Healthy Eating for Cancer Patients
By Jillian McKee
A healthy, balanced diet is essential to good health and longevity. Getting the right nutrition can prevent serious conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and even certain kinds of cancer. For those who have already received a cancer diagnosis, whether just diagnosed, in treatment or remission, a healthy diet can prove just as beneficial.
Although a healthy diet isn't a cure for cancer, the right nutrition can help promote better health and quality of life throughout all stages of cancer. Nutrition for mesothelioma and other types of cancer can be used to improve energy, body function, mood and overall quality of life.
Healthy Food Options
ProteinProtein is essential for the maintenance and replacement of tissue and cells in the body. Therefore, getting the proper amount of this nutrient is necessary for healing, as well as maintaining overall health. Sufficient amounts of protein can help provide relief for several symptoms of cancer and side effects of treatment, including fatigue, low energy and difficulty fighting infections. Good protein options include grilled fish or chicken, beans and legumes, soy, eggs, and lean cuts of beef.
Leafy Green VegetablesLeafy greens are essential in any diet, but when it comes to individuals with cancer, the nutrients in these foods are even more important. Leafy greens are packed full of vitamins and minerals: just one serving can contain vitamins K, C, E and B, as well as iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Eating plenty of greens can increase energy, promote healthy bones and joints and lead to better overall body function.
Leafy greens also contain very little carbohydrates or calories, and can therefore be eaten in abundance. When choosing green vegetables, remember one simple rule: darker greens provide more nutritional benefits than lighter green varieties.
Whole GrainsEating whole grains is a great way to give the body the fuel it needs for energy. These types of carbohydrates will increase energy without the added calories and sugar of starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, refined sugar and white bread. Whole grains also contain protein, and lead to better body function by preventing constipation and other digestive issues. The following foods are made of whole grains: brown rice, whole grain bread, millet, quinoa and buckwheat.
DairyDairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheese are a great source of "good" fats, and also contain vitamins and minerals such as vitamins D, A and B12, calcium, riboflavin and potassium. Eating the proper amounts of dairy can promote good bone, muscle, brain and nerve function, as well as help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.Fruits and VegetablesIn addition to leafy greens, other types of produce should be included with every meal. Fresh fruits and vegetables contain most of the vitamins and minerals necessary to support a healthy body. Bright, colorful fruit and veggie options are best, as these foods are full of vitamins, minerals and disease-fighting antioxidants.
Foods to Limit or AvoidAs with any diet, there are some foods that should be avoided or limited by individuals with cancer. These foods include excess fats and sugars, as well as preservatives and artificial sweeteners. While all things are okay in moderation, fried or sugary foods and processed meals and snacks should be kept to a minimum.