Eating for Health
Since January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month, this post takes a look at foods to include and avoid to reduce your risk of cancer—and for when you’re already fighting it.
Worrying about your diet is the last thing you need when battling cancer (or caring for someone who is diagnosed with it). Still, what you consume every day directly affects your health and how you feel. When your body is fighting cancer, nutrition becomes even more important.
Along with that, there are foods you can enjoy (and avoid) when you’re trying to prevent cancer.
Foods To Include
Regardless of whether you’re dealing with cancer currently or simply looking to better your odds against it, these basic tips apply:
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals – eating less more often will help ensure a steadier balance of the necessary nutrients while minimizing any feelings of nausea that might occur.
- Target proteins – good sources of protein (including lean meats, low-fat dairy, eggs, soy, and nuts) help the body repair damage and boost the immune system.
- Include whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats – these foods will help you keep up your energy and deliver cancer-fighting antioxidants.
Eat Organic Foods
It’s also a good idea to select organic foods, which might reduce your risk of getting cancer. Organic foods are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. In fact, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that a significant reduction in the risk of cancer among consumers of organic food.
Build Up Your Defenses
William W. Li, MD, writes about “healing foods” that help activate your body’s defense systems. Specifically, he mentions foods that build key defenses, including:
- Angiogenesis (the formation of blood cells), which is aided by soy, green tea, and hard cheese.
- Cell regeneration, which is helped by dark chocolate, and black tea.
And you can build up your immune system by consuming blackberries, pomegranates, and walnuts.
Foods To Avoid
Of course, there are some food and drink it’s best to avoid when fighting cancer:
- Greasy or fried foods – frying foods produces acrylamide, which causes cancer in animals. And heavy consumption of deep-fried foods has been linked to prostate cancer in humans. And if you have cancer, these types of food can lead to nausea and/or vomiting.
- Added sugars – too much added sugar can cause obesity and diabetes, both of which may increase your cancer risk.
- Alcohol – consuming alcohol raises the risk for some cancers. According to the CDC, the less you drink, the lower your cancer risk.
- Processed foods – for several reasons, eating too much fast food and other processed foods can increase your cancer risk.
- Raw/Undercooked foods – As some cancer treatments weaken the immune system, it’s best for patients to steer clear of any possible sources of foodborne illnesses.
In honor of all of our cancer-fighting clients, we’d like to share this recipe:
Curry Roasted Vegetable Quinoa Bowl Recipe
If you live in the Miami area and want to enjoy meals that are customized to support your specific health needs, look no further than The Pickled Beet. We provide flavorful, healthy meals so you can eat the way you know you should—without spending hours in the kitchen. Contact us today for a free consultation.