Myths, Controversies and Realties
There is a wealth of research available today on the effect of diet and nutrition on physical health. In general, it is believed that a balance of healthful foods combined with regular physical activity decreases life-long cancer risk as well as contributes to overall good health. After a diagnosis of cancer, some people experience weight gain, while others are unable to stop losing weight. It is important for all cancer patients to maintain a healthy weight by staying active and balancing energy needs with a healthful diet. Your doctor can refer you to an experienced nutritionist who is part of your overall health care team. Below is a typical meal plan for someone who is battling cancer.
No one knows exactly which combination of vitamins and nutrients is most effective at reducing cancer risk, but we do know that nutritional supplements don’t offer the same protection as real fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
These foods are loaded with cancer fighting nutrients and antioxidants and should form the base of every meal.
Step it Up
Many people aren’t aware of how important exercise is for cancer patients. Staying active during treatment can make a huge difference in overall wellbeing and self-confidence, and can reduce insomnia. Physical activity doesn’t have to be strenuous to be beneficial. A morning walk, some gardening and an evening walk are just as valuable as a workout at the gym and easily attainable.
Some evidence suggests that alcohol consumption raises the risk of breast cancer in susceptible women. What is also known, however, is that a small amount (one drink for a woman and two for a man) of alcohol, particularly red wine, may be protective against heart disease. Some advocates suggest that the benefits may outweigh the risk. The American Cancer Society advises people to limit consumption, and if you or your family have a history of breast cancer, to avoid alcohol altogether.