But others have noted that the possible harm from antioxidants is only in theory. They believe that there may be a net benefit in helping to protect normal cells from damage caused by these cancer treatments. Whether antioxidants or other supplements are helpful or harmful during chemotherapy or radiation treatment is a major question without a clear science-based answer right now. Several studies have looked at the link between fat intake and survival after breast cancer.
Results have been mixed. Early results of one large study of early stage breast cancer survivors suggested that a low-fat diet may lower the chance of the cancer coming back. This effect was strongest in women whose cancers were estrogen receptor negative. This can lead to obesity being very overweight , which is linked to a higher risk of many types of cancer, a higher risk of certain cancers coming back after treatment, and worse survival for many types of cancer.
There is evidence that certain types of fat, such as saturated fats, may increase cancer risk. There is little evidence that other types of fat, such as monounsaturated fats, omega-3 fatty acids, and other polyunsaturated fats reduce cancer risk. Monounsaturated fats can be found in in canola and olive oil, olives, avocados, peanuts, and many other nuts and seeds; omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish and walnuts.
In one study, high saturated fat intake reduced survival from prostate cancer. In another study, monounsaturated fat intake lowered the risk of death from prostate cancer. Excess saturated fat intake is a known risk factor for heart disease, a major cause of death in all populations, including cancer survivors. Although trans fats have harmful effects on the heart, such as raising blood cholesterol levels, their link to cancer risk or survival is not clear. Still, survivors especially those at increased risk of heart disease should eat as few trans fats as possible due to their effects on heart disease.
Major sources of trans fats are margarines, baked goods, and snack foods that contain partially hydrogenated oils. Dietary fiber includes many different plant carbohydrates that are not digested by humans. Fibers are either soluble like oat bran or insoluble like wheat bran and cellulose. Soluble fiber helps lower the risk of heart disease by reducing blood cholesterol levels. Fiber is also linked with improved bowel function. Good sources of fiber are beans, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, and fruits. Eating these foods is recommended because they contain other nutrients that may help reduce cancer risk.
They also have other health benefits, such as reduced risk of heart disease. Flaxseed is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and is also high in omegafatty acids and phytoestrogenic lignans compounds that act like estrogen in the body. In the lab, flaxseed and compounds from flaxseed seems to have slowed cancer cell growth and helped certain treatments work better. In 2 small studies, patients with breast or prostate cancer who were put on a flaxseed rich diet before surgery had lower rates of cancer cell growth in their tumors than the patients on other diets.
More research is still needed to see the effect of flaxseed on outcomes. Infection is of special concern for cancer survivors, especially when the immune system is weak. Blood tests are done often during cancer treatment to check this. Certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy, can weaken the immune system. When their immune systems are weak, survivors should be careful to avoid eating foods that may contain unsafe levels of germs. Food should be handled safely; for example:. Studies have linked eating large amounts of red meat and processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats with increased risk of colorectal, prostate, and stomach cancers.
Some research suggests that frying, broiling, or grilling meats at very high temperatures creates chemicals that might increase the risk of some types of cancer especially meats that are higher in fat and poultry with skin. For these reasons, the American Cancer Society guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention recommend limiting your intake of processed and red meats and discourage cooking these and other higher fat sources of protein at high temperatures.
Cancer survivors may also want to follow this recommendation for general good health. No studies have looked at the effect of processed meat, meat cooked at high temperature, or meat in general on cancer coming back or getting worse progressing or growing. More and more evidence suggests that being overweight or obese raises the risk for recurrence the cancer coming back and reduces the odds of survival for many cancers.
Increased body weight has been linked with higher death rates for all cancers combined. Because of other proven health benefits to losing weight, people who are overweight are encouraged to get to and stay at a healthy weight. Avoiding weight gain as an adult is important, too, not only to reduce cancer risk and risk of cancer coming back, but to reduce the risk of other chronic diseases as well.
The use of the term organic on food labels is controlled by the US Department of Agriculture.
Nutrition and Physical Activity During and After Cancer Treatment: Answers to Common Questions
It has also been suggested that their nutrient makeup may be better than non-organic foods. Whether this means health benefits for those who eat organic foods is unknown. At this time, there are no studies in humans to show whether organic foods are better than other foods in terms of reducing the risk of cancer, the risk of cancer coming back, or the risk of cancer progression.
Research strongly suggests that exercise is not only safe during cancer treatment, but it can also improve physical functioning and many aspects of quality of life.
Moderate exercise has been shown to improve fatigue extreme tiredness , anxiety, and self-esteem. It also helps heart and blood vessel fitness, muscle strength, and body composition how much of your body is made up of fat, bone, or muscle. People getting chemotherapy and radiation who already exercise may need to do so at a lower intensity and build up more slowly than people who are not getting cancer treatment. The main goal should be to stay as active as possible and slowly increase your level of activity over time after treatment. Certain issues for cancer survivors may prevent or affect their ability to exercise.
Some effects of treatment may increase the risk for exercise-related problems. If you were not active before diagnosis, you should start with low-intensity activities and then slowly increase your activity level. Certain people should use extra caution to reduce their risk of falls and injuries:. This has not been looked at for all types of cancer, but there have been studies of survivors of breast, colorectal, prostate, and ovarian cancers. In these studies, people with higher levels of physical activity after diagnosis lived longer and had less chance of the cancer coming back.
Still, more studies are needed to see if exercise has a direct effect on cancer growth. In the meantime, since physical activity is known to prevent heart and blood vessel disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis, cancer survivors should try to have a physically active lifestyle. Most of the studies of yoga in cancer have been in breast cancer patients. They have found that yoga can be helpful in terms of anxiety, depression, distress, and stress. More research is needed, but to get the most benefit, it may be best to combine yoga with aerobic exercise and resistance weight training.
Phytochemicals are a wide range of compounds made by plants. Some have either antioxidant or hormone-like actions. Only a few studies have looked at the effects that phytochemicals or the plants that contain them may have on cancer coming back or getting worse progressing. Eating lots of vegetables and fruits reduces the risk of some types of cancer, so researchers are looking for the specific plant compounds that might account for this.
At this time there is no evidence that phytochemicals taken as supplements are as helpful as the vegetables, fruits, beans, and grains they come from. Soy foods are an excellent source of protein and can be a good option for meals without meat.
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Soy contains many phytochemicals, some of which have weak estrogen activity and seem to protect against hormone-dependent cancers in animal studies. Other compounds in soy have antioxidant properties and may have anticancer effects. But the evidence at this time is mixed.
For the breast cancer survivor, current research finds no harmful effects from eating soy foods. These foods may even help tamoxifen work better.
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There is less known about the effects of soy supplements. No, sugar intake has not been shown to directly increase the risk of getting cancer or having it get worse progress. Still, sugars and sugar-sweetened drinks add large amounts of calories to the diet and can cause weight gain, which we know can affect cancer outcomes.
There are many kinds of sugars, including honey, raw sugar, brown sugar, corn syrup, and molasses. Many drinks, such as soft drinks and fruit-flavored beverages contain sugar. Most foods and drinks that are high in added sugar do not offer many nutrients and may replace more nutritious food choices. For this reason, limiting the intake of foods and drinks with added sugar is recommended. Survivors should try to get the nutrients they need through food, not supplements. Dietary supplements should be used when your doctor tells you to take them because of a deficiency of a certain nutrient.
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Do not take vitamins or other supplements to get higher than recommended levels of nutrients—this may do more harm than good. There is no evidence at this time that dietary supplements can lower the chance of cancer coming back or improve survival. There is strong evidence that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and other plant-based foods may reduce the risk of some types of cancer.
And some recent studies suggest there may be a helpful effect on recurrence or survival for breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers. But there is no evidence at this time that supplements can provide these benefits. Food is the best source of vitamins and minerals. In most studies, eating more vegetables and fruits has been linked with a lower risk of lung, oral mouth , esophagus tube connecting the mouth to the stomach , stomach, and colon cancer.
But few studies have been done on whether a diet that includes many vegetables and fruits can reduce the risk of cancer coming back recurrence or improve survival. Some recent studies suggest that a higher intake of vegetables may have a helpful effect on recurrence or survival for breast, prostate, and ovarian cancers, but this is not definite. Yes, but they can all be good choices. Fresh foods are usually thought to have the most nutritional value.
But some frozen foods can have more nutrients than fresh foods. This is because they are often picked ripe and quickly frozen, and nutrients can be lost in the time between harvesting and eating fresh foods. Canning is more likely to reduce the heat-sensitive and water-soluble nutrients because of the high temperatures used in the canning process. Also, be aware that some fruits are packed in heavy syrup, and some canned vegetables are high in sodium. Cooking vegetables and fruits can help you better absorb certain nutrients, like carotenoids compounds that give vegetables and fruits their colors.
Microwaving and steaming are the best ways to preserve the nutrients, while boiling, especially for a long time, can leach out the water-soluble vitamins. Juicing can add variety to your diet and can be a good way to get vegetables and fruits, especially if you have trouble chewing or swallowing.
Coming to cabbage juice, 'the bitter the better' phrase is really apt for this beneficial vegetable , which is not only good for health , but works wonders for the skin and hair as well. No matter how much your skin is damaged or how many bad hair days you are facing, you can totally depend on cabbage juice for its healing properties.
Nutrition and Physical Activity During and After Cancer Treatment: Answers to Common Questions
It helps in making our immune system strong, has a good amount of potassium which reduces blood pressure, delays ageing and makes hair stronger , reducing hair fall. As such it helps in making the skin stronger, and its dose of Vitamin C boosts immunity," says Dr. Shalini Manglani, a Bangalore-based Nutritionist. Cabbage juice is an excellent source of vitamin K and C, which help in fighting free radicals.
Free radicals are the main cause of diseases such as cancer and heart issues. These vitamins are also essential to keep hair follicles healthy and circulate scalp oil," says Dr. Sulphur is particularly present in every cell as it is responsible for pulling in nutrition and removing waste from your cells. This is what is called osmosis. For clear skin, you need to have good osmosis," says Shilpa Arora, a leading Nutritionist based in New Delhi. According to Dr Shalini, cabbage juice helps in flushing out toxins from the body. Thus it helps in detoxifying, making dull skin appearance go away, giving you a glowing look.
If you are on a weight loss schedule, then cabbage juice could be your health fix when you need to rejuvenate. Not only will it help you feel refreshed but keep a tab on problems related to obesity. Komal says, "Cabbage juice can be very effective in helping you reduce kilos if you drink it on a daily basis. It helps in purifying the upper section of the intestines, which makes the elimination of waste material from the body easy, thus helping with digestion. Cabbage juice contains 'Indole-3 carbonile' antioxidant which plays a role in detoxifying your liver. The liver plays a crucial role in various metabolic functions of the body - protein synthesis, hormone production, glycogen storage regulation, etc.