There is no diet that is guaranteed to ward off cancer or cure cancer, but some experts believe that what people eat can make a difference in how they heal from cancer surgery and treatment and possibly prevent a recurrence of cancer.
“I am what I am now because of my cancer history,” said Cheryl Rojic, AADP, Certified Holistic Health Coach at Intentional Health. “For basic prevention and healing from pretty much anything, flood your body with whole food nutrition.”
Ms. Rojic is a thyroid cancer and breast cancer survivor, who discovered the importance of diet during her own recovery along with a passion to help others eat better for optimum health.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Ms. Rojic recommends a few specific foods that she has learned are beneficial to other people with this disease, as well as possibly preventing it from occurring.
*Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, kale, bok choy, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, and more like this. High in basic antioxidants such as vitamins A, C, and E, these foods have “protective nutrients” to guard against cancer. In addition, phytochemicals called indoles and sulforaphane, have the potential to neutralize toxins that can cause breast cancer. If raw isn’t your thing, try steaming or sauteeing so you don’t lose those nutrients.
*Plums and peaches have antioxidants that have been found to damage breast cancer cells, but not normal cells. These late summer fruits can be eaten fresh or cooked with a wide variety of other foods.
*Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fats and have anti-inflammatory properties. Walnuts can be eaten raw, baked into foods, or sprinkled on top of cereals and salads.
“Everybody needs to cut out highly processed foods because they have no nutrition left in them and our bodies need nourishment,” said Ms. Rojic. “The body is better supported to handle chemotherapy or radiation treatment and healthy cells are more likely to stay healthy when we eat whole nutritious foods.”
Empowered or Exhausted?
The choice to hire a health coach like Ms. Rojic or just to make one’s own dietary changes after a cancer diagnosis is very personal.
“Some people just want to say this is what my doctor told me to do and not also take on a full diet change,” Ms. Rojic said. “Some people might say it’s too hard.”
The doctor’s order can conflict with some of the nutritional advice, Ms. Rojic explains. For example, cancer treatments can lead to rapid weight loss in not just fat but also muscles so a doctor may recommend high-calorie drinks or ice cream that are high in sugar to prevent this muscle loss.
However, there can be other benefits to diet changes when coping with cancer. “When you get a cancer diagnosis, everything goes out of control and your family dynamics change,” she said. “If you are the caregiver of the household, you suddenly have to learn to receive care. It can be empowering to take control of what you are putting in your mouth and your body. This sense of control can help to reduce stress and that can make a huge difference. We should all be willing to care ourselves and to properly nourish the healing body.”
Learn more about health coaching and get anti-cancer tips at Ms. Rojic’s website,www.intentionalhealthcoach.com.