What we eat can influence our overall physiology. A person suffering from cancer has stronger needs to keep their body strong enough to endure and persist through cancer treatment.
Food Linked To Cancer
Considered unhealthy studies suggest eating processed food may be associated with a higher risk of cancer. Processed food refers to packaged salty, sugary, or fatty food.
Common examples include bacon, salami, hotdogs, sausages, and pickled products that are high in acid. Nitrosamines from processed meats like bacon are found to be compounds that can increase the risks of getting stomach and bowel cancer.
Cooking meat and other food at high temperatures form carcinogenic compounds. Testing the compounds from charred food proved its carcinogenic effect on animals but has not been proven to affect humans. Nonetheless, it is still considered a probable carcinogen, so it’s recommended to avoid overcooking and charring your food.
Animal-based food high in fat and protein when subjected to burning-hot temperatures are likely to produce harmful compounds. Excess build-up of these harmful compounds increases the risk of developing cancer or other ailments.
Eating red meat has not yet been established as a cause of cancer, but it shows a positive association in developing colorectal, pancreatic, and prostate cancer. Examples include beef, pork, lamb, veal, horse, goat, and mutton. There is no reason for you to cut-off lean meat in your diet, but reducing the amount you eat could lower your risks of getting cancer from these products.
Cancer is just one affliction that can be caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Heavier alcohol intake increases the risk of damage and injuries. Acetaldehyde (a byproduct of ethanol in alcoholic drinks), damages proteins and DNA. It also impairs the bodies’ ability to process and absorb nutrients that may indirectly be associated with higher cancer risk
According to some studies, clear patterns suggests that developing the following types of cancer has a significant association with alcohol consumption:
- Head and Neck Cancer
As of the moment, there aren’t accurate ways of identifying food items that increase the risks of getting cancer aside from testing it for its carcinogenic effects on the human body. However, there are food products that are already considered carcinogenic or known to have the ability to disrupt cellular metabolic processes and damaging our DNA.
Avoiding the carcinogens on the items listed on known and probable human carcinogens from International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) and the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) doesn’t guarantee safety from getting cancer. Exposure to carcinogens doesn’t automatically mean you’re going to get cancer but patterns indicate that less exposure means fewer risks of getting cancer from these sources.
Diet Upon Diagnosis and During Treatment
Nutrition has always played a vital role in our overall physical fitness. Preparing your mind and body before conducting the actual treatment for cancer can only benefit you in one way or another.
Before undergoing treatment, keep in mind that you need to build up your bodily strength and willpower to get ready for the rigorous process that you will undergo. Your body will face a lot of changes so it needs enough nutrition to handle being subjected to the treatment.
A good step for preparation is to talk to your doctor, nurse, or even a dietician about the proper diet before cancer treatment begins. They can guide you on how to get sufficient nutrition during different parts of your treatment.
Meeting the nutritional needs of the cancer patient is a fundamental factor to encourage a positive outcome to aid in the success of the treatment. And knowing what to expect can help make you feel better.
Loss of appetite is prevalent among cancer patients. Your appetite can easily be affected by your mood. Feelings of depression, anxiety or helplessness will decrease your appetite significantly. Also, there are times when you may have difficulty chewing or swallowing, so change your diet to accommodate your body’s response to the treatment.
Aside from appetite loss, you may also face these other problems with eating :
- Dry/Sore Mouth
- Sore Throat
- Lactose intolerance
Other treatments might also affect your sense of smell and taste. Your doctor or dietician can help you adjust through these problems, ensuring you have proper nutrition throughout your treatment.
Once you start treatment, there will be days where you have a good appetite. When you do, make sure to eat a lot of protein and calories to help your body rebuild tissues damaged due to your cancer treatment.
Malnutrition is common for cancer patients, and there are days you cannot eat at all. You still need to try to get as many nutrients as you can. You can drink liquid meal replacements and other fluids like fruit and vegetable juice to compensate for the lack of food.
It is also worth noting that there are existing cancer treatments that make cancer patients prone to contracting infections. That is why extra care and precaution should be observed when handling the patient’s food.
The Survivor’s Diet
Eating healthy after cancer treatment is not an assurance of keeping cancer at bay. Most eating difficulties are relieved after treatment so take advantage of this time to eat good, healthy food to promote your body’s recovery.
Although miracle food that magically cures cancer doesn’t exist, it is undeniable that maintaining a balanced diet is essential in improving one’s quality of life. Food fills our bodies with nourishment and ensures we have enough energy to keep thriving to a brand new day.
Merely eating does not give an ample amount of benefit, let alone a cancer patient. The balance of our diet dictates and influences our bodies’ ability to combat diseases and preserve the quality of life that everyone seeks. A well-balanced diet, avoiding foods that are suspected or known to cause cancer, combined with regular exercise will give you the best protection against cancer and many other diseases.