A cancer diet plan should be formulated in such a way that it contains all the essential micro and macronutrients, sufficient amounts of minerals and vitamins, and has lots of proteins to prevent cancer cachexia (muscle wasting due to cancer).
Most patients with rapidly proliferating cancers may need to take lots of fluids and healthy beverages to lower their uric-acid levels as well. Some of these patients may need to limit their protein content to normalize their uric acid levels.
Introduction to Cancer Diet Plan:
Diet therapy is the most crucial part of treating any disease. Most of the time people tend to overlook the importance of diet either during the treatment or the recovery process, however, full recovery will not be easy or possible without the proper food.
Patients need energy in order to fight back their illnesses and they can only get this energy from the right type of food that contains the right amount of nutrients.
In certain diseases, a patient may have to refrain from a nutrient, and in other diseases, the same nutrient can be a life savior.
Complete knowledge and skilled physicians are required to evaluate the dietary requirements of a patient.
Basic Info About Cancer
By definition, cancer is characterized by the abnormal mutation or changes in a cell’s DNA which compels it to replicate indefinitely until it transforms into a tumor which can be benign or malignant. This tumor can spread to other organs and cause cancer in the adjacent areas as well.
A carcinogen is typically cancer invoking agent which can be biological, chemical, viral, or bacterial. This agent can then interact with the cells and invoke mutation.
This takes place in three phases starting with initiation followed by promotion and lastly progression.
There are various types of cancers like adenocarcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, mesothelioma, lung cancer, blood cancer (leukemia), breast cancer, and many others.
Foods To Include In Your Diet
Weight loss and malnutrition go hand in hand when it comes to cancer which stresses the importance of a healthy and well-balanced diet.
Here is a list of food items that must be incorporated into the diet for cancer treatment.
Plant-Based Protein should be part of the Cancer Diet Plan:
In many cases, protein plays a central role. Even in a healthy state, one can not deny the importance that protein holds in life but it becomes especially important during cancer treatment.
Protein serves many functions in the body as it helps restore the body and is good for the muscles. Other than that protein may help with enhancing the immune system, helps with important substances in the body like hormones or enzymes, is involved in the transportation of several vitamins and minerals, and aids in accelerating wound healing.
Cancer patients are going through continuous deterioration of protein in the body which logically makes protein an essential nutrient for them.
Getting this protein from animal sources can be hard as some patients avoid it and in this case, getting protein from plant sources just makes much more sense.
It will help with maintaining proper body weight and enhancing cancer treatment. Plant protein can be obtained from sources like beans, legumes, lentils, nuts, avocado, etc.
Choose Healthy Fats for your cancer patients:
Dietary fat is usually termed as an unhealthy choice, however, it is not really the case if you know which type of fat to go for.
Fats like saturated or trans fat which are typically received from animal sources are not healthy and should be avoided at all costs.
Unsaturated fat takes the crown here and it is in the form of monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids.
These fats are really good at fighting inflammation which makes them a better choice for cancer patients. These fats can be found in soy products, olive oil, nuts, etc. [Ref]
Essential Vitamins and Minerals: Essential part of Cancer Diet Plan:
Many vitamins can have antioxidant properties and minerals can play their own special part as well. Doctors may recommend supplements of vitamin D and calcium in order to support the bone health of patients on chemo.
Such patients may also lack minerals like potassium and magnesium. Supplements in any form must be taken after consulting with the health care physician.
Close Look on Your Carbs:
The fact is that your body requires carbs in order to completely function, on the exact note the cancer cells inside the body require glucose for their own functioning as well.
Taking this into consideration, one must keep a close look at the carb intake and that can be accomplished if a moderate consumption of carbs is practiced since cancer cells need a phenomenally high quantity of glucose for their survival.
Also, in the absence of necessary glucose from carbs, your body will start breaking down the muscles for protein which leads to muscle wasting and malnutrition, therefore, restricting yourself from eating any carbs will do more harm than any good.
Cancer Diet Plan must include lots of Fruits and Vegetables:
Fruits and vegetables have their profound actions against cancer, fruits can prevent cancers of the stomach, lungs, and esophagus.
Non-starchy veggies have a role in protecting against cancers of the breast, esophageal, larynx, pharynx, etc. Anticarcinogenic substances found in fruits and vegetables include phytochemicals like carotenoids and antioxidants like vitamin E and vitamin C.
The Dietary Guidelines also put stress on the intake of foods that deliver vitamins and minerals which incorporate all sorts of vegetables and fruits (especially whole fruits). [Ref]
Coffee and Tea:
Antioxidants and phenolic compounds have been found in coffee which is known to have anticancer effects.
Coffee also has caffeine and is one of the major sources of antioxidants in a typical diet. People believed that coffee consumption might cause cancer rather than cure it but this myth has been dismissed as the research on the phenolic and antioxidant content of coffee states otherwise. [Ref]
Green tea that is dried, compressed, and not roasted, has a higher antioxidant content in comparison to black tea, it has catechins which are known to contain biologically active anticancer effects.
Foods for Cancer Patients to Avoid:
A balanced diet includes avoidance of any harmful substance that can pose a threat to your body while undergoing treatment.
To avoid such detrimental items, it is crucial to read nutrition labels and avoid any raw or uncooked foods. Avoid eating raw eggs and any fruit or vegetable that is not washed.
Avoid unpasteurized dairy products as well. Food items that are refined and processed will do no good either just like fatty foods that contain saturated and trans fats.
Importantly, do not take any supplement until it is approved by your health care physician and always consult a registered dietician while planning a dietary therapy.