Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients

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Benefits of plant based diet

While there is no known cure for certain disease, researchers have identified several lifestyle factors, including diet and exercise, which appear to affect not only the risk of developing Alzheimer’s, but also the progression of the disease. A recently published study called Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) determined that following an eating pattern that has components of the DASH and Mediterranean diets could reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 53%. Also encouraging is their finding that even for those with just moderate adherence to the diet, the reduction in risk is still 35%.


Both the DASH and Mediterranean diets are rich in plant foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, as well as healthy fats. The MIND study identified ten food groups that appear to be beneficial to brain health, and five others that are harmful to the brain, but the guidelines for the MIND diet are fairly general. With the exception of berries, which the research identified as a very potent brain-protecting fruit, regular consumption of any types of leafy green or other vegetables, all types of nuts, and any whole grains reduced the risk of Alzheimer’s, as did eating any type of fish or poultry. The length of time the MIND diet is followed also appears to be important. Those who ate the brain-healthy foods for longer periods of time appeared to have the most benefit.

Mediterranean Diet

Mediterranean diet 1

The 10 good MIND food groups

  • Beans
  • Berries (especially blueberries and strawberries)
  • Fish
  • Green, leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, arugula, Swiss chard, etc)
  • Nuts
  • Olive oil
  • Other vegetables (carrots, broccoli, green beans, cauliflower, etc)
  • Poultry
  • Whole grains (brown rice, farro, quinoa, oats, etc)
  • Wine

The 5 food groups to limit or avoid

  • Butter and stick margarine
  • Cheese
  • Fried or fast food
  • Pastries and sweets
  • Red meats

Tips to incorporate the diet The MIND diet is more about a consistent eating pattern rather than eating specific foods and quantities each day. Researchers identified the following dietary patterns in those with the lowest risk:

  • At least three servings of whole grains a day (e.g, oats, 100% whole-wheat bread, brown rice, or quinoa)
  • A salad and one other vegetable a day
  • A glass of wine a day
  • A serving of nuts a day (usually as a snack)
  • Beans every other day
  • Poultry and berries at least twice a week
  • Fish at least once a week


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The Good news

It’s not difficult to eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables every day is an important part of a healthy, active lifestyle. 

It promotes good health and may help lower the chances of getting high blood pressure, types 2 diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer. 

Everyone has the power to make choices to improve their health. The good news is that eating more fruits and vegetables is one of the easiest things you can do. 


What’s in fruits and Vegetables?

Fruits and vegetables are a great source of many vitamins, minerals and fiber the body needs. They are packed with all naturally occurring substances like phytochemicals that help protect against many diseases. 

Why eating fruits and vegetables is important?

Help manage weight, Lower chances for some cancers, Lower heart disease and stroke risk, reduced risk of High blood pressure as well as lower chances for diabetes. 

How much of fruits and vegetables do adults need?

Eating your fruits and vegetables is a lot easier than you might think. One cup- equivalent of most fruits and vegetables is the amount that would fit in a cup if chopped, or about 2 handfuls. The exceptions are raw leafy greens (2 cups count as 1 cup) or dried fruits (½ cup counts as 1 cup).

The Good News

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Pancreatic Cancer and Nutrition

Observe World Pancreatic Cancer Day by wearing 

Purple for a Purpose

PanCan Ribbon

November 13th is the world pancreatic cancer day. Worldwide there are around 280,000 new cases of pancreatic cancer each year and it is the seventh biggest cancer killer.

This cancer is chronically underfunded category for far too long. This is reflected in the dire survival rates between 3 to 6%, which haven’t improved for more than 40 years.

Pancreatic cancer affects the body’s pancreas, a small organ that plays a large role in digestion. Located deep within the abdomen, the pancreas sits between the stomach and the spine.


The pancreas secretes pancreatic fluid into the small intestine, pancreatic fluid helps digest foods that have been consumed. In cooperation with the small intestine’s digestive juices, the pancreatic fluid breaks down proteins, carbohydrates and fats, along with neutralizing the highly acidic stomach acid. The pancreas also releases hormones that help control blood-sugar level.

Maintaining proper nutrition while fighting pancreatic cancer is essential for the overall health and well-being. Proper nutrition helps enhance the immune system, improve strength, rebuild body tissues and decreases risk of developing infections. Even if you do not feel hungry, it is still important to fuel your body with high-calorie and high protein foods throughout the day.


Diet Tips

Since the pancreas is responsible for digesting foods, pancreatic cancer affects the body’s ability to absorb necessary nutrients from food. If nutrient absorption is affected for too long, the body could enter a state of malnutrition.

Pancreatic cancer also affects the organ’s ability to regulate blood-sugar levels, placing the body at a greater risk for developing diabetes.

Chemo Diet

Before your cancer treatment begins, fill your kitchen with healthy foods. Once treatment starts, you might experience unusual fatigue and weakness, making grocery shopping and meal preparation difficult. If necessary, ask friends and family members to help you prepare meals throughout your treatment. Aim to eat several small meals throughout the day with emphasis on Protein, carbohydrates and fat, in that order. If you simply cannot manage to eat many solid foods, use liquid supplements as meal replacement and/or snacks.

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New Fad…Activated Charcoal

Activated Charcoal 1

Activated charcoal and the type of charcoal that’s used in barbecues is not the same. Instead it’s carbon from wood, peat, coal or coconut shells; it becomes “activated” when high temperatures and gases create millions of tiny crevices that can bind drugs and toxins once it’s ingested. Activated charcoal is used in the emergency treatment of certain kinds of poisoning and drug overdoses. It prevents poisons from being absorbed into the body.

Activated Charcoal 2

Charcoal-based juices are catching on with detox fans. They’re touted to remove toxins from the body, cure flatulence, banish bloating, prevent hangovers and lower cholesterol. The evidence that activated charcoal does any of these things is scant and flimsy at best.

Some small studies have investigated the effectiveness of activated charcoal to reduce gas and blood cholesterol. And the findings were mixed. No research exists to back up the claim that activated-charcoal smoothies and juices clear toxic substances we ingest from food and the environment (e.g., pollutants, pesticide residues, alcohol).

Medical experts believe the healthy human body is well equipped to deal with toxins. And the gastrointestinal tract is only part of our body’s natural defense. Our skin, lungs, kidneys, liver and gut all play a role in removing or neutralizing toxic substances within hours of consumption.

Drinking a charcoal-based smoothie can aid the body’s detox process – but not because it’s made with activated charcoal. The fruits and leafy green vegetables supply vitamins, minerals and antioxidants the liver uses to neutralize and excrete toxins; fiber in flax and chia seeds helps the gut remove unwanted substances; and the water in the smoothie helps the kidneys filter out toxins. There are plenty of real, whole foods you can eat – or add to your smoothies – that have well-researched health benefits.

Activated charcoal is not without side effects. Pregnant or nursing women and the elderly should avoid it. Activated charcoal binds nutrients in foods and supplements, so regular use could deplete certain vitamins and minerals. It can also attach to certain medical drugs; if you take medication consult your doctor or pharmacist before using activated charcoal.

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The Hunger Games

Like cleanses, periodic fasting is focused on sacrifice. Based on “The Fast Diet,” by British physician Michael Mosley and journalist Mimi Spencer, this diet calls for intermittent restriction: You eat what you want five days a week, but twice a week you semi-fast, keeping yourself to 500 calories a day for women or 600 for men. It’s claimed that the occasional deprivation won’t just melt away pounds but can also protect against cardiovascular disease and cancer.

No Fasting

Fasting is not advised for people with an underlying health problem. There has been some research on very-low-calorie diets and longevity, but the studies weren’t large enough or long enough to draw any realistic conclusions for the average person. The research did not look at “eat whatever to want for 5 days and deprive yourselves for 2 days” regimen.

If you’re fasting to lose weight, you may want to reconsider. The weight loss may not last after you finish fasting. If your goal is to detox your body, you should know that there’s no proof that it works. Your body naturally detoxes itself.

Your body needs vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from food to stay healthy. If you don’t get enough, you can have symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, constipation, dehydration, and not being able to tolerate cold temperatures. Fasting too long can be life-threatening. Don’t fast, even for a short time, if you have diabetes, because it can lead to dangerous dips and spikes in blood sugar.

nutrient rich diet

Before you go on a new diet, particularly one that involves fasting, ask your doctor if it’s a good choice for you. Get a referral to a registered dietitian, who can show you how to design a healthy eating plan.

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Cutting Gluten

In the bestselling book “Wheat Belly,” cardiologist William Davis writes that modern, genetically modified strains of wheat are the cause of most Americans’ health problems and blames gluten, a protein found in wheat and related grains, such as barley and rye, that can cause an autoimmune response in people with celiac disease.

According to Davis, all people fare poorly on gluten, whether they have celiac disease or not, and swapping gluten-loaded breads and pastas for vegetables, meats and other wheat-free foods will lead to weight loss and better overall health.

There is little evidence to support it. There is a small group of people who have a pathological response to gluten, for such people it’s absolutely essential to eat a gluten-free diet. Others may be limiting their choices unnecessarily.

Limiting those choices may not always be a bad thing if it helps you cut out crackers and cookies and cakes, which may result in a lot fewer calories and you, may lose weight, but it has nothing to do with the gluten.

Please approach the popular anti-wheat polemic with caution, and not trade one set of unhealthful habits for another. It is possible to eat gluten-free junk food.

Now that gluten-free craze has caught on, there are many highly processed gluten-free foods available. Which means you can cut gluten and still get fatter and sicker.