Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients

Know your Oils….


When it comes to cooking, some oils can handle the heat better than others. “Smoke point” is the temperature at which oil starts to break down. Oils with high smoke points (such as vegetable, peanut and sesame) are good for frying or high-heat stir-frying, while oils with low smoke points (flaxseed or walnut) work well in salad dressings and dips. Discard cooking oil if it starts to smoke; it’s lost some of its nutritional value and it could impart a bitter, unpleasant taste to food.

Heat and light damage most oils. Over time, these elements cause oil to degrade and lose some of its nutrients. Store oil in a cool, dark place and replace it if it smells bitter or “off.” Some oils — particularly polyunsaturated oils such as grapeseed or walnut oil — may turn rancid faster than other oils. Store these oils in the refrigerator to prolong their usability.

Plant oils are a rich source of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs and PUFAs, respectively). When used in place of saturated fats, these heart-healthy fats may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke by improving related risk factors such as total and LDL blood cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation. Plant oils also provide essential nutrients such as vitamin E to help build and maintain cells in the body.


Canola Oil

Low in saturated fat and high in mono- and polyunsaturated fats, including omega-3s, canola oil has a light flavor that makes it a versatile ingredient. Replace solid fats such as butter or margarine with canola oil when cooking or baking. Canola oil works well for sautéing and stir-frying, and for coating pots, pans and the grill to prevent sticking.


Flaxseed Oil

With omega-6 and omega-9 essential fatty acids, heart-healthy flaxseed oil is often cited as a vegetarian alternative to fish oil. Flaxseed oil has a low smoke point, so it’s not ideal for cooking. Instead, enjoy a drizzle over quinoa or combine it with herbs and vinegar to make a salad dressing.



The green hue, a buttery, nutty flavor and a composition of more than 70-percent monounsaturated fat, avocado oil is a heart-nourishing choice. Thanks to its high smoke point, avocado oil is ideal for sautéing and frying fish or chicken, but it also is a great finishing oil and a flavorful base for salad dressing.


Peanut Oil

Peanut oil is a common monounsaturated fat and contains vitamin E. This oil is often used in deep frying because of its high smoke point, while its distinctive flavor makes it great for stir-fries and ginger dressing.



Walnut oil is made from dried and cold-pressed nuts; it has a high concentration of alpha-linolenic acid that partially converts to omega- 3s, which supports heart health. Walnut oil doesn’t stand up to high heat, so its rich, nutty flavor is best used as a dressing or flavor enhancer rather than for cooking. Store this oil in the refrigerator.



Coconut oil is extracted from the fruit of mature coconuts and is a saturated fat. Virgin coconut oil is high in lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid. Preliminary studies show that this acid may have a neutral or beneficial effect on cholesterol levels. Coconut oil has a sweet flavor and is often substituted for shortening or butter in vegan recipes. It imparts a tropical flavor to vegetables, curry dishes and fish.



Corn oil is an all-purpose cooking oil with a mild flavor and aroma, it is high in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Corn oil is ideal for baking, sautéing or stir-frying. Use it to create flavorful Southwestern soups, stews or quesadillas.


Sack of sesame seeds and glass bottle of oil

Sesame oil is rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Sesame oil is typically used in Asian cuisines and has a sweet, nutty flavor. Toasted sesame seed oil has a more intense flavor and aroma. Drizzle it over an Asian cabbage slaw with a sprinkle of black sesame seeds.

Pumpkin Seed


Pumpkin seed oil has a deep color and rich, nutty flavor. This oil delivers a heart-healthy boost from its linolenic acid content, although it’s not as plentiful as in walnut oil. Use this oil’s intensity with a drizzle over squash soup or create a flavorful salad dressing.



Extracted from grape seeds (a byproduct of wine-making), this oil is rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which lowers total cholesterol. Grapeseed oil has a moderately high smoke point, which makes it great for sautés and frying. It can also be used in dressings and dips for vegetables.


Vegetable oil

Often soybean oil or a blend of soybean and other oils, vegetable oil contains primarily polyunsaturated fats and considerable monounsaturated and saturated fat. With a neutral flavor and good heat tolerance, this all-purpose oil is best used in baking and sautéing.


sunflower oil

While standard sunflower oils are high in polyunsaturated fatty acids (specifically linoleic acid), high-oleic versions are significantly higher in monounsaturated fats. Unrefined sunflower oil breaks down at high temperatures use it for dressings or as finishing oil. Refined sunflower oil has a higher smoke point and neutral flavor and color, making it ideal for high-heat cooking such as baking, frying or sautéing.



olive Oil 3

Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which may help reduce the risk of heart disease. Extra-virgin olive oil has less acid, a fruitier flavor and stronger aroma than pure or virgin olive oil. Olive oil labeled as “light” is often lighter in hue or flavor, but not lighter in calories. Use olive oil in dressings, sautés, cakes, for dipping and to fry vegetables and meat.



Dinner is served

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

Cauliflower and chickpea curry

 Combine roasted cauliflower with chickpeas and coconut milk, season with curry powder and you have a delightful way to eat this cancer-preventive crucifer.

Roasting cauliflower causes its natural sugars to caramelize, which brings out a more delicate nutty flavor and keeps it more formed. The combination of roasted cauliflower and tomatoes with sautéed onions and garlic, wilted baby spinach and chickpeas produces a wonderful garden flavor. The chickpeas contribute their own nutty flavor and a crunchy texture while providing health-promoting fiber and plant-based protein.

Curry connotes dishes and sauces made with a mixture of pungent spices, usually turmeric, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, ginger, garlic and chilies. Common in India and South Asian countries, curry dishes vary from country to country, even within country regions. Curry colors range from yellow, red, green to brown and the amount of spices used, as few as five to more than twenty, also varies. Curry powder is a mixture of spices commonly found in curries and is said to be an invention of the British who wanted to replicate Indian cuisine they enjoyed during the British Raj. Most curry powders include turmeric, which gives curries their yellow color. Curcumin is the compound in turmeric that gives it its golden hue and is showing promise as an anti-cancer and anti-inflammation phytochemical.

  • 1 large cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 1½ pints cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil, divided
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. curry powder
  • 2 (15 oz.) cans no salt added chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup light coconut milk
  • 1½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 3 cups baby spinach

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In large mixing bowl, toss cauliflower and tomatoes with 1 tablespoon oil and arrange in single layer on rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until florets are browned in spots and tomatoes are soft, about 25 minutes.

In medium pot, heat remaining oil over medium-high heat and sauté onion, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and curry powder and sauté an additional 3-4 minutes.

Add chickpeas, coconut milk and broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer 8 minutes.

Gently stir cauliflower and tomatoes into pot and cook 6 minutes. Stir in spinach and cook 1-2 minutes, until spinach wilts. Serve hot or let cool and refrigerate to serve chilled later.

Makes 8 servings.

Per serving: 224 calories, 9g total fat, (3g saturated fat), 30g carbohydrate, 10g protein, 9g dietary fiber, 67 mg sodium.

Lime and Chicken Soup with Avocado

Lime and Chicken Soup with Avocado

Combine chicken with lime and a medley of vegetables and herbs to enjoy an unusual soup that is healthy and satisfying. Limes, like lemons, are an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin C and a good source of the B vitamin folate. Loaded with phytochemicals like limonoids and flavonoids. Avocado also adds beneficial monounsaturated fat and vitamin E.

You can prepare this easy-to-make soup with leftover chicken. And, the soup itself makes a great leftover. Simply refrigerate it or freeze for a super cold day with little time to cook. Whether enjoyed freshly made or reheated later, Lime and Chicken Soup with Avocado is part of a cancer prevention home menu because of its powerful combination of lime, vegetables, herbs and spices.

  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium jalapeño pepper, seeded, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) no salt added diced tomatoes
  • 6 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1½ tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 3 medium limes, 2 cut in half, 1 cut into 6 wedges for garnish
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, rinsed, chopped
  • 1 medium avocado, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

In soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, celery, jalapeño and garlic for 6 minutes or until tender. Add whole chicken breast, corn, tomatoes, broth, Italian seasoning, oregano and cumin to pot. Stir to mix ingredients. Over high heat bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 55 minutes.

Remove chicken breast to large platter and shred using two folks. Return chicken to soup. Squeeze juice of 2 limes into soup. Add cilantro and gently stir. Ladle soup into serving bowls. Top each bowl with avocado, garnish with lime wedge and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Per serving: 258 calories, 12 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 18 g carbohydrate, 24 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 589 mg sodium.

Noise about coconut


Coconut water is the clear liquid found in young coconuts. Coconut milk is a thicker, white liquid made from adding water to pulped coconut meat and Coconut cream is similar to coconut milk, but it’s made with a higher ratio of coconut to water.

Keep in mind there is no one heal-all Super food. For cancer prevention and overall good health, there is no substitute for the three basics: an overall healthy diet, staying a healthy weight, and daily physical activity.

Patients with cancer are usually given dietary guidelines meant to help deter cancer growth. The guidelines typically recommend eating more fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods.


The drawback to coconut water is that it’s high in sodium. In fact, the sodium content is higher than that found in a small 1-ounce bag of potato chips, if you are eating or drinking it regularly, make sure to watch how much sodium you are getting throughout the day.

In addition to stimulating metabolism, coconut milk helps balance blood sugar levels by preventing insulin spikes. It is also considered a good laxative, according to “Natural Standard Herb & Supplement Reference: Evidence-based Clinical Reviews.” Some of the fatty acids in coconut milk, such as lauric, capric and caprylic acids, display antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties, which can enhance immune function. Furthermore, coconut milk contains kinetin riboside, a compound shown to inhibit the growth of multiple myeloma and many other cancers in animal studies, including prostate, colon and breast cancer and lymphomas.


Coconut milk is not regarded as an effective remedy against cancer by current medical authorities. Animal studies conducted on some of the compounds in coconut milk are encouraging, but much more human research is needed before any recommendations can be made.