Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients


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This Season think color

thanksgiving-dinner

Think colors! When you sit down to your Thanksgiving meal, take a look around. What colors do you see? Many traditional Thanksgiving foods are pretty bland in color – white, beige, cream, and ivory tend to be the norm at most holiday tables.

thanksgiving-dinner-1

This year, if you are the host, think about how you can make your dishes more naturally colorful. The easiest way to do this is by incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables. If you aren’t the host, keep an eye out for color anyways. Aim for at least three different colors on your plate.

It is also important to watch your portions. Start first by choosing the foods you love. Not like, love. Then serve up your portions a little bit smaller than you normally would, odds are that you will still have plenty of food leftover if you need to go for seconds. Before grabbing extra servings though, be sure to give yourself sometime between plates to identify if you really need to eat more or simply want to eat more.

thanksgiving-veges

If you are hosting or cooking make simple substitutions to your menu and recipes. There are many ways to increase the health value of the foods you eat on Thanksgiving Day. From using more herbs and spices, to utilizing more fresh or frozen veggies, almost any dish can be made healthy.

Most guests will appreciate the effort that is if they notice. A few common recipe swaps include using applesauce or prunes in place of butter or margarine in baked goods, replacing heavy cream with evaporated milk or low-fat yogurt, and replacing those crunchy fried onions on top of green bean casserole with sliced almonds.

Eat your best and enjoy the day. It is possible to do both and your body will thank you for it. A healthy Thanksgiving doesn’t need to be complicated or full of saturated fat. Keep it simple and full of color. You’ll feel better after the meal and will start the holiday season off with a healthier perspective.

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Harboring Enemies

People are eating more raw and organically grown fruits and vegetables these days. And that has many consumers concerned whether they are properly cleaning their produce.

When it comes to anything plucked from the produce aisle, there are two main concerns—pesticides and microorganisms.

Fresh Produce

The more serious threat is microorganisms, especially salmonella, listeria and certain strains of E. coli. These sicken more consumers as a result of eating fruits and vegetables than eating meat or poultry. The bacteria are sometimes spread through contaminated irrigation water and can settle on the surface of fresh produce, particularly those with layered leaves.

Washing produce with tap water should help reduce residual pesticides and any dirt on the surface, where listeria and other bacteria often harbor. But if harmful bacteria are present deep in the leafy greens that have been cut, extra washing isn’t going to help.

Lettuce

Even when bagged lettuce says it’s been double washed, microorganisms that make their way into the water at the processing facility can spread onto whatever is being washed. Also, once the lettuce or spinach has been cut, surface microbes can become entrapped within the leaf itself, then there is no washing it out.

Buy whole lettuce instead of cut, bagged lettuce. Remove the outer leaves, wash your hands, and then rinse the remaining leaves. Fresh herbs, like basil, rosemary, cilantro and parsley, also should be washed. And keep fresh produce away from other bacteria carriers, like raw chicken.

Fresh Herbs

Extra Precautions

Homemade cleansing solutions with vinegar or lemon juice are fine for bathing fruits and vegetables, they aren’t likely to kill all harmful bacteria or microorganisms present. Store-bought produce washes have been shown to eliminate even more bacteria and microbes, but a good 20-second wash under the tap should be sufficient for most uncut produce. Any longer won’t make much of a difference, neither will higher temperature.

A trusty method to ensure clean produce is peeling.

Small amounts of bacteria in food won’t affect most people; bodies usually fight off minor infections. But older, sick or very young people, and pregnant women, are at greater risk and should always wash produce carefully before eating.

Avoid eating alfalfa and bean sprouts unless they are cooked, because of the way they are grown and washed.

Alfalfa-sprouts

The dietary benefits of eating fresh fruit and vegetables are high, but assuring that the produce is free of microbes is also essential. Always rinse produce under the tap.


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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. 

Alkaline

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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Lunch Time Nutrition

Carrot Soup with Orange and Ginger

            Carrot Orange Ginger

Wild carrots have been around for millennia, but the cultivated variety is believed to have originated in Afghanistan around the 9th century. By the 1100s carrots had spread to Spain through the Middle East and North Africa. Today they are available year round in grocery stores. When buying, look for plump, firm carrots without cracks.

Try to use fresh ginger because it has a mellow, full-bodied taste, whereas ground ginger is spicier. Buy ginger tubers that are smooth, heavy and firm with a spicy fragrance. Also, while you can use store bought orange juice, the soup is tastier if you prepare fresh orange juice for the recipe. And a bit of fresh lemon juice balances the sweetness of the carrots and orange. Beta-carotene from carrots, vitamin C from orange juice and orange zest and gingerol from ginger – all provide beneficial antioxidant properties. Sprinkle soup with roasted pumpkin seeds or add crunch with a few whole-grain croutons.

  •        1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  •        4 cups chopped carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  •        1 cup chopped yellow onions
  •        2 cloves garlic, minced
  •        3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (vegetable stock or broth may be substituted)
  •        4 large strips orange zest
  •        1 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
  •        ½ cup orange juice
  •        1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, optional
  •        Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  •        ¼ cup chopped chives (dill may be substituted)

In large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat and add carrots and onions. Sauté about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté additional 2 minutes.

Add broth and orange zest strips. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, uncover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Let mixture cool for several minutes. Discard orange zest strips.

Working in batches, in food processor or blender purée mixture until velvety smooth. Return soup to pot. Stir in ginger and orange and lemon juices. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Over low heat, let soup simmer for 5 minutes for flavors to mingle. Garnish with chives and serve.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 150 calories, 5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 23 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 140 mg sodium.

carrot-ginger-soup

Sweet Roasted Root Veggies roasted-root-veg

This warm one-pot meal is full of hearty root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots and beets that pack fiber and cancer-fighting carotenoids. Roasting gives them a slightly sweeter flavor that pairs nicely with a tangy dressing.

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

  • 1 small sweet potato, about 8-oz, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 medium potato, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (peeled parsnip may be substituted)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch slices
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 2 medium celery stalks, 3/4-inch slices
  • 1 medium beet, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1½ Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In large bowl toss potatoes, carrot, onion, celery and beet with 1/2 tablespoon oil, coating well. Arrange vegetables in a roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring several times, until tender and beginning to brown, about 50 minutes.

In mixing bowl, whisk vinegar, lemon juice and Dijon with remaining oil and stir in parsley, cilantro and walnuts. Drizzle dressing over vegetables and gently toss. Top with crumbled feta. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Makes 4 servings.

Per 3/4 cup serving: 156 calories, 9 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 17 g carbohydrate, 3 protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 134 mg sodium.


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Foods That Fight Cancer

Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, leaf lettuce, mustard greens, collard greens, chicory and Swiss chard are excellent sources of fiber, folate and a wide range of carotenoids such as lutein and zeaxanthin, along with saponins and flavonoids.

Dark-Leafy-Greens

According to AICR’s (American Institute of Cancer Research) second expert report, foods containing carotenoids probably protect against cancers of the mouth, pharynx and larynx. Foods containing folate decrease risk of pancreatic cancer and that foods containing dietary fiber probably reduce one’s chances of developing colorectal cancer.

Researchers believe that carotenoids seem to prevent cancer by acting as antioxidants removing potentially dangerous “free radicals” from the body before they can do harm. Some laboratory research has found that the carotenoids in dark green leafy vegetables can inhibit the growth of certain types of breast cancer cells, skin cancer cells, lung cancer and stomach cancer.

Garlic

Garlic belongs to the family of vegetables called Allium, which also includes onions, scallions, leeks and chives. According to AICR’s report, foods belonging to the allium family of vegetables probably protect against stomach cancer. Moreover, the evidence in the report shows that garlic, in particular, probably decreases one’s chances of developing colorectal cancer. The protective effect of garlic was shown to have a dose response relationship. In other words, highest exposure to the food showed the greatest decrease in risk.

 Garlic

These allium vegetables contain many substances now being studied for their anti-cancer effects, such as quercetin, allixin and a large group of organosulfur compounds that includes allicin, alliin and allyl sulfides.

In laboratory studies, components of garlic have shown the ability to slow or stop the growth of tumors in prostate, bladder, colon and stomach tissue. one garlic component, called diallyl disulfide, exerts potent preventive effects against cancers of the skin, colon and lung. Recently, this compound proved able to kill leukemia cells in the laboratory. A compound derived from garlic called ajoene has displayed similar activity. Components in Allium vegetables have slowed the development of cancer in several stages and at various body sites: stomach, breast, esophagus, colon and lung.

Tomatoes

The tomato’s red hue comes chiefly from a phytochemical called lycopene. Tomatoes have attracted particular attention from prostate cancer researchers because lycopene and its related compounds tend to concentrate in tissues of the prostate.

Tomato

AICR’s second expert report, found substantial and convincing evidence that foods containing lycopene probably protect against prostate cancer.

In animal models, consumption of tomato compounds has been linked to large decreases in prostate cancer risk. Moreover, there is evidence that this cancer-fighting potential is increased if tomatoes are consumed in a processed form that allows these natural compounds to be released and more easily absorbed, such as tomato sauce, tomato paste or tomato juice.

Tomato Juice

Lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, together with a group of related compounds collectively called the “red family,” has displayed anti-cancer potential. In the laboratory, tomato components have stopped the proliferation of several other cancer cells types, including breast, lung, and endometrial.

Although the evidence suggests it is likely that foods containing lycopene, including tomatoes, offer cancer protection, AICR stresses the importance of eating a variety of plant foods to ensure the most protection against cancer development. No food in isolation can effectively lower cancer risk.