Nutrition for Cancer of the Head, Neck and LungBy: Carolyn Katzin, MS, CNS, Certified Nutrition Specialist
Dana Reeve, the wife of the late actorhumanitarian Christopher Reeve, is the most recent in a series of famous people to receive the troubling diagnosis of lung cancer.
Even though many people such as Mrs. Reeve are not active smokers, they may have been exposed to cigarette smoke and other toxins at some points in their lives. Cancers of the head, neck and lung are frequently linked with tobacco (both cigarette and cigar), as well as increased alcohol intake, and are also associated with a diet low in fruits and vegetables.
Most cancers of the head, neck and lung or upper digestive tract are squamous cell carcinoma. The risk of developing this type of cancer appears to be increased by a diet low in folic acid, a B vitamin, and with few phytochemicals (chemicals coming from plants) including carotenes, flavonoids, polyphenols and isothiocynates.
About half of the population lacks the genetic coding for the detoxification enzyme that protects cells from free radicals, such as those derived from cigarette smoke. This population is, therefore, particularly dependent on vegetables from the allium (onion/garlic) and cruciferous (cabbage) family to generate other more specialized liver enzymes for detoxification.
Dietary Plan (including important fruits and vegetables) Breakfast: Oatmeal with fresh berries Green or black tea Snack: Apple Lunch: Bruschetta (fresh tomatoes, garlic and olive oil on toast) Large mixed green salad with scallions Garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing Poached salmon with dill sauce Snack: 10 -12 unsalted almonds Few raisins (optional) Dinner: Phytomineral soup Lean turkey burger Garlic mashed potatoes Steamed cauliflower and broccoli Dessert: Apple and Cinnamon Crisp
Reduce Your Cancer Risk: Don’t smoke. Avoid second hand smoke. Marinate all meats before broiling for a minimum of 40 minutes in an acidic marinade. This process reduces the formation of potential carcinogens on the surface of meats exposed to high heat. Cook meat and fish at a low moist temperature. Eat foods from the allium and cruciferous vegetable families: Allium: Onions, garlic, scallions, shallots, chives and leeks Cruciferous: Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, brussels sprouts, watercress, bok choy, Swiss chard Eat a fortified breakfast cereal, or take a multivitamin and mineral supplement containing the recommended daily allowance of B vitamins, folic acid, vitamin B6 and B12. Use antioxidant-rich culinary herbs such as rosemary, oregano, tarragon and thyme. Use curry powder containing turmeric and cumin. Drink green or black tea. Decaffeinated is effective. Phytomineral Soup 1 Tablespoon olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped 4 cloves garlic, crushed 2 sticks celery, chopped 2 medium carrots, sliced 1/2 cup corn 1 15-ounce can tomatoes 1/2 cup parsley, chopped 1 teaspoon thyme 1/2 teaspoon rosemary 1 teaspoon curry 1 vegetable bouillon cube 5 cups water 1 cup frozen peas 1/2 cup firm tofu, cubed 2 cups spinach, chopped 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1 pinch salt Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet. Sauté the onions and garlic for 3 to 5 minutes. Add the celery and carrots, and sauté for another 2 minutes. Add the corn, tomatoes, parsley, thyme, rosemary and curry. Dissolve the bouillon cube in a cup of boiling water. Add the broth to the pan, with 4 more cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the peas, tofu and spinach. Add salt and pepper to taste, and simmer for 5 more minutes. Servings 6 Calories 153 Carbohydrate 23g Protein 7g Fat 4g Cholesterol 0mg Dietary Fiber 4g Calories from fat 24%
Recipe from The Cancer Nutrition Center Handbook by Carolyn Katzin.