Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients

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


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.


Working with Leftovers

Next time you’re cooking vegetables and are about to toss out those vegetable parts STOP they are perfectly edible, and are packed with nutrition and flavor.

Here are some tips and tricks to make the most of your veggies. They’ll help you eat more of a variety of vegetables. You’ll also reduce food waste and save money.

Squash seeds

Roasted pumpkin seeds are a fall favorite, but you can roast seeds from any winter squash, including butternut, acorn, and spaghetti squash. Squash seeds are a great source of protein.

To roast, scoop out seeds, rinse and drain. Let them dry, spread flat on a baking pan and bake at 300 F for about 20-30 minutes until golden brown.

Roasted Squash Seeds

Beet greens

Buy beets with the greens still attached and it’s like getting two vegetables in one. Beet greens contain loads of vitamin C and beta-carotene — nutrients linked to lower cancer risk.

Separate the greens from the beets by cutting just above where the stem begins. They’re great sautéed in olive oil, with garlic, salt, and pepper to taste. Or combine beets and greens in one dish.

Beet Greens

Broccoli stems

No need to toss broccoli stems, they are delicious raw or added to stir-fries, stems are rich in cancer-protective vitamin C and fiber.

Use a vegetable peeler or large knife to remove the thick, tough outer layer of the broccoli stem then incorporate broccoli stems and florets into the same dish.

Broccoli stems

Broccoli leaves

Broccoli leaves look a lot like collard greens but taste sweeter. Dark green broccoli leaves are rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene and sulforaphane, a phytochemical with anti-cancer properties.

Prepare these nutritional powerhouses like you would any other green. Braising is a great option The braising technique works for any green.

Broccoli leaves

Potato and sweet potato peels

Potato peels are the perfect way to add extra fiber, nutrients, and texture to any dish. You’ll get more minerals and about a third more fiber by eating the skin.

Leave the peels on when mashing potatoes, this works particularly well for red potatoes. You can also leave the peel on when baking or roasting potatoes or sweet potatoes. Be sure to scrub the vegetables well if you’re planning to eat the peel.

Potato peels

Sweet potato leaves

These leaves are tender and mild. They are also a good source of vitamins A and K, and carotenoids.

Look for sweet potato leaves at your farmer’s market or at local gardens, and try them lightly braised.

Please note that sweet potato leaves are edible, some potato leaves and stems can be poisonous. If you’re not sure; avoid them.

Sweet potato leaves

Cauliflower stems

Use the whole cauliflower, including the stem. Cut all the way through a cauliflower head from the top to stem, peel the stem with a potato peeler and add to the same dish.