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.


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.


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.

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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.



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.


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.





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.




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.





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.



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.






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.



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.)



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.




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.