

Zinc-Rich-Foods

 

 


Tea Time

Tea Time

Tea is a source of many different types of antioxidants and phytochemicals, which may have wide-ranging health benefits. Black, green, white, and oolong are the most common forms of tea, and all come from different parts of the same plant. Herbal teas come from the flowers or roots of non-tea plants. Most of the research on tea has focused on green tea, because it is the most widely consumed beverage in the world, after water. The major phytochemicals in green tea include gallic acid, and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).

 

Possible benefits of tea

Green Tea

Stroke: Some animal studies have shown that green tea might help prevent stroke.

Cancer: Animal studies and cell studies have shown that extracts of green tea and tea polyphenols might help prevent the development and growth of many forms of cancer by limiting the growth of tumors, and stimulating the destruction of cancer cells.

Weight loss: Some studies have shown that, the green tea catechin epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) does aid weight-loss efforts. Some evidence shows that the polyphenol content of tea can increase endurance during exercise because of improved fat metabolism (Roberts et al., 2015).

Black Tea

Memory: It does appear hopeful that either green or black tea may help to slow the memory decline that occurs with aging. In one large study, it appears that people who drank either kind of tea at least five times a week had roughly a 30% slower rate of decline on annual Mini-Mental State Examinations than those who did not consume any tea.

Cardiovascular disease: The study of tea in relation to cardiovascular disease remains inconclusive regarding catechin effects on lipid levels, blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. The US Food and Drug Administration has deemed the evidence regarding green tea and heart health as “supportive, but not conclusive.”

Diabetes: Findings on diabetes and tea also are inconclusive, and the evidence seems even less convincing as more studies are completed.

Tea

Osteoporosis: A recent meta-analysis which examined the association between tea drinking and the risk of osteoporosis found that tea consumption can increase bone mineral density, but the researchers were unable to draw any conclusions about whether it can prevent fractures due to osteoporosis

Tooth decay: Both black and green teas seem to inhibit bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Parkinson’s disease: A study published in Parkinsonism & Related Disorders found that coffee, black tea, Japanese tea, and Chinese tea all decreased the risk of Parkinson’s disease.

Immune function and autoimmune disease: Research from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University shows that green tea increases the number of regulatory T cells that play a key role in immune function and suppression of autoimmune disease.

Tea terminology

Polyphenols: These are chemicals found in many foods, including tea. They are antioxidants.

Oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) scores: ORAC is a measure of antioxidants. Tea and many fruits and vegetables are ranked on the ORAC score.

Flavonoids: These polyphenols may have anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties.

Catechins: These are a form of flavonoids.

EGCG: EGCG is the catechin most present in tea and the catechin most studied for health benefits. EGCG is not fully absorbed by the body and is not “readily available” to the body.

Bottled teas

Bottled Tea

A bottle of a popular tea beverage is not likely to do much for you. The content of actual tea in these drinks is very minor. To obtain any benefits from tea, freshly brewed tea is a much better option.

Decaffeinated tea

It is not known whether decaffeinated teas have the same polyphenols or level of polyphenols as traditional brews.

Milk in tea

Tea with Milk

Originally, it was thought that milk blocked the absorption of catechins. It is now known that it does not, unless you plan to make your tea with milk and then let it sit for 1 hour or longer before drinking it.

Tea Time 2

 

 

 


Fat phobia

saturated-fat

Saturated fat, found in fatty animal foods like meats and dairy products, raises blood levels of cholesterol and is not healthy, but olive oil is beneficial for cardiovascular health and body weight. Olive oil, like canola, avocado and nut oils, is monounsaturated, and while it has as many calories as meat and dairy fat, it does not raise blood cholesterol or cause fat-clogging deposits in blood vessels. Human bodies do require intake of some fat. Not only does fat provide energy, it aids in nutrient absorption, provides essential fatty acids needed for various structures and molecules throughout the body, and contributes to satisfaction and fullness with food.

Healthy Oils

Low or Fat free
Food manufacturers have long produced reduced-fat and fat-free versions of many foods that were traditionally high in fat. Now it is simple to purchase items like cheeses, baked goods, crackers, ice creams, and salad dressings, among others, with less fat than the original product contains. Here is the catch: food manufacturers know that their reduced- and fat-free foods must still taste good in order to make sales. This often results in the addition of other ingredients in excess of what would normally be included, such as sugar or salt.

Low fat foods

Fat intake is linked to blood cholesterol. Eating unsaturated fats can decrease levels of low density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol, and possibly help to increase high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

Eating saturated and trans fats will increase LDL cholesterol, high LDL levels are often harmful. Trans fats, which are used in some commercial bakery products and fried foods, are unhealthy and should be avoided.

So, which foods should be eaten in their full-fat forms?

  • Yogurt: Plain yogurt or one without a lot of added sugar is best.

Yogurt

  • Frozen yogurt and ice cream: Lower fat, frozen desserts are likely higher in sugar, and may not be as satisfying as the full-fat version.

Yoghurt Berry Popsicle

  • Granola: Much of the fat in granola comes from healthy oils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Always check the label to be sure, and watch out for large amounts of added sugar.

Granola

  • Salad dressing: Full-fat salad dressing helps the body absorb several of the vitamins in the salad. Plus, lower fat salad dressings often include more sugar and starches as thickeners. Salad dressings made with olive or canola oil are the most heart-healthy.

salad-dressings

  • Butter: Butter is a saturated fat, but it may be a healthier choice than many margarines, or coconut oil. Use it in moderation, and wherever possible, substitute olive oil.
  • Peanut or other nut butter: Most of the fats in nut butters are unsaturated fats, and have been shown to have health benefits. Check the label to make sure there is no hydrogenated fat added, and no to minimal added sugar.

Peanut Butter

  • Avocados and olives: The fat in both of these foods is largely monounsaturated, and should be included as part of a healthy diet. Caution: both are high in calories, so eat them in moderation.

avocado-oil


Meet a Registered Dietitian this year

RD

New Year brings with it a lot of hopes, promises and resolutions, one of those promises that you make should be about watching what and how much you eat.

The daily promises about curative powers of everything from pet ownership to meditation. And various doctors discussing another superfood, it’s easy to see why most of us get confused about what we ought to be eating, taking or doing to optimize our health and when to seek advice from a Registered dietitian to learn the truth rather than listen to fluff.

RDN

The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 18 percent of Americans use herbal supplements. That’s more than twice the rate of the next-most-popular complementary medicines, chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation (8.5 percent) and yoga (8.4 percent).In addition, the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that 92 percent of Americans believe massage therapy is an effective treatment for reducing pain.

People are highly motivated now to try to stay healthy by taking vitamins, herbs and nutraceuticals, or by seeking out complementary and alternative medical treatments. People need to discuss these with their doctors and dietitian.

Vitamins, herbs and supplements

Traditional medicine, unfortunately, does focus on treating disease. Treating the whole person rather than just the symptoms of illness is becoming more mainstream and even conventional physicians are increasingly likely to discuss the nutraceuticals and wellness therapies patients have already prescribed for themselves.

Personal touch

Registered dietitians provide nutritional counseling, answer food/diet related questions, to become healthy and stay healthy, rather than just looking for Diet when sick.