Diet Also Supports Cancer Treatment
Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise promotes overall health, especially when you have breast cancer. While there is no sure-fire method to prevent breast cancer, incorporating foods with cancer-fighting properties into your diet can help reduce your exposure to ingredients that may increase the risk of recurrence.
This article offers tips for eating a plant-based, whole food diet for a well-rounded eating plan to help reduce your risk of breast cancer recurrence.
Are Soy And Flaxseeds Ok
Soy contains phytoestrogens, or plant-based estrogens, which has raised concerns regarding soy’s role in the development of breast cancer however, whole soy products, such as tofu, edamame or soy milk, have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer, including ER-positive cancers. This plant protein is also considered a healthy choice for breast cancer survivors.
In fact, a 2010 study from JAMA of more than 5,000 women living in China linked regular, whole soy intake to a reduced recurrence of all breast cancer types. However, isolated soy found in supplements, soy powder or processed foods should not be emphasized, as these foods have not been shown to be protective.
Flaxseeds are rich in lignans, a phytoestrogen, and also a good source of omega-3 fats and dietary fiber. Animal studies have shown that components of flaxseed can reduce tumor size and inhibit the growth of ER-positive and ER-negative breast cancer cells and that foods that contain lignan, such as flaxseed, may help decrease breast cancer risk, according to the American Institute for Cancer Research.
Although incorporating small amounts of flaxseed into a healthy diet is encouraged, inadequate human research is available to recommend large amounts of flaxseed, or flaxseed supplements, as a therapy for breast cancer.
What Foods Are Good For A Person With Cancer
The best foods for any person are based on that persons specific needs and tolerances. These can be very different for everyone.
For example, someone whos trying to lose weight might be helped by eating fresh raw vegetables and high-fiber grains. But if someone has diarrhea while having chemotherapy or radiation therapy, those foods wouldnt be the best choices. Talk with your clinical dietitian nutritionist to determine what foods might be good to eat and what might be good to limit or avoid.
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Shopping And Cooking During Treatment
Simple tasks like shopping and cooking can seem exhausting during your treatment and as you recover. Try to accept any offers of help, even if youre used to coping on your own. You can also take advantage of online shopping or ask local shops if they have a telephone ordering and delivery service.
Its important to have fresh food in your diet, but if you can’t shop regularly, frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables are full of nutrients and can be eaten every day. Choose tinned fruit in juice rather than syrup and tinned vegetables that have less salt.
Find out more about coping with fatigue during and after treatment.
Soy And Foods That Contain Phytoestrogens
Soy foods such as soy milk and tofu contain natural compounds called phytoestrogens. Foods such as chickpeas and linseeds also contain phytoestrogens.
Phytoestrogens have a chemical structure that is similar to the hormone oestrogen. As oestrogen can stimulate some breast cancers to grow, some people worry whether foods or supplements containing phytoestrogens might have the same effect as oestrogen and increase the risk of recurrence.
Current evidence suggests that a diet containing naturally occurring phytoestrogens is safe if youve had breast cancer and may be beneficial.
Phytoestrogens are also found in herbal remedies including:
- Black cohosh
- Red clover
These are sometimes taken to relieve hot flushes and other menopausal symptoms. However, they are not recommended because the evidence on their effectiveness and safety is limited and conflicting.
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Eating Guidelines During Endocrine Therapy
Hormone treatments include tamoxifen, leuprolide , and aromatase inhibitors such as anastrozole , exemestane , and letrozole . These may be used for short or long periods of time. If youre getting hormone therapy, review the following guidelines.
Grapefruit and grapefruit juice can interact with many medications. Avoid eating grapefruit and drinking grapefruit juice if youre taking tamoxifen.
Certain dietary supplements can interact with tamoxifen and other hormone treatments. Always check with your healthcare provider or clinical dietitian nutritionist before starting any dietary supplements.
Managing your body weight
For some people, hormone therapy can make it harder to stay at a healthy body weight. Read the section Staying a Healthy Weight for more information on managing your weight and for tips to improve your diet.
Diet and hot flashes
A hot flash is a feeling of intense heat that isnt caused by an outside source. Hot flashes are a problem for some people during menopause. They can also be a problem for people getting treatment for breast cancer. Hot flashes can be different for everyone. They may last for different lengths of time and may come and go.
Staying at a healthy weight or losing weight if youre overweight may help with hot flashes.
A stressful or warm environment can start a hot flash. Some foods and drinks can also start hot flashes or make them worse.
- Caffeinated drinks
- Spicy foods
- Hot drinks
What Are The Worst Foods To Eat During Breast Cancer Treatment
You should always check with your medical team about foods to avoid, because everyones treatment plan is different. However, there are some general tips which are below:
- Avoid alcohol as much as possible, although it is fine to have an occasional glass of wine.
- Grapefruit can affect how many drugs act within the body, so you should check with your doctor or avoid this fruit.
- Avoid foods that are high in sugar, as these are more likely to affect weight gain.
- Avoid unpasteurized milk, vegetables, and other dairy products. Unpasteurized food could contain harmful bacteria which makes your chances of getting ill greater when your immunity is low.
- You may be told to avoid runny eggs, raw seafood, and buffets where you cannot be certain how long the food has been out. I was also told to avoid takeaways for the same reason, but you should check with your medical team if you are not sure.
During chemotherapy when your immune system is compromised you need to be really careful about food hygiene. Make sure you follow a good handwashing regime and store foods correctly, keeping raw and cooked meat separate. Also, be careful when using chopping boards, ensuring that raw meat and fish are prepared separately from cooked meat or vegetables.
Be careful when reheating, as food must be cooked right through so that it is piping hot. Otherwise, it may encourage bacteria to form which can make you really ill.
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Watch Alcohol And Salt Intake
Drink only a little alcohol or skip it altogether. Women who drink three to six alcoholic drinks a week have a 15% greater chance of breast cancer. Alcohol can inflame your liver as it works to break down chemo drugs. Alcohol can also worsen mouth sores caused by chemo.
Salty foods can raise your blood pressure. Avoid pickled, cured, or smoked foods that are high in salt.
Can I Lower My Risk Of Breast Cancer Progressing Or Coming Back
If you have breast cancer, you probably want to know if there are things you can do that might lower your risk of the cancer growing or coming back, such as exercising, eating a certain type of diet, or taking nutritional supplements. Fortunately, breast cancer is one of the best studied types of cancer in this regard, and research has shown there are some things you can do that might be helpful.
Staying as healthy as possible is more important than ever after breast cancer treatment. Controlling your weight, keeping physically active, and eating right may help you lower your risk of your breast cancer coming back, as well as help protect you from other health problems.
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Soy Foods Not Soy Products May Bring Benefits
Soy has received mixed reviews regarding adult breast cancer prevention, but Marian says mothers may be interested to know about a large study of Asian-American women that found when adolescent girls ate at least one serving of soy foods a day, they reaped anti-cancer nutrition benefits later in life.
On the other hand, she recommends against adult women taking soy or isoflavone supplements as part of a breast cancer diet. These products contain estrogen-like compounds, which could prove to be too much of a good thing.
Foods To Avoid During Cancer Treatment
If your treatment has caused side effects like nausea, taste changes, or mouth sores, you probably have already started your own mental list of foods youd much rather steer clear of. However, there are some foods that no matter how good they sound are probably best avoided due to the risk of foodborne illness, aka food poisoning. Because some treatments can weaken your immune system until at least a few weeks after theyve ended , food poisoning is not something to tempt. The results of developing a foodborne illness can be serious.
Eating raw or undercooked foods is a common cause of food poisoning. Proper cooking destroys bacteria, but they can start to grow on cooked food if it is left out or in the refrigerator for too long. Food also can become contaminated when someone infected with a virus or other bug handles it.
Paying attention to food safety rules and being extra careful when handling, preparing, and storing food is definitely important. However, some people who are receiving or have recently finished cancer treatment should avoid some foods entirely, even if they may have eaten them with no problems in the past. These include:
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Diet And Breast Cancer
Because the role of diet in breast cancer survival is not fully understood, common nutrition advice is based on what is known to prevent breast cancer and these guidelines aren’t specific to cancer type. In fact, nutrition advice for breast cancer prevention closely matches the breast cancer survivorship guidelines, published in December 2015 by the ACS and the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
These recommendations encourage survivors to consume a diet that emphasizes vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes, while limiting alcohol and saturated fat. These guidelines are not specific to cancer type or ER status, although people who have estrogen-dependent cancer may respond well to these recommendations.
Nutrients That Promote Healing
Protein is essential for wound healing after surgery, so getting enough protein through food or supplements can help you get back on your feet faster.
Additional nutrients to consider include:
- Vitamin A and carotenoids Can be found in bright orange and dark green veggies, such as pumpkin, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens
- Vitamin C Can be found in fresh fruits and some vegetables
- Zinc Can be found in eggs, whole grains, and fortified grains
A multivitamin may help support your nutritional needs, but megadose vitamins can be harmful. They should not be taken without your health care providers approval.
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Tips For Eating Healthy
Breast cancer symptoms and treatment side effects may leave you feeling too unwell to cook, plan meals, or eat as you normally do. Here are some tips to help make eating healthy easier.
- Shrink the size of your meals. Nausea, bloating, and constipation can make it hard to eat three large meals a day. To get the calories you need, graze on smaller portions five or six times daily. Add snacks like hard boiled eggs, yogurt with berries, and peanut butter on crackers or apples.
- Meet with a registered dietitian. A dietitian can help you design a healthy meal plan that suits your food preferences and nutritional needs. They can also teach you ways to manage cancer treatment side effects like nausea so you can eat a more well-balanced diet. If you can, work with a dietitian who has experience in treating people with breast cancer. Ask your oncologist or nurse to recommend someone.
- Use different utensils. Sometimes chemotherapy can leave a bad taste in your mouth that gives food an unpleasant flavor. Certain foods like meat can take on a metallic taste. To improve the taste of your food, avoid metal utensils and cooking implements. Use plastic cutlery instead, and cook with glass pots and pans.
- Add more fluids. If your mouth hurts too much to eat solid foods, get your nutrition from liquids like smoothies or nutritional beverages. In addition, treatment side effects like vomiting and diarrhea can
Foods That Prevent Breast Cancer
The food you eat can be either the safest and the most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison. Ann Wigmore
This quote stands especially true in todays scenario, where food safety is a critical issue. We live in an instant world where everything is accessible in a matter of minutes. Right from the 2-minute noodle pack to the readymade pre-cooked meal packets, we have a variety of quick-fix food products to savor our taste buds. Healthy eating has taken a backseat because of our stressful and fast-paced lifestyles.
In this article, we will discuss
- The top 15foods to prevent breast cancer.
- The foods you need to avoid.
- Importance of healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle.
You are what you eat. The way to a healthy lifestyle starts in your kitchen. Being healthy is not only about having a good body with beautiful skin and hair. Being Healthy is all about being disease free throughout your life. One should pay attention to what and how we cook and eat.
A well-balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables and low in added sugar and trans-fats can improve your health and reduce the risk of breast cancer.
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How Do I Make The Best Food Choices Throughout Cancer Treatment
When you are faced with a breast cancer diagnosis, nutrition can be an important part of your journey. Eating a well-balanced diet before, during, and after cancer treatment can help you feel better, maintain your strength, and speed your recovery.
- Maintain a healthy weight. Depending on what breast cancer treatment you undergo, you may experience weight gain or weight loss. Aim to maintain a healthy weight during treatment, avoiding excess gain or loss. Strict dieting during treatment is not recommended. Many breast cancer patients gain weight as a result of treatment as well.
- Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Eating frequent small meals will ensure your body is getting enough calories, protein, and nutrients to tolerate treatment. Smaller meals may also help to reduce treatment-related side effects such as nausea. Try eating 5- 6 small meals or mini meals about every three hours.
- Choose protein-rich foods. Protein helps the body to repair cells and tissue. It also helps your immune system recover from illness. Include a source of lean protein at all meals and snacks. Good sources of lean protein include:
- Lean meats such as chicken, fish, or turkey
- Soy foods
Brightly Colored Fruits And Vegetables Are Allies
When it comes to breast cancer prevention, think about eating more carrots, cantaloupe, and sweet potatoes foods rich in the compounds known as carotenoids. According to an article published in June 2015 in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who have higher levels of carotenoids in their bloodstream seem to be at lower risk for breast cancer.
Orange vegetables and fruits are most often held up as sources of this powerful nutrient, so if you want to amp up the carotenoids in your breast cancer diet, just make sure you get lots of orange, red, yellow, and even dark green foods.
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What Foods Should You Avoid During Cancer Treatment
Be aware of whats going into your body during cancer treatment. Read nutrition labels and prepare as much of your own food as you can. Its best to stay away from highly refined, processed food. You should also avoid fried foods that contain a lot of hydrogenated oils, which can increase inflammation.
Since people with cancer often have compromised immune systems, consider skipping foods that carry the risk of foodborne illnesses, including:
- Lightly cooked or raw fish, such as sushi
- Soft-cooked eggs or foods that contain raw eggs, such as homemade mayonnaise
- Unpasteurized cheeses and dairy products
- Unwashed fruits or vegetables
Whats The Relationship Between Red Meat Processed Meat And Cancer
Research by the American Institute for Cancer Research shows that eating more than 18 ounces of red meat per week increases your risk of getting colorectal cancer . Beef, lamb and pork are all red meats. Eating any amount of processed meat regularly can also increase your risk of getting both stomach and colorectal cancers. Processed meats are meats that are preserved by smoking, salting, curing, or adding other preservatives. Examples of processed meats include sliced turkey and bologna deli meats, bacon, ham, and hot dogs.
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Minimize Exposure To Heavy Metals
Heavy metals including copper, cobalt, arsenic, cadmium, mercury and lead have been found to stimulate estrogen receptors. Sources of arsenic include some brands of rice, seafood, well water cadmium is high in cigarettes and can be found in some soils mercury is mainly prevalent in larger fish and old dental amalgams and lead contamination is a component of air pollution, paint and dyes, and ceramic glazes among other sources.
Essentially, heavy metal and toxin exposure is hard to completely avoid in our world, even with careful choices. Because of this, I advise my patients to use compounds that provide safe, gentle detoxification of heavy metals and other contaminants, on a daily or periodic basis.
Modified citrus pectin, is derived from the pith of citrus fruit and has been shown in human studies to remove harmful heavy metals and reduce toxic body burden over time. MCP is able to cross the intestinal barrier and circulate in the bloodstream, where it binds to toxins and heavy metals and helps safely excrete them, without removing essential minerals. I also recommend ingredients such alpha-lipoic acid, N-acetyl cysteine, garlic, cilantro and other herbs and nutrients that provide support for our bodys complex detoxification systems.