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


Survive and Thrive after Cancer

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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.

Dining Out1

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.


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

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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

 


Diet for cancer prevention

Talk about Cancer Prevention

Vegan Diet

We hear about super foods like blueberries, Green tea, Tomatoes and cruciferous cauliflower. Then there are the foods such as smoked meat and fried foods that supposedly might cause cancer, but is it so?

The role of nutrition in cancer prevention is much more complex than a single dietary component. There is evidence, that diet, weight control and exercise  is vital in helping reduce risk, experts endorse general dietary advice that is healthful for a variety of chronic diseases and conditions, rather than reductionist thinking that focuses on single foods or nutrients. Reductionist thinking neglects the broader approaches of cancer nutrition research, including eating patterns and the mechanisms of microbiology.

Cancer is complicated

When you hear that a certain food helps prevent cancer, ask: Which cancer? Cancer is really over 100 different diseases. Cancer is a very complex and a very challenging disease. Cancer occurs when abnormal cells divide uncontrollably. Different cancers can have somewhat different risk factors, which may or may not overlap. The cancers linked to tobacco, for example, might differ from those linked to radiation or chemical exposure.

For a while, attention focused on folic acid and Vitamin E, which didn’t quite live up to all its hopes, at least for cancer. Now there’s a great deal of interest in vitamin D, selenium etc.

Tobacco use remains the leading preventable cause of cancer incidence and death worldwide. After tobacco, diet, weight control and exercise may be linked to one-third to two-thirds of cancers.

 

Excess weight

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There is a strong link between excess weight and several kinds of cancer, including the esophagus, breast (after menopause), endometrium, colon and rectum, kidney, pancreas, thyroid, gallbladder, according to the NCI. Exercise helps balance calories consumed and calories burned.

 

The lifestyle impact

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Fourteen types of cancer seemed affected by lifestyle behavior, most particularly gallbladder, endometrial, liver and colorectal. For men and women, a healthful weight and physical activity were the top factors in reduced deaths overall.

Dietary patterns

Another approach to cancer and nutrition considers dietary patterns, which means what we eat over long term. Several diets that emphasized fruit, vegetables, whole grains and plants or plant-based proteins were analyzed. Consuming a high-quality diet was associated with lower death rates from chronic diseases including cancer.

For researchers in the field of developmental nutrition, the quest is not what you eat, but when you eat it.

For breast cancer, for example, researchers are looking at nutrition at birth and time of first period through first pregnancy. Evidence is increasing that eating red meat in high school might have a bearing on the development of some kinds of breast cancer decades later. Also, alcohol consumption by young women may raise the risk of breast cancer later in life.

Personalized diet advice

Lime and Chicken Soup with Avocado

Nutrigenomics, considers what we eat, the components in our foods and their interactions with genetic processes, until then eat all foods , maintain a healthy weight and engage in daily exercise,  someday research on our genetic and biochemical differences might lead to personalized dietary recommendations to reduce cancer risk.