When facing a cancer diagnosis, whether for yourself or a loved one, you know that cooking healthful, delicious food is not always easy. The body goes through various changes from the side effects of cancer and treatment that can affect taste buds, including a diminished appetite, limited foods that are appealing and changes to your taste and smell. Although the goal of cancer treatment is to destroy the cancer cells, normal cells can be damaged in the process, affecting how you feel. When going through treatment, each hour, each day and each week you can feel differently. As a person experiences these side effects, it is important to know the foods that are better tolerated and help to ease the symptoms.
The most common side effect of chemotherapy is loss of appetite, or anorexia, which can be a result of radiation, stress, depression and the cancer itself. Taste changes may also be an issue caused by treatment, resulting in flavor changes and or no taste at all.
Neutropenia, or low white blood cell count, occurs after chemotherapy treatments for most patients. Neutropenia normally lasts for three to seven days. As soon as your counts have returned to normal, you can return to a regular diet.
To decrease your risk of infection, avoid fresh fruits, vegetables, raw meat or fish during the time your blood counts are low.
A dry or sore mouth, caused by chemotherapy or radiation, can get sore seven to 10 days following certain chemotherapy treatments. Precaution and care in choosing foods must be taken to sooth this sensitive side effect. Practicing good oral hygiene can help tremendously. Soft foods should be readily available, while avoiding rough textured, spicy, pain inducing foods.
The gastrointestinal tract is often affected by cancer treatments, which can bring nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation along with it. Healthy well-tolerated high fiber foods are important for alleviating constipation, while low fiber foods are helpful for vomiting and diarrhea relief.
Maintaining adequate calories and nutrition during this time can be a difficult task, however it is very important to keep nutrition a priority for optimal health and strength, while incorporating nutrition therapy to help ease the side effects of your treatment.
Integrative Oncology is an important part of patient care at Radiotherapy Centers of Georgia.
March is National Nutrition Month®, an annual campaign sponsored by the American Dietetic Association (ADA), focusing attention on healthy eating. This month, ADA is encouraging Americans to “Eat Right with Color.”
What exactly does this mean? The ADA, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, is encouraging consumers to “color” their plate with a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, leanproteins and dairy. Fruits and vegtables with vibrant color are generally considered most beneficial. The recently released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend an increased focus on a plant-based diet. This combined with lean meats, fish and poultry, and low-fat dairy products creates a base for a healthful eating plan.
This month would be the perfect time to try something new. There are a multitude of colorful fruits and vegetables, but we often get into the habit of eating the same thing over and over again. Variety is the key. Each fruit and vegetable has its own vitamin/mineral profile – - so the more variety, the more you’ll benefit. Get your whole family involved and challenge them to help create colorful meals using the list provided below. Encourage them to incorporate one new fruit/ vegetable each week. By the end of National Nutrition Month, eating a variety of colors will become a habit and you and your family will be on the road to a lifetime of healthy eating.
Written by Lisa Eisele, RD, CSO, LD (Registered and Licensed Dietitian at RC Cancer Centers)
New study underscores the importance of exercise for prostate cancer patients.
In earlier entries, I’ve written of the need to maintain weight loss following a diagnosis of prostate cancer. There is that hockey stick curve that demonstrates the chances of recurrence dramatically increasing with each pound gained. Now, data from a recent study conducted by researchers from Harvard and UCSF, and published online by the Journal of Clinical Oncology, indicates that men who maintain more vigorous levels of physical activity have the lowest risk of dying from this disease. How’s that for motivation?
According to a news release issued from Harvard, “Our results suggest that men can reduce their risk of prostate cancer progression after a diagnosis of prostate cancer by adding physical activity to their daily routine,” said Stacey Kenfield, lead author of the study and a Harvard School of Public Health researcher. “This is good news for men living with prostate cancer who wonder what lifestyle practices to follow to improve cancer survival.”
Researchers who conducted the study reported that the results showed that both non-vigorous and vigorous activity were beneficial for overall survival. Compared with men who walked less than 90 minutes per week at an easy pace, those who walked 90 or more minutes per week at a normal to very brisk pace had a 46% lower risk of dying from any cause. Hopwever, only vigorous activity—defined as more than three hours per week—was associated with reduced prostate cancer mortality. Men who did vigorous activity had a 61% lower risk of prostate cancer-specific death compared with men who did less than one hour per week of vigorous activity.
In addition to having an effect on outcomes, exercise, including light weight lifting, can also help mitigate the fatigue often associated with radiation therapy. Although, anyone who has been through it can appreciate the challenge of trying to exercise “vigorously” while just trying to stay awake and move through your day! While every patient is unique and at vastly different phases of their treatment, the take away is clear: a modest amount of vigorous activity such as biking, tennis, jogging, or even walking at a brisk pace for at least 3 hours a week may substantially improve prostate cancer survival.
This Harvard, UCSF was funded by the National Institutes of Health, Charles A. King Trust and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. PCF is an ardent supporter of research studying the effects of lifestyle factors on prostate cancer. For more information on diet, exercise and prostate cancer, you can download or order a free copy of PCF’s Nutrition and Exercise Guide.
By David Servan-Schreiber, M.D., Ph.D.
Michael Pollan’s recent little gem of a book “Food Rules” inspired me to compile my own “rules” about what I’d like every person to know about how they can help avoid cancer – or slow it down if they have it.
1. Go retro: Your main course should be 80 percent vegetables, 20 percent animal protein, like it was in the old days. Opt for the opposite of the quarter pounder topped with a token leaf of iceberg lettuce and an anemic tomato slice. Meat should be used sparingly for taste, as when it used to be scarce, and should not be the focus of the meal.
2. Mix and match your vegetables: Vary the vegetables you eat from one meal to the next, or mix them together — broccoli is an effective anticancer food, and is even more effective when combined with tomato sauce, onions or garlic. Get in the habit of adding onions, garlic or leeks to all your dishes as you cook.
3. Go organic: Choose organic foods whenever possible, but remember it’s always better to eat broccoli that’s been exposed to pesticide than to not eat broccoli at all (the same applies to any other anticancer vegetable).
4. Spice it up: Add turmeric (with black pepper) when cooking (delicious in salad dressings!). This yellow spice is the most powerful natural anti-inflammatory agent. Remember to add Mediterranean herbs to your food: thyme, oregano, basil, rosemary, marjoram, mint, etc. They don’t just add flavor, they can also help reduce the growth of cancer cells.
5. Skip the potato: Potatoes raise blood sugar, which can feed inflammation and cancer growth. They also contain high levels of pesticide residue (to the point that most potato farmers I know don’t eat their own grown potatoes).
6. Go fish: Eat fish two or three times a week – sardines, mackerel, and anchovies have less mercury and PCBs than bigger fish like tuna. Avoid swordfish and shark, which the FDA says pregnant women should not eat because they contain a high concentration of contaminants.
7. Remember not all eggs are created equal: Choose only omega-3 eggs, or don’t eat the yolks. Hens are now fed on mostly corn and soybeans, and their eggs contain 20 times more pro-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids than cell-growth regulating omega-3s.
8. Change your oil: Use only olive and canola oil in cooking and salad dressings. Go through your kitchen cabinets and throw out your soybean, corn and sunflower oils. (And no, you can’t give them to your neighbors or your relatives… They’re much too rich in omega-6 fatty acids!)
9. Say “Brown is beautiful”: Eat your grains whole and mixed (wheat with oats, barley, spelt, flax, etc.) and favor organic whole grains when possible since pesticides tend to accumulate on whole grains. Avoid refined, white flour (used in bagels, muffins, sandwich bread, buns, etc.) whenever possible, and eat white pasta only al dente.
10. Keep sweets down to fruits: Cut down on sugar by avoiding sweetened sodas and fruit juices, and skipping dessert or replacing it with fruit (especially stone fruits and berries) after most meals. Read the labels carefully, and steer clear of products that list any type of sugar (including brown sugar, corn syrup, etc.) in the first three ingredients. If you have an incorrigible sweet tooth, try a few squares of dark chocolate containing more than 70% cocoa.
11. Go green: Instead of coffee or black tea, drink three cups of green tea per day. Use decaffeinated green tea if it gets you too wired. Regular consumption of green tea has been linked to a significant reduction in the risk for developing cancer.
12. Make room for exceptions. What matters is what you do on a daily basis, not the occasional treat.
NON FOOD RULES
1. Get physical: Make time to exercise, be it walking, dancing or running. Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity at least 5 days a week. This can be as easy as just walking part of the way to the office, or the grocery store. A dog is often a better walking partner than an exercise buddy. Choose an activity you enjoy; if you’re having fun, you’re more likely to stick with it.
2. Let the sun shine in: Try to get at least 20 minutes of daily sun exposure (torso, arms and legs) without sunscreen, preferably at noon in the summer (but take care to avoid sunburns!). This will boost your body’s natural production of Vitamin D. As an alternative: discuss the option of taking a Vitamin D3 supplement with your doctor.
3. Banish bad chemicals: Avoid exposure to common household contaminants. You should air our your dry-cleaning for two hours before storing or wearing it; use organic cleaning products (or wear gloves); don’t heat liquids or food in hard plastics; avoid cosmetics with parabens and phthalates; don’t use chemical pesticides in your house or garden; replace your scratched Teflon pans; filter your tap water (or used bottled water) if you live in a contaminated area; don’t keep your cell phone close to you when it is turned on.
4. Reach out (and touch someone!): Reach out to at least two friends for support (logistical and emotional) during times of stress, even if it’s through the internet. But if they’re within arms reach, go ahead and hug them, often!
5. Remember to breathe: Learn a basic breathing relaxation technique to let out some steam whenever you start to feel stressed.
6. Get involved: Find out how you can best give something back to your local community, then give it.
7. Cultivate happiness like a garden: Make sure you do one thing you love for yourself on most days (it doesn’t have to take long!).
Vitamin D is believed to have a role in controlling genes linked to major diseases such as certain types of cancers, dementia, and autoimmune disorders, new research has found. While scientists aren’t exactly sure how vitamin D works with the genes, United Kingdom researchers are convinced the relationship exists. Their most recent findings were released Monday in Genome Research.
For more information and to read the entire article on CNN.com , click here: http://pagingdrgupta.blogs.cnn.com/2010/08/24/vitamin-d-affects-autoimmune-diseases-and-cancer-genes/?iref=allsearch
A sliced Carrot looks like the human eye. The pupil, iris and radiating lines look just like the human eye… And YES, science now shows carrots greatly enhance blood flow to and function of the eyes.
A Tomato has four chambers and is red. The heart has four chambers and is red. All of the research shows tomatoes are loaded with lycopene and are indeed pure heart and blood food.
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Also known as RC Cancer Centers.