Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients


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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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Add them to your Diet

Research suggests the following 10 nutrient-packed foods have the potential to slow aging in cells and promote longevity.

Avocados

avocado

They’re packed with anti-inflammatory monounsaturated fats – just like olive oil – along with plenty of folate, a nutrient that helps repair DNA and rids the body of homocysteine.

Add avocado to salads, soups and tacos; spread mashed avocado on whole-grain bread instead of butter or mayonnaise.

Beets

BeetsThese root vegetables are loaded with cancer-fighting anthocyanins and are a good source of folate. Beets also contain betaine, a B vitamin-like compound shown to reduce inflammation and homocysteine.

Add grated raw beets to salads and sandwiches; roast beets along with other winter vegetables; sauté cooked beets with a grated orange rind and a splash of orange juice.

 

 

 

Bran

BranA diet high in fiber – especially from cereal grains – is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular death. Fiber-rich cereals help keep blood cholesterol and blood pressure in check and improve insulin action.

Mix 1/2 cup of 100-per-cent bran cereal with your favorite breakfast cereal; add 1/4 cup bran to a smoothie; sprinkle bran cereal over fruit salad and yogurt.

 

Blackberries

Blackberry

High in fiber and vitamin C, blackberries are also packed with anthyocanins.

Stir blackberries into yogurt, blend them in a smoothie or add a handful to breakfast cereal; toss into a spinach salad; mix blackberries into muffin and pancake batters.

 

 

Cabbage

Cabbage

This cruciferous vegetable is packed with glucosinolates, phytochemicals that mop up free radicals and help the liver detoxify carcinogens. You’ll get more anti-cancer benefits if you eat cabbage raw or lightly cooked.

Add shredded cabbage to salads, soups, wraps and fish tacos; include cabbage in stir-fries; make homemade coleslaw with shredded carrot and fresh dill.

Lentils

Lentils

They’re high in plant protein and fiber, and an outstanding source of folate – one half-cup delivers nearly half a day’s worth.

Add lentils to pasta sauce instead of ground meat; toss cooked lentils into green salad; stir lentils into soups and stews.

 

 

 

Pomegranate

Pomegranate

The juicy seeds of this fruit are an excellent source of potent antioxidants called polyphenols. They’re also a source of fiber, folate and vitamin C.

Add pomegranate seeds to fruit and green salads, sprinkle over oatmeal, blend in smoothies, stir into yogurt and mix into muffin and pancake batters; top roasted vegetables with pomegranate seeds.

Pumpkin

Pumpkin

It’s an excellent source of alpha-carotene, a phytochemical shown to block the growth of cancer cells. Research suggests higher blood levels of the compound guard against cancer and cardiovascular disease.

Add pure pumpkin purée to smoothies, muffin, bread, cake and pancake batters; make a homemade soup with pumpkin purée, orange juice and curry power. (Pumpkin purée is sold in cans; unlike pumpkin pie filling it has no added sugar, fat or spices.)

Salmon

salmon

As one of the best sources of omega-3 fats, salmon may protect from heart disease, Alzheimer’s and macular degeneration. Higher blood levels of omega-3 (the type in fish) are also related to a slower rate of telomere shortening.

Add cooked salmon to an egg-white omelet; top a spinach salad with canned salmon as a change from tuna.

 

Spinach

Spinach_

This leafy green delivers when it comes to lutein (for eye health) and vitamin K (for strong bones). Like lentils, spinach is also an exceptional source of folate.