Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients


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Colorless Vegetables

Colorless

I have discussed many times about choosing colorful fruits and vegetables, since the darker and brighter the colour, the more nutrients and phytochemicals are packed in the produce.

Vegetables

Blueberries and raspberries, for instance, owe their deep blue and red hues to anthocyanins, powerful compounds thought to guard against cardiovascular disease and cancer and boost cognitive function.

Summer berries on white

Brightly coloured orange and green vegetables, such as spinach and carrots, are exceptional sources of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage.

Carrots and greens

We have been asked to avoid the white stuff like, white sugar, white flour, white rice etc. because colorless foods are missing fibre and protective phytochemicals and they’re a poor source of many nutrients. Many score high on the glycemic index scale, meaning that their carbohydrates are broken down and absorbed quickly, causing blood sugar and insulin to rise rapidly.

Despite all this do not give up on some of the colorless. Despite their pale color, some are surprisingly plentiful in vitamins, minerals and beneficial plant compounds.

These five nutritious white foods should be included in your diet.

Mushrooms

Mushrooms deliver good nutrition, One cup of raw whole mushrooms provides 20 per cent to 25 per cent of a day’s worth of niacin, a B vitamin that’s used to make stress hormones, improve circulation and reduce inflammation, have 21 calories and 3 grams of protein.

medley-mushrooms

Mushrooms are also an excellent source of selenium, a mineral that acts as an antioxidant, helps make DNA and plays an important role in thyroid function. Mushrooms also supply potassium, copper and iron.

Potatoes

Potatoes are often thought to have little nutritional value, the white potato is surprisingly nutritious. One medium baked potato serves up 22 milligrams of vitamin C along with plenty of B6, folate and magnesium.

Potatoes 2

A medium potato has 941 mg of Potassium, 20 per cent of a day’s worth.

Potatoes can help ward off hunger, too. According to researchers from the University of Sydney, boiled white potatoes scored highest on the satiety index, a tool that ranks foods by their ability to satisfy hunger. Researchers tested 38 different foods, including breads, breakfast cereals, grains, fruits, protein-rich foods and snack foods.

Some varieties of white potato have a high glycemic index (GI), like russet potatoes but red and new potatoes have moderate GI scores.

The glycemic index of potatoes also depends on how you cook them.

Eaten cold (precooked) or reheated, potatoes have low to moderate GI value. Cooling cooked potato starch changes its structure making it resistant to digestion in the small intestine. Leave the skin on when you cook potatoes. It contains fibre and nutrients, and it helps retain the vitamin C in potatoes.

Parsnips

This vegetable has very little pigmentation, has all the disease-fighting phytochemicals or nutrients.

Parsnips Isolated on White

Parsnips are packed with falcarinol, a phytochemical with anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Animal research suggests that falcarinol may reduce the growth of colon cancer cells. Parsnips contain five times more falcarinol than brightly coloured carrots.

Parsnips are also nutrient-dense. One cup of cooked parsnip, for example, serves up 5.5 g of fibre, 572 mg of potassium, 20 mg of vitamin C and almost one-quarter of a day’s worth of folate.

Enjoy parsnips roasted with herbs or cooked and mashed with other root vegetables such as carrot, turnip or sweet potato. Make parsnip chips. Slice parsnips thinly, brush with olive oil and bake until crisp.

Bananas

Bananas have a high potassium content 422 mg per one medium banana. They’re also an exceptional source of B6, a vitamin that’s needed for protein metabolism and to maintain healthy nerve and brain function. One medium banana supplies one-third of a day’s worth of the nutrient for adults aged 19 to 50 and 25 per cent of a day’s worth for older adults.

bananas

Bananas also provide fiber, vitamin C, folate, niacin and magnesium, and they also have a low glycemic index value of 51 (GI values less than 55 are considered low).

They have resistant starch so bananas are considered a prebiotic as well, a food that feeds beneficial gut bacteria.

Onions

This vegetable does more than add flavour to meals. It also provides a little vitamin C, folate, calcium and potassium.

Oninons

Onions are high in flavonols, phytochemicals that neutralize harmful free radicals and suppress inflammation. One particular flavonol, called quercetin, has been linked to protection from lung cancer, asthma and diabetes.

Observational research suggests that a moderate intake of onions may reduce the risk of colorectal, laryngeal and ovarian cancers.

Organosulfur compounds in onions, the same chemicals that give onions their distinctive flavour, have also been shown to have anti-bacterial, anti-cancer and cholesterol and blood pressure lowering properties.

 

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What are energy-dense foods?

Most foods provide us with energy (calories), but some foods contain more energy per ounce than others. Energy-dense foods tend to be processed foods with sugar and fat added to them. The result is more calories per ounce.

For example, 3.5 oz. of chocolate contains 10 times more calories than the same amount of apple:

3.5 oz. of milk chocolate = 520 calories
3.5 oz. of apple = 52 calories

hi-lo energy density foods

It can be difficult to control how much energy you are consuming if you eat a lot of energy-dense foods because you only need to eat a small amount to take in a lot of calories. It’s okay to eat energy-dense foods occasionally, or in small quantities, but try not to make them the basis of your diet. By choosing a diet based on low-energy-dense foods, you can actually eat more food but consume fewer calories.

Plant foods can also help us to maintain a healthy weight because many of them are lower in energy density (calories).

Foods that are low in energy density, like the apple, are high in fiber and water. Most vegetables, fruits and beans fall into the low-energy-dense category. This can be another reason to base your diet on plant-based foods.

Low density foods

Research shows that vegetables and fruits probably protect against a range of cancers, including mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, stomach, lung, pancreas and prostate. There are many reasons why vegetables and fruits may protect against cancer. While containing vitamins and minerals, which help keep the body healthy and strengthen our immune system, they are also good sources of substances like phytochemicals. These are biologically active compounds, which can help to protect cells in the body from damage that can lead to cancer.

Soluble Fiber

Foods containing fiber are also linked to a reduced risk of cancer. These foods include whole-grain bread and pasta, oats and vegetables and fruits. Fiber is thought to have many benefits, including helping to speed up ‘gut transit time’ – how long it takes for the food to move through the digestive system.


studio shot of vegetable isolated on white