Sunday, February 8, 2009

What to Eat When Cancer is at Large.

As I have mentioned in previous article, diet is very important in treating cancer. Tumor takes away nutrients that the body needs to fight that tumor. Nutrients can be categorized as carbohydrates, fats (lipids), proteins and vitamins and minerals. Each group has subgroups. I will try to cover every group and most of the subgroups.

Carbohydrates are very important as they keep our digestive tract healthy and provide with large amounts of energy that can be easily utilized by the body. Complex carbs, fiber, are very important, however if intake of fiber was sufficient enough prior to cancer, it should be enough after cancer invaded the body. Of course fiber is important, but when cancer is at large, we need to pick our battles. We will need foods that will give more nutrients and more calories. For example I eat 3-4 meals every day. If I had to increase my food intake, I don’t think I’d be able to make myself eat more then 5 meals. If this 5th meal is mostly fiber, it will not give all the nutrients that I need. For the first time I will advise eating simple carbs. They are easily absorbed and can be used for energy almost immediately after being eaten. Eating candies however as a mean of getting simple carbs is not the best idea. Chose something that has vitamins in it, this way you can kill two birds. Fruits, vegetables and greens would be a good way to keep up with fiber, sugars and vitamins and minerals.

Fats, fats, fats. Everyone always says how bad fats are and that they can cause all these problems with cholesterol. The truth is, not all fats are bad. Trans fats are very bad, they are not benefiting the body and are only sitting there clogging up arteries and veins. When every calorie counts, why waste time on trans fats? Exclude all trans fats from your diet and replace them with saturated and unsaturated fats. These fats can be found in plants and in animal products. You might have heard that animal fat is not healthy and can increase cholesterol level and form fatty deposits in the arteries, it’s not exactly the case. Human body is a very smart machine that almost never makes mistakes, if our liver produces cholesterol; there is a good reason for that. Fear not of animal fat. Fat is needed to absorb vitamins A, D, E, and K. We can eat as many products as we want with these vitamins, but if we are not eating any fats, these vitamins will never be absorbed by our body. Fat has more calories then any other food group, more then twice as many calories as carbs and proteins have. I highly recommend getting fish oil and using it to increase fat intake. Fish oil has vitamins A and D in it, makes up for a great combination. Vegetable oils should be consumed unheated. Once you heat it up, the structure can change into trans fat. There are many great oils out there, from many different plants, I would highly recommend the good old olive oil. When buying olive oil, don’t be cheap though, don’t buy inorganic oil. It might not have the same great qualities as the real deal. Read the label when buying it, make sure it’s not overly processed and doesn’t have any partially hydrogenated or hydrogenated oils in it. If you would like to get oils other then olive oil, go for it, but don’t forget to read the label.

Proteins are an absolute must for our bodies; we need proteins to rebuild tissues that have been damaged. Proteins are made of amino acids, there are amino acids body can produce (non essential) and there are amino acids body can not produce and must get from food (essential). Proteins can be divided into two groups, complete and not complete. Complete proteins have every essential amino acid in it and can be found in meat, milk and eggs. Not complete proteins are proteins with a few of the essential amino acids, but not all of them, these proteins can be found in the plants, such as grains and nuts. Combination of a few not complete proteins can provide with all of the essential amino acids since every plant has different amino acids. The best sources of proteins are therefore meats, milk and eggs as well as other animal products, however plant sources if combined correctly can provide with all essential amino acids. It is not too hard for a person to not eat any animal products and be able to have enough proteins. When cancer attacks however, I would strongly recommend to at least eating dairy products.

Vitamins and minerals are essential for healthy body function. Without them, human body will die. Just like with every other nutrient, when someone has cancer, he/she should increase vitamin and mineral intake. As long as you have healthy kidney, there shouldn’t be problems with overdose of vitamins. the only vitamins that you might not want to eat too much of are A, D, E and K; these vitamins are fat soluble and do not get excreted with the urine. Supplements are great help in increasing vitamin and mineral intake, but I would recommend eating foods that contain them. If you eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals you will be able to get extra calories and other nutrients at the same time.

Alcohol is contraindicated for people with cancer. Alcohol has a lot of calories, the only food group that has more calories is fat. The problem with alcohol is that it doesn’t allow other nutrients to be absorbed as long as alcohol remains in the blood. Until body uses all the alcohol for energy, body will not use vitamins, minerals, proteins and other vital for our body nutrients. This can hinder nutrition in any person, cancer patients are hurt even more by alcohol as they need more nutrients.

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