Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients


1 Comment

Effect of Carbs

carbs

There are questions about possible negative health effects of some carbs, such as fructose, which is found in sugar and high-fructose corn syrup, and galactose, which is found in milk. But the question of how carbs affect health is mostly focused on how quickly and efficiently the body can break the molecule down and deliver glucose to the bloodstream.

But you don’t eat carbohydrates; you eat food, so it’s useful to categorize foods by the type of carbohydrates.

simple-carbs

Simple-carb foods are those that your body breaks down quickly and easily, such as sweeteners (sugar, honey, maple syrup) and refined grains (white flour, pasta, white rice). These are the carbs that tend to spike blood sugar.

Complex-carb foods, which include whole grains and legumes, have large, complex molecules that are more difficult to digest and don’t cause the same rapid increase in blood sugar.

complex-carbs

The simple/complex classification isn’t perfect. Many fruits and vegetables contain both types of carbohydrates: Some get broken down quickly, others more slowly. And it’s not always true that whole foods are digested slowly while refined foods are digested quickly. Potatoes, for example, have lots of carbohydrates in the form of starch, which is broken down quickly.

refined-grains

Carbohydrates in refined grains — bread, white rice, pasta — come packaged with some fiber, some protein and even a few other nutrients, their calories aren’t quite as empty, and the speed with which they’re digested varies. (Refined flour is also fortified with folate, essential to reducing the risk of fetal neural tube defects.)

white-bread

White bread, for example, lets loose a flood of glucose, so your blood sugar spikes, but pasta, particularly if it’s not overcooked, doesn’t have that effect. Although the ingredients of the two foods are almost identical, pasta has a difficult molecular structure that your body can’t break down as quickly.

glycemic-index

There is a measure for how much a particular food increases your blood sugar: the glycemic index, or GI. When carbohydrates in a food get converted quickly, that causes a spike in insulin, which your pancreas releases to prompt cells to absorb the glucose. The hormones that your body releases in response can make you feel hungry.

 


Leave a comment

The Mediterranean Diet

The Mediterranean diet is one of the oldest diets around and not quite as trendy or weight-loss-focused as some others. But it’s a favorite of doctors and dietitians; there are numerous studies that suggest it can lower the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Mediterranean diet

The Mediterranean Diet is more than a diet. It is a lifelong living style. You have to adopt it, as a religion. Decades ago, it was the natural way of life of many people around the Mediterranean Basin.

The Mediterranean Diet is the best way to live many years with a high quality of life. It is also the best way to keep your body in shape, your skin clean and beautiful and your internal organs working properly. It is the best diet to lead you to a proportional weight and won’t endanger your health with urgent and unbalanced malnutrition. Fad diets may allow you to lose a few pounds, for a time, a weight that you will regain later after having lost part of your health. You may not know immediately, but the aftermath will come later.

mediterranean diet pyramid

There is something that you should take into account. The Mediterranean Diet is free, without any supplements or packs. Consequently, there is no economic interest behind it. The only money you are going to spend is your own investment in adequate and fresh food, fruits and vegetables.

Mediterranean diet 1

The key components of the diet are:

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats, such as olive oil
  • Using herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods
  • Limiting red meat to no more than a few times a month
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week
  • Drinking red wine in moderation (optional)

The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active and enjoying meals with family and friends.