When doctors, nutritionists, bloggers, and other experts talk about a healthy diet and nutrition, they often err on the side of talking about the most common issues. Obesity, for example, is always a hot topic when it comes to nutrition publications. This is often the case of the “squeaky wheel”. Basically, when a big issue demands attention, the ones that seem less like an emergency at the time get pushed aside. This isn’t because they are not as important, but it is often because it is not as overwhelming or shouting for attention. So, when people who are suffering from cancer or anorexia pick up a publication, they aren’t going to find the help they are looking for.
So, we are going to cover nutrition issues OTHER than obesity, to help people with a variety of problems. Because everyone is different, and there is no “one size fits all” thing for everybody outside of a general rule of thumb.
This is the sort of condition that is life-changing enough to be serious but common enough for everyone to have at least heard of a person or have been related to one with it. It is enough of an issue for children’s television programs to tackle it. It is also something that is often talked about when charity work comes up around the Holiday Season.
So, what is cancer and why does it have nutritional needs?
Cancer is a condition in which cells grow at an abnormal rate. Our bodies are made up of cells. They carry our DNA, and merge together to create our matter. Because our cells are for animals, they have a life cycle. When our cells stop working, they both replace themselves via asexual reproduction, then shed away. The number of cells in our bodies are fairly even with their reproduction rate. In other words, if one cell dies, another one is replaced by our body. However, there are times when our cells grow too fast.
Instead of replacing dead cells, they take up too much space and leech off the energy meant for other parts of the body. They become too many cells for your body to handle.
Types of Cancer
According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, there are several types of cancer. These include: ”
- Carcinomas begin in the skin or tissues that line the internal organs.
- Sarcomas develop in the bone, cartilage, fat, muscle or other connective tissues.
- Leukemia begins in the blood and bone marrow.
- Lymphomas start in the immune system.
- Central nervous system cancers develop in the brain and spinal cord”
The treatments for these types of cancer vary according to location, and where they spread, so there is no 100% cure for every type out there. The remission of cancer depends on how early doctors catch it, and your ability to bounce back from a severely weakened immune system that happens during treatment.
What is a Good Diet for Someone Who Has Cancer?
While it is obvious refined carbs, processed food, and sugars are a bad diet plan as a rule of thumb, there is more to it than that with people who have cancer.
For example, according to Nutritionist Carla Prado, who published over 150 studies on the subject within a year, the number one threat to cancer patients is a loss of muscle mass.
“Patients with low muscle mass experience more complications, longer hospital stays and lower survival rates. Muscle is very important for movement and balance, for posture, strength, and power, but it’s also a reservoir of amino acids,” said Prado. “The more you lose, the greater the consequences. Nutrition interventions could improve cancer treatment, making a high-protein, high-nutrient diet a crucial tool in the fight against a life-threatening illness.”
So, the place to start would be to figure out what type of foods contribute to building muscle mass. This is where protein from meats and whole grains come in. Lean beef, fish, legumes, egg, whey, and oatmeal are a great source of these things. Vegetables are also a good supplement for this to serve enough as fiber to help keep cancer patients regular while they are on a high protein diet.
Of course, you want to consult a doctor before going on any diet. And this isn’t a cure for the disease. However, that doesn’t mean that it can’t make the fight more bearable, or at least buy you more time. And really, time, no matter how much we have it can be a precious thing.