For those of you that know me know that I try to be as involved as possible in cancer prevention, education, an advocacy. Back in college, I was the president of Colleges Against Cancer, and gained campus involvement to kick cancer in the butt with Relay for Life and other smaller events such as the Making strides against Breast Cancer walk/run.Anywho, you can bet my excitement when a reader asked if she could share some of her knowledge on the relationship between cancer and nutrition.
Jillian McKee is an active advocate for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, as she spends an abundance of her time researching and bringing awareness to society on prevention, risk factors, and how to cope with Mesothelioma, which is a rare form of cancer.
Here is some very valuable information which she researched to provide to my fabulous readers regarding nutrition and cancer prevention:
Nutrition and Cancer
Nutrition plays a vital role in the health of the body and mind. Energy levels, concentration abilities, muscle and joint conditions and general moods improve with proper nutrition through healthy diets. For individuals who are living with cancer and receiving cancer treatments, proper nutrition becomes even more important. Proper nutrition assists the body in healing and strengthening the immune system leading to shorter recovery times after treatments as well as improving energy and moods for daily living.
Nutrition through Natural Foods
A nutritious diet is one that is free of processed foods such as sugars, processed starches and saturated fats. Eliminating processed foods relieves the body of the burden associated with digesting these products and decreases the fatigue and lack of focus they often cause individuals as these foods digest. Replacing processed foods with natural foods is the first step to a more nutritious diet for any individual, including individuals with cancer.
Cancer and Nutrition
With a cancer diagnosis, healthy eating becomes even more of a benefit in terms of overall feelings of health and wellbeing before, during and after treatments. Proper nutrition is the first step to feeling better and living well. Whether a person has a cancer diagnosis of the bladder, skin melanoma or a mesothelioma diagnosis, proper nutrition from natural foods will aid the person in improving his or her general feeling of health while strengthening the immune system and speeding up recovery time after treatments.
Planning a Nutritious Diet
Individuals with cancer may choose to seek out a dietician to assist in developing an eating plan that is nutritious and filled with the vitamins and minerals that best support a healthy body and mind. A dietician will assist in planning a diet that includes a variety of natural, healthy foods combined to include the correct vitamins and minerals needed daily and during treatments. This change in diet will benefit the person in several ways, mainly, energy will increase, body weight will stabilize, recovery from treatments will be faster and the immune system will function better, which will prevent illnesses.
Calories in Foods
Foods provide calories in carbohydrates, fats and proteins. By choosing the correct combination of foods to meet daily calorie requirements and by avoiding saturated fats and refined carbohydrates, a person will be providing his or her body with the correct combination of nutritious foods, providing the body with the necessary nutrients to improve overall wellbeing.
Carbohydrates in foods provide a person with energy. Natural carbohydrates found in whole grains, vegetables and fruits are food sources for healthy carbohydrates. These foods provide sustained energy throughout the day for daily activities.
The body needs protein to keep the immune system functioning properly and to heal tissue in the body. Protein also helps the body retain muscle. After cancer treatments, an individual benefits from increasing the protein in the diet to assist in the recovery process. Healthy, natural foods that contain protein include soy food products, fish, eggs, nuts and beans.
Healthy fats are needed in a person’s diet. Fats help to protect the body’s organs and assist in transporting nutrients throughout the body. Fats also provide the body with energy. But not all fats are good. The fats a person should add into his or her diet include fats from natural foods such as nuts, olives, oils and some fish. These types of foods provide monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, which are the healthy fats that benefit the body.
Good Nutrition While Living with Cancer
Proper nutrition will assist individuals living with cancer to improve the quality of life each day, as proper nutrition supports the body’s natural healing process and increases energy for daily activities.