Jillian, one of my readers, wrote this fantastic article about ways that diet can help aid with Cancer symptoms and risks. If you would like to write a guest post, please email me. The more knowledge we can share about health and fitness, the better!
Newly diagnosed cancer patients and their doctors are increasingly aware of the impact on treatment efficacy, survival, and recurrence caused by specific lifestyle changes. The two most studied in recent years are smoking cessation and exercise, but diet is increasingly brought under the microscope as well. With the steady barrage of information on the need to increase intake of fruits, vegetables, and whole-grains, could vegetarianism provide additional hope for cancer patients?
There are many variations on the vegetarian diet and some include eggs, fish, dairy, or a combination of these. Research has found strong evidence that vegetarians are at lower risk of obesity, which is a leading risk factor for many forms of cancer and one that can exacerbate cancer symptoms. A vegetarian diet has also been shown to reduce incidence of some common symptoms experienced during cancer treatment, such as constipation, muscle wasting, and loss of bone mineral density.
Epidemiologists tend to agree on very few things, but one is the deficient nature of the modern diet. On average, people eat fewer than two of the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. The calories that would come from whole grains are being sourced from processed grains and processed sugars. Proteins are largely obtained from meat instead of legumes, grains, and nuts.
A vegetarian diet can quickly be optimized via serum tests and a nutritional profile to remedy deficiencies. A lack of specific vitamins and minerals can cause many symptoms, some of which will mimic the symptoms of cancer or other chronic disease. It is not possible to test for sufficient levels of all essential micronutrients. Additionally, mesothelioma side effects and those of other cancers include rapid loss of antioxidants, which the body uses to remove damaging toxins from radiation and chemotherapy.
There are thousands of unstudied plant compounds that may or may not be essential to human health. Many of those compounds studied have been found beneficial. This is the basis for public health agencies citing the need to eat a diet rich in variously colored vegetables. Deficiency is not a verified risk factor in all forms of cancer, but a lack of essential micronutrients will reduce treatment efficacy and complicate treatment by causing side effects. Vegetables, fruits and herbs are the densest sources of easily absorbed micronutrients.
Cancer recurrence is largely seen as a result of continuation of the same risk factors leading to the initial diagnosis compounded with the lingering damage caused by cancer treatment. A vegetarian diet can first help by eliminating or reducing the effect of some known risk factors, including obesity, heavy consumption of red meat, and micronutrient deficiencies. With a sufficiently varied vegetarian diet using minimally processed foods, both essential and non-essential antioxidants will be available to remove toxins and repair damaged tissues.
A vegetarian diet can be beneficial during cancer treatment. However, it must be sufficiently varied in raw and minimally processed foods. A heavy reliance on soy isolates or otherwise processed proteins should be avoided. Although it may seem difficult, a diet like this can really help you in the fight against cancer.