The things we put on our plate and into our body determines our overall fitness. Having the right kind of nutrition not only helps us reduce the risk of exposure to critical illnesses such as cancer but also helps us recover from any major surgery. For example, after cancer surgery, patients usually undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy to render the cancer cells ineffective. In the process, however, our immunity is at the lowest as both these therapies kill our healthy body cells along with the cancerous cells. Therefore, we need to make sure that we have the highest possible nutrition level during post-cancer recovery. To help, here is a five-point nutrition plan that comprises plant-based foods, organic and whole foods along with foods rich in Vitamin B12 and D.
Studies show that animal-based diets usually cause inflammation in the body. Inflammation, in turn, is a stressor that negatively impacts all types of body cells, eventually leading to cancerous growths and mutations in the body. On the other hand, plant-based diets are rich in antioxidants, which naturally ward off inflammation. As a result, the carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) fail to infect the tissues, and the cells of the body can fight off mutations.
Also, a plant-based diet offers several monosaturated fats, which help the body absorb fat-soluble vitamins and other nutrients, unlike an animal-based diet, which contains mostly saturated fats. Having foods rich in beta-carotene, zeaxanthin and alpha-carotene such as sweet potatoes, carrots, dark leafy greens, broccoli, and peas helps the body fight off cancerous growths in the body and recover post-radiotherapy. Some cancer nutritionists also suggest their patients add whey protein and avocados (which is rich in glutathione). These food items help detoxify the body tissues, provide antioxidants and strengthen the liver.
Nutritionists recommend cancer patients to include whole foods such as brown rice and quinoa in their diets. Whole grains are rich in dietary fibre and plant carbohydrates that help mitigate health issues such as constipation during cancer therapy. There are mainly two categories of fibre: soluble (such as peas, oat bran, psyllium fibre and beans) and insoluble (such as fruit peels, nuts, seeds, wheat bran and cellulose).
Also, whole foods such as millet, kasha and beans are fulfilling yet low in calories. Therefore, you will feel satiated for more extended periods of time without loading up on high-calorie carbs.
Food grown organically has zero or low levels of pesticides and chemicals. Therefore, it helps you avoid consuming harmful chemicals and pesticides unknowingly. Organically grown foods are also free from artificial food additives such as preservatives, artificial sweeteners, colouring, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and flavouring.
Also, the nutritional value of organic foods is generally high due to the presence of antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids and micronutrients including Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Zinc and Iron. On the other hand, these foods have lower levels of nitrate (consuming foods with high nitrate levels may increase the risk of contracting certain types of cancer).
Foods Rich in Vitamin B-12
Vitamin B12 or cobalamin, is an essential water-soluble vitamin that helps in the production of red blood cells, DNA, phospholipids and neurotransmitters in the body as well as metabolise amino acids and fatty acids in cells. While Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal-based foods such as fish, poultry, eggs and dairy, it can also be found in several varieties of bread, fortified cereals and plant-based milk (more suitable for cancer patients). Together with folate and vitamin B6, Vitamin B12 helps reduce the risk for some types of cancers.
Foods Rich in Vitamin D
Vitamins D aids several body functions such as nerve function, metabolism, and skin health. Furthermore, it also helps provide immune support, improve bone strength and regulate blood-calcium. Studies have shown that the Vitamin D helps prevent several types of cancer. Vitamin D is naturally synthesised by our body on exposure to sunlight. Our skin produces Vitamin D3 after getting exposed to ultraviolet rays, which is later processed into Vitamin D.
Animal-based sources such as cod and mackerel are excellent sources of Vitamin D. That said, cancer patients can get the nutrient through foods such as mushrooms, fortified milk, yoghurt, orange juice and cereal. You can also take external supplementation for Vitamin D, if necessary.
Nutrition and palatability go hand in hand. Therefore, you need to focus on consuming foods that are plant-based, organic and rich in essential vitamins, especially if you are recovering from chemotherapy and radiotherapy, or want to mitigate your chances of getting cancer. Also, you must avoid foods such as sugar, milk, oil, white rice, white flour as they are devoid of most nutritional content. While dietary changes are vital to avoid the risk of cancer, there’s one more step that you can take to safeguard yourself against this critical illness: buy a cancer insurance plan. Cancer treatment, by large, is a costly affair. With a cancer insurance plan, therefore, you will be able to avail a cash payout that will cover all medical costs and ensure that your income never stops.