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  • Nutrition for Cancer Survivors

    Nutrition for Cancer Survivors

    As you may already know from previous mention, Moffitt Cancer Center is based out of Tampa, Fla., and focuses on the prevention and cure of cancer. However, for those of you who haven’t heard, they are one of the world’s most sophisticated cancer centers and have a staff of physicians & medical researchers who are among the best in their respective fields. We recently did a Moffitt post about their take on proper “Diet During Cancer Treatment,” and if you have not read it yet, you should!

    However, this time they are back to let us survivors know a little more about how nutrition can help maintain our survivorship for years to come. Studies consistently show a connection between a high intake of fruits and vegetables and reduced cancer risk. Eating cancer-fighting foods and staying lean is important not only for prevention of cancer but also for cancer survivors. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can improve health and reduce the chance that cancer will return. All fruits, vegetables and other plant foods such as grains and beans contain cancer-fighting substances called phytochemicals.

    Cancer survivors should consume seven servings of plant foods each day in addition to five servings of fruits and vegetables to get the optimal amount of cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Click here to learn about Moffitt & the Publix Apron’s Cooking Class where registered dietitians from Moffitt team up with chefs to create recipes that are fun, easy to prepare and filled with disease-fighting nutrients. Many laboratory studies suggest that cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bok choy and cabbage help regulate a complex system of enzymes in our bodies that defend against cancer. Natural compounds found in these vegetables such as indoles and isothiocyanates have shown the ability to stop the growth of cancer in cell cultures and animal studies. And dark green vegetables like broccoli and kale also contain high amounts of vitamin C and beta carotene. Berries are also excellent sources of nutrients.

    Strawberries, blueberries and raspberries, in particular, are rich in cancer-fighting substances.   Phytochemicals such as ellagic acid, flavonoids and anthocyanosides found in these berries have been shown to help the body deactivate carcinogens and slow the activity of cancer cells. Check out articles on healthy foods & recipes by clicking the links listed here: Healthy Eating Cancer-Fighting Foods Tasty and Healthy Recipes Focus on Colon Cancer There is convincing evidence that eating a lot of red meat (beef, pork and lamb) can increase the risk of getting colon cancer. You should limit intake of red meats, including beef, pork and veal, to 18 ounces per week or less to reduce your risk of developing colon cancer. It’s also a good idea to use high-protein meat alternatives such as soy, textured vegetable protein, beans and lentils. Regular physical activity is also important for colon cancer prevention.

    If you are not active, any increase in activity is helpful. It takes only 60 minutes of moderate activity a day to cut your cancer risk. Start with 30 minutes a day, and work your way up as your fitness improves. Click here to read questions and answers about consuming red meat … and even ask a dietitian specific questions. Summing It Up Changing the focus from a meat-based diet to a grain, fruit and vegetable-based diet doesn’t mean that you must become a vegetarian. Eating primarily plant foods and animal foods on occasion and in moderation provides another advantage called the “fullness factor.” These foods tend to be higher in bulk, leaving you with a feeling that you are actually eating more but in reality, you are getting fewer calories. 

    The bottom line here is this: Moving away from meats and animal products while increasing fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes can lead to better health along with a feeling of satisfaction. Click here to measure your body mass index and get a good indication of your state of health. Moffitt’s Department of Nutrition Therapy offers a comprehensive nutrition and exercise education program called R.E.N.E.W. 180™ to help cancer survivors implement recommendations such as these. For more information about this program, call (813) 745-6889. Learn more about R.E.N.E.W. here.

    Please make sure you check out all the helpful links & articles listed throughout this post. Also, browse Moffitt’s website to learn more about the information and support they have available. BIG THANKS to Moffitt for not only being a phenomenal facility but a large supporter of Know Cancer and our initiatives! Nutritional Information provided by: Kathryn Allen, MA, RD, LD/N, CSO