Why a Good Diet is Not Good Enough during Cancer Treatment and Beyond
It's been a while since my last post. This Fall's been pretty busy and exciting. I've been on the speaking circuit, and wanted to share what I've been lecturing about since its pretty important to cancer patients and their families: good diets vs best diets during treatment to recovery. The point that eating a specific, more reflective diet is essential to health and recovery for patients.
The standard American diet (also known as SAD) consists of majority processed foods including grains, and is heavy in transaturated fats like margarine, and is high in red meat intake and dairy. Fresh fruit and vegetables are are low, and simple sugars and carbohydrates (from said processed grains, fruit juices and soda) are high. There seems to be some regional differences with people on the coasts eating more carbohydrates and less protein, and those in the middle of the country consuming greater amounts of red meat. If we look at what the National Cancer Institutes and EPIC study has compiled on foods and diets that increase risk of cancer -- the standard American diet is the epitome of a very sad and risky diet for cancer patients.
The standard American diet tend to create, as a result, general deficiencies in magnesium, potassium, calcium, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, iron, chromium and several other electrolytes and micro nutrients. These deficiencies can contribute to creating or exacerbating such conditions high blood pressure, insomnia, osteoporosis, heart conditions, diabetes, and other chronic health diseases. Now that's just on a SAD!
During standard chemotherapy it has been documented that several of the aforementioned minerals such as magnesium and calcium are depleted. Some patients develop symptoms associated these deficiencies and will have to receive transfusions of iron or hydrate with magnesium or supplement with potassium.
It is extremely important to prevent these deficiencies before they happen if we want to: 1) decrease or prevent symptoms during cancer treatment, 2) increase vitality and resilience during the treatment and thus increasing outcome response.
A better diet during cancer treatment and beyond should be one guided by the prestigious studies and your personalized cancer treatment (because each protocol causes specific deficiencies or side effects). In general, however, we want to follow these guidelines (you should always check with your doctor before starting a dietary regime):
Limit red meat intake to 3 times or less per week
Limit cow milk/dairy to 4 times or less per week
Limit simple sugar intake to 20 grams or less per day
Protein intake should be at least 50 grams per day (Plant based)
Fruit and vegetable goals should be 6 to 8 servings per day
Diet should consist of 80% whole foods if not more
Alcohol should be limited to less than 4 drinks per week (though new studies show any increases risk in folks with cancer)
Meals and snack should be determined by their mineral, vitamin and fiber content, first and secondly their flavor. But wait -- remember there are so many wonderful tasting foods to choose from that really taste and flavor shouldn't be an issue.
This is a very important and vital period in the life of a cancer patient. Every choice is an important turning point.
Find a great naturopath trained in complimentary cancer care or a great nutritionist to help you along this journey.
Be well! And looking forward to the New Year with you.