Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients


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Food Labels

In the last blog we learned a little bit about food labels, let’s take it a little further and figure out a few more details. Remember some numbers are in grams and others in milligrams.

Food Labels

Servings information

Serving size:

This is an amount of the food that is considered a single serving. The rest of the nutrition facts then provide information based on that amount. If the serving size says 1/2 cup, then the calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein, carbohydrates, fiber and other nutrients shown are for 1/2 cup of that food.

Servings per container:

This number tells you how many servings there are in the whole package. So if a package has 7 servings and you eat the whole package, you’ll be eating 7 times the calories and other nutrients. Yes! They add up.

Calories:

The calories are the number of calories in one serving. Don’t forget this important fact. So if you eat more than one serving, you have to multiply the calories by how many servings you eat. If a package says 1/2 cup is a serving and you eat 1 cup, that’s two times the servings (1/2 cup x 2 = 1 cup).

Fat, Cholesterol, & Sodium

Total Fat:

This is the number of grams of fat in a single serving. In a 2,000 calorie daily diet, most people should aim for between 45 and 78 grams of total fat per day, mostly from sources like plant oils, avocados, seeds and nuts.

Saturated fat:

This fat is often called a bad fat, but a little saturated fat in the diet may not be harmful. Most people should aim for 7-10% or less of their calories from this fat or about 20 grams or fewer per day based on a 2,000 calories diet.

Trans fat:

This is a bad fat. If the label shows trans-fats, find another food. Even if it says 0 grams, it’s important to look at the ingredient list to see if the word “hydrogenated” is on the list.

Cholesterol:

Most people are advised to consume less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day. Take a look at the number and pick foods with low cholesterol so it doesn’t add up to more than 300mg at the end of the day.

Sodium:

Most people should aim not to exceed 1,500 mg of sodium daily, while some are advised that 2,300 mg is safe. The label will say how many milligrams of sodium are in a single serving. It will also list a DV (Daily Value) showing what percentage of 2,300 mg  is in one serving.

Fiber, Vitamins and Minerals

Fiber:

This is listed in grams on the package. Women are advised to get 25 grams or more daily, men are advised to reach 35 grams.

Vitamins and Minerals:

Nutrition Facts panels are required to list Vitamins A, C, E and the mineral Iron. They will be listed by percent only. The goal is to achieve 100% over the course of the day.

Protein, Carbohydrates and Sugars

Protein

This will be listed in grams. Protein can help with feeling satisfied. Protein needs vary for people with kidney disease and other illness, on an average we need about 0.9 g x with your weight in kilograms. Not all foods will have protein.

Carbohydrates and Sugars:

Carbohydrates are listed in grams and there are many forms of carbohydrates from complex whole grains, fruits and veggies to simple sugars like honey, cane sugar (table sugar), and maple syrup among others. While recommendations for individuals will vary, carbohydrate recommendations can generally go up to 300 grams per day in a 2,000 calorie diet.

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Inflammation and your diet

Anti-inflammatory refers to the property of a substance or treatment that reduces inflammation or swelling.

Inflammation is associated with a number of chronic conditions, such as cancer and cardiovascular disease, obesity, and insulin resistance. There also is evidence that chronic inflammation may be associated with depression and may predispose individuals to dementia. Reducing inflammation may help prevent or treat these conditions. Diet has been shown to modulate inflammation.

What are Anti-inflammatory foods?

Anti-inflammatory foods include most colorful fruits and vegetables, oily fish (which contain higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids), nuts, seeds, and certain spices, such as ginger, garlic and cayenne.

Anti Inflammation-Diet

Anti-Inflammatory Diet

Sweets 

  • Eat Sparingly
  • Unsweetened dried fruit, dark chocolate, fruit sorbet
  • Dark chocolate provides polyphenols with antioxidant activity. Choose dark chocolate with at least 70 percent pure cocoa and have an ounce a few times a week. Fruit sorbet is a better option than other frozen desserts.

Red Wine

red-wine

  • Optional, no more than 1-2 glasses per day
  • Any red wine
  • Red wine has beneficial antioxidant activity. Limit intake to no more than 1-2 servings per day. If you do not drink alcohol, do not start.

Tea

Tea

  • 2-4 cups per day
  • White, green, oolong teas
  • Tea is rich in catechins, antioxidant compounds that reduce inflammation. Purchase high-quality tea and learn how to correctly brew it for maximum taste and health benefits.

Herbs and Spices

Spices

Spices collection on spoons

  • Unlimited amounts
  • Turmeric, ginger and garlic (dried and fresh), chili peppers, basil, cinnamon, rosemary, thyme
  • Use these herbs and spices generously to season foods. Turmeric and ginger are powerful, natural anti-inflammatory agents.

Animal Protein

Dairy-products

  • 1-2 servings a week
  • Natural cheeses, organic, high-quality dairy, omega-3 enriched eggs, skinless poultry and lean meats.
  • In general, try to reduce consumption of animal foods.  If you eat chicken, choose organic, cage-free chicken and remove the skin and associated fat.  Use organic, high-quality dairy products. If you eat eggs, choose omega-3 enriched eggs (made by feeding hens a flax-meal-enriched diet), or eggs from free-range chickens.

Cooked Mushrooms

Cooked Mushrooms

  • Unlimited amounts
  • Shiitake, enokidake, maitake, oyster mushrooms (and wild mushrooms if available)
  • These mushrooms contain compounds that enhance immune function. Never eat mushrooms raw, and minimize consumption of common commercial button mushrooms (including crimini and portobello).

Whole Soy Foods

soy-products

  • 1-2 servings per day
  • Tofu, tempeh, edamame, soy nuts, soymilk
  • Soy foods contain isoflavones that have antioxidant activity and are protective against cancer.  Choose whole soy foods over fractionated foods like isolated soy protein powders and imitation meats made with soy isolate.

Fish and Seafood

Fish1

  • 2-6 servings per week
  • Wild Alaskan salmon (especially sockeye), herring, sardines, and black cod (sablefish)
  • These fish are rich in omega-3 fats, which are strongly anti-inflammatory. If you choose not to eat fish, take a molecularly distilled fish oil supplement, 2-3 grams per day.

Healthy Fats

Healthy Fats

  • 5-7 servings per day
  • Extra virgin olive oil, and expeller-pressed canola oil. Other sources of healthy fats include nuts (especially walnuts), avocados, and seeds – including hemp seeds and freshly ground flaxseed. Omega-3 fats are also found in cold water fish, omega-3 enriched eggs, and whole soy foods. High-oleic sunflower or safflower oils may also be used, as well as walnut and hazelnut oils in salads and dark roasted sesame oil as a flavoring for soups and stir-fries
  • Healthy fats are those rich in either monounsaturated or omega-3 fats.  Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in polyphenols with antioxidant activity and canola oil contains a small fraction of omega-3 fatty acids.

Grains

grains

  • 3-5 servings a day
  • Brown rice, basmati rice, wild rice, buckwheat, groats, barley, quinoa, steel-cut oats
  • Whole grains digest slowly, reducing frequency of spikes in blood sugar that promote inflammation. “Whole grains” means grains that are intact or in a few large pieces, not whole wheat bread or other products made from flour.

Pasta (al dente)

Pasta

  • 2-3 servings per week
  • Organic pasta, rice noodles, bean thread noodles, and part whole wheat and buckwheat noodles like Japanese udon and soba
  • Pasta cooked al dente (when it has “tooth” to it) has a lower glycemic index than fully-cooked pasta. Low-glycemic-load carbohydrates should be the bulk of your carbohydrate intake to help minimize spikes in blood glucose levels.

Beans and Legumes

Legumes

  • 1-2 servings per day
  • Beans like Anasazi, adzuki and black, as well as chickpeas, black-eyed peas and lentils.
  • Beans are rich in folic acid, magnesium, potassium and soluble fiber.  They are a low-glycemic-load food.  Eat them well-cooked either whole or pureed into spreads like hummus.

Vegetables

Green-Leafy-Vegetables

  • 4-5 servings per day minimum
  • Lightly cooked dark leafy greens (spinach, collard greens, kale, Swiss chard), cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale, bok choy and cauliflower), carrots, beets, onions, peas, squashes, sea vegetables and washed raw salad greens
  • Vegetables are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.  Go for a wide range of colors, eat them both raw and cooked.

Fruits

fresh-fruits-vegetables-2419

  • 3-4 servings per day
  • Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, peaches, nectarines, oranges, pink grapefruit, red grapes, plums, pomegranates, blackberries, cherries, apples, and pears – all lower in glycemic load than most tropical fruits.
  • Fruits are rich in flavonoids and carotenoids with both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activity.  Go for a wide range of colors; choose fruit that is fresh in season or frozen.

Water

Water

  • Throughout the day
  • Water is the best choice if you must have something else then choose, beverages made with water, such as unsweetened tea, sparkling water, or water with a small amount of fruit juice for flavor
  • Water is vital for overall functioning of the body.

Anti Inflammatory


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Food trends to Explore

Currently there have been plenty of food trends just like fashion, and are ever changing, these can distract you from eating a daily balanced meal, some are even touted as cure all, nothing being further from the truth, but there are some trends like fashion worth exploring and choosing what appeals to you.

Hemp Seeds

Hemp Seeds

These nutty seeds have fiber, protein, and some ALA omega-3 fatty acids. Use them like you would other seeds – sprinkle on oatmeal and other cereals, or add to baked goods, yogurt or vegetables. You can also substitute hemp seeds for bread crumbs to make a crunchy crust on chicken or fish.

Ancient Grains

Ancient Grains

Explore new flavors and textures – something different from brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Try farro, red or black rice, quinoa, sorghum or millet. Whole grains are rich in fiber that can lower risk for colorectal cancer.

Home Delivery Meal Services

Home Deliver Meals

Getting ingredients or ready-to-assemble meals delivered straight to your door can be a convenient way to make healthy, home-cooked meals, especially for beginners.

To keep it budget-friendly, try it short-term to learn about portion sizes and healthy meal planning and preparation before you try to shop and prep on your own.

Sprouted Grains

sprouted-grains

Grains will germinate (sprout) with the right temperature and moisture. Sprouting may make vitamin C and some minerals more available for the body to use. Try them in homemade bread, stir fries, or pasta sauces.

Spiralized Veggies

Spiraled veges

Spiralizing is a great way to use colorful veggies in novel ways, adding interest to some of your go-to meals. Swap them for pasta, add them to salads, or stir-fry for an easy side dish.

Pulses and Legumes

Pulses and Legumes

Pulses include dry beans like kidney and pinto along with lentils, split peas and chickpeas. Pulses are high in protein and fiber and packed with vitamins and minerals. Substitute for meat and add to veggie dishes and salads.

Spice Stores

Spices

Beautiful, colorful and exotic spices catch, add amazing flavors that allow for the beginner and advanced cook to dress up simple dishes. Use spices to cut down on sodium, too. Boutique spice stores offer a huge variety along with recipes for how to use them.

 


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Soy Foods and Cancer

soy-products

Soy foods are the only commonly consumed foods that provide significant amounts of isoflavones.

Soy Milk

Isoflavones are plant chemicals that are also called phytochemicals, have biological activity but are not nutrients. These compounds are referred to as plant estrogens or phytoestrogens. Foods that are rich in isoflavones include soy foods like tofu, soymilk, miso, and tempeh. Most of these soy foods contain about 3½ milligrams of isoflavones for every gram of protein.

Tofu

For example, ½ cup of regular tofu has about 8 grams of protein and about 28 milligrams of isoflavones. Certain types of food processing reduce the amount of isoflavones in foods. Products such as soy-based meat analogs often have much lower amounts of isoflavones. Soy is also sometimes added to foods like breads, cereals, and meat products, and used as a meat substitute in vegetarian products such as soy burgers and soy hot dogs.

Soyburger

In Asia, women who eat the most soy have a lower risk of breast cancer compared to women who eat little soy. Evidence suggests that this is true only if they also ate soy early in life. Eating soy foods during childhood and the teen years may protect breast tissue from cancer. Beginning soy consumption later in life doesn’t appear to have any effect on risk of getting breast cancer.

However, women with breast cancer who eat soy foods are less likely to see their cancer return and are less likely to die from their cancer. The American Cancer Society states that women with breast cancer can safely consume soy foods.

Isoflavone

Men may also benefit from eating soy foods. In Asia, men who eat the most soy have about one-half the risk of getting prostate cancer compared to men who eat little soy. For men who have prostate cancer, soy may be helpful as well. One small study found that soy isoflavones reduced some of the side effects of treatment for prostate cancer.

Human studies support the safety of both isoflavone supplements and soy foods. Isoflavones have no effect on estrogen levels in women or testosterone levels in men. Clinical studies show they also have no effect on sperm or semen.

Soyfoods have no effect on thyroid function in people with normal thyroids. However, for those who take thyroid pills, changes in soyfood intake may require changes in the amount of medicine needed. Your doctor can make these adjustments.


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Game Time Snacks

Chips are a party food staple, but are generally high in calories and low in nutrients. Baking your own apple chips makes for a delicious, crunchy snack that’s great for a crowd, packed with plentiful nutrition, and fat-free.

Baked Apple Chips

There’s more than one benefit to this slightly sweet snack. Apples contain dietary fiber, as well as a variety of flavonoid and triterpenoid phytochemicals, such as quercetin, being studied for their anti-cancer effects. In laboratory studies, quercetin and other flavonoids in apples have slowed the development of cancers of the colon, lung, and breast in several stages of cancer development.

This recipe (below) also calls for a little cinnamon and sugar, creating a wonderful, spiced aroma throughout the house as they bake .

Healthy Halftime Show Stoppers

Toast strips of whole-wheat pita bread to go with dips including light hummus, sundried tomato, and your favorite salsa, or use blue corn tortilla chips. Blue tortilla chips get their color from anthocyanins, which are naturally occurring plant antioxidants that may protect against cancer.

Toasted Pita Bread with Hummus

Baked Apple Chips

  • 4 large apples (any variety)
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

Slice apples horizontally into very thin rounds, using a sharp knife or mandolin (remove any seeds that do not fall out as you cut). Lay the slices in a single layer on parchment paper, and sprinkle lightly with the cinnamon sugar (combined). Bake at 250°F for 1 hour, flip slices, and bake for an additional hour (2 hours total). Chips will continue to crisp up as they cool.

Tip: Don’t peel your apples! The peel contains a third or more of its phenolic (cancer-fighting) compounds.

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 60 calories, 17 g carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber, 0 g total fat,

0 g protein, 0 mg sodium

Berry Yogurt Popsicles

Yoghurt Berry Popsicle

Layers of mashed red cherries, blackberries and white Greek yogurt make for a healthier, lower sugar version of store-bought treats. Berries are rich in phytochemicals like anthocyanins and ellagic acid, compounds that counter inflammation and act as antioxidants.

Makes 12 paper cup popsicles.

Per serving: 69 calories, 0 g total fat (0 g saturated fat),

12 g carbohydrate, 5 g protein, 1 g dietary fiber, 18 mg sodium.

Ingredients

  • 1½ cup pitted fresh or frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blackberries
  • 1 Tbsp. honey
  • 24 oz. vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 12 (3 oz.) paper cups and 12 popsicle sticks

Directions

In small mixing bowl mash cherries and berries. Drizzle on honey and mix together.

In paper cups, layer alternating spoonfuls of yogurt and fruit until full. Place Popsicle stick or plastic spoon in each cup. Freeze.

When ready to serve, tear paper cup off Popsicle and enjoy.


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Fermentation and Nutrition

Humans have been fermenting foods for thousands of years.

FermentedFoods

Food fermentation is defined as taking a raw material and converting that raw material to a desirable product in which flavor, aroma, texture, and appearance of that raw material is drastically changed.

Fermentation is a natural metabolic process in which microorganisms convert carbohydrates into either alcohol or acid. Through these conversions, certain microorganisms play a role in two of the most important functions of food processing: food preservation and food safety. Fermentative bacteria, yeasts, and molds (the Good) preserve foods by producing metabolites such as lactic acid, acetic acid, propionic acid, ethanol, and bacteriocins that suppress the growth of spoilage microorganisms (the Ugly) and pathogenic microorganisms (the Bad) that are naturally present in foods.

Fermenting

Fermentative microorganisms also enhance the organoleptic properties of foods.

It is especially important to ferment or cook the cruciferous vegetables; these vegetables have important anti-cancer properties. But if they’re not cooked or fermented first, they tend to depress the thyroid, which lowers your energy and gives you a tendency to gain weight.

Fermentation makes the foods easier to digest and the nutrients easier to assimilate, since much of the work of digestion is already done and it doesn’t use heat, fermentation also retains enzymes, vitamins, and other nutrients that are usually destroyed by food processing.

  •  Sauerkraut: Made from shredded or chopped cabbage, salted and jarred in its own liquid, then left to ferment for a few weeks before going into the refrigerator.
  •  Kimchi: A traditional Korean side dish that often starts with cabbage and can include other vegetables and seasonings such as chili peppers.
  •  Kombucha: A drink made by adding a starter culture of bacteria and yeast to tea, sugar and other flavorings. It can contain varying amounts of alcohol.
  • Natto: Fermented soybeans.
  • Miso: A Japanese seasoning, made from soybeans.
  • Kefir: It is a fermented milk-based drink made by the actions of a legion of symbiotic microorganisms. Kefir is a very complex probiotic. There are over 30 different species of organisms in kefir, including lactic acid bacteria and yeast. These microorganisms are encased in a matrix of milk proteins and polysaccharides called kefir grains, which resemble small clumps of cauliflower or popcorn. Cow’s milk is most commonly used to make kefir, but the beverage can be made by inoculating any type of milk with kefir grains. This can be done simply enough in home kitchens but is impractical for commercial kefir products. Commercial kefir products are thus made with a starter culture instead of actual kefir grains, which means commercial kefir products tend not to have the same properties (fewer probiotics, diminished health benefits, etc.) as traditional kefir.