Cancer And Nutrition
Cancer And Nutrition
Susan Silberstein & Marilyn Joyce (Health and Nutrition Educator & Heath Counselor) gives expert video advice on: How can excessive weight increase my risk of cancer?; What foods can help alleviate my nausea caused by cancer treatments?; What foods might help prevent hair loss caused by cancer treatments? and more...
How does a poor diet increase my risk of getting cancer?
If you're living on the poor diet of the sad American diet, your body is not getting the plethora of vita chemical, vita flavonoids, and antioxidants that are inherently in fruit and vegetables, which counteract the free radicals. Free radicals are unstable little molecules floating around in your system looking for an extra electron so that they can become balanced, and they act like little 'Pac-Man's gobbling off electrons from your healthy cell membrane. This then weakens the healthy cell membrane at that point whilst making the free radicals stronger. If you have less and less antioxidants, vita flavonoids, and vita chemicals coming into your body from healthy foods, whilst eating a lot of the denatured foods, that then creates more of the free radicals. You are then going to have a massive population of these free radicals, which in turn will result in a suppressed immune system and damage DNA. Eventually a major illness occurs such as cancer.
How can excessive weight increase my risk of cancer?
Definitely, with obesity you're increasing your risk of any major illness because when you are overweight your body cannot function effectively. There is not one function that will work efficiently and effectively when your body is struggling to carry around excess weight when you are overweight or obese. So much energy is exerted on just carrying that extra weight around. I've had overweight clients carry around a 25-pound bag on either side with each hand or arm, for about an hour, just to get the sense of what they are creating in their body by being overweight. They don't realize that's happening, but that excess weight has to be dealt with, and being obese or overweight is not therefore allowing the body to take care of the other functions effectively or efficiently.
How can sugar increase my risk of cancer?
Sugar is especially dangerous when you look at the cancer picture because not only can it suppress our immune system so that we cannot be vigilant against cancer cells, but in addition, sugar is cancer's favorite food. Malignant cells; cancerous cells, uptake sugar at a rate of probably 5 times the rate that healthy cells take up sugar, we call them obligate sugar metabolizers. That's why PET scans work so well. These are scans that tell us where cancer is lurking in the body and how we administer that is by giving the patient some sugar water tagged with a radioactive isotope that will make the sugar make a b-line through the cancer and then the cells will light up, so we can either have a lot of PET scans or eat a lot of sugar if we want to get the cancer growing.
What foods can help alleviate my nausea caused by cancer treatments?
As you're going through cancer treatment, nausea is a huge problem; I remember it well. Basically what we need to do under those circumstances is get things in that will help to alleviate nausea. So, one of the things that's very good is ginger. Now, it may be making a ginger tea and this is one of the best things that I was ever taught when I was going through my own journey; just boil ginger, approximately an inch of ginger for about 15 minutes, and then add some fresh lemon juice into that because that has vitamin C which is the healing property, and you've got the ginger which is anti-nausea. Then, drink that tea. For a lot of my clients they find they have to add something to it so, if worst comes to worst, they might add some soy milk to it to give it a creamier texture. You can do that and it generally will not impact it negatively at all. However, if you're really feeling nauseous the soy milk may not go down well. The ginger tea on its own will. Another thing too is if you're able to chew the ginger, the fresh ginger, just slice off a very thin sliver of it and chew it. It will also alleviate the nausea, so it's great for that. Actually, even women going through pregnancy and morning sickness have found that to be a real benefit.
What foods can help mouth sores and skin wounds caused by cancer treatments?
For mouth sores and skin wounds, we know very definitely that vitamin C is excellent, with foods that are high in vitamin C being oranges, lemons and tangerines. They could be hard for someone to take with mouth sores, so we have to engage it and see how they do. If they can handle them, great, then we'll give that to them. If they can't, then we would look at an esterified vitamin C, which is very easy to assimilate and you can swallow it down in a capsule form so you are not experiencing it right in your mouth. That is one way you can handle that problem. Also, anything cold is really good for someone with mouth sores. It is preferable, usually, to avoid eating things that you have to chew, and to go more for smoothies and things that are nutritionally balanced, not ice cream.
What foods might help prevent hair loss caused by cancer treatments?
There are several things that we know of: The B vitamin family in general and vitamin C are very protective against hair loss. What they found is that just taking the supplements doesn't seem to work; It needs to be the whole food based diet. So, for example having foods, whole foods, fruit and vegetables that are loaded with these nutrients, whole grains, legumes and even if a person can't specifically eat them very easily, they can be made into a smoothie or soup recipe using a powerful blender. One thing I have found though is that people that have the least hair loss and the least damage to their nails in general are people that had a pretty healthy diet before they were diagnosed with cancer.They were ingesting whole foods in the forms of fruits and vegetables and whole grains. It is interesting. People will get sick and make changes. But if they make the changes, even if they got sick, the results of that illness wouldn't be as serious as if they had been eating garbage beforehand. We really see that. The healthier your diet was before, the less hair loss there is.
How can nutrition protect my kidneys and liver from the side effects of chemotherapy?
What we need to do is have a lot of water continually. Water is one of the best detoxiants there is. One of the remedies that I use with my clients is just a hot lemon drink every morning and throughout the day if they have an urge for it, but especially first thing in the morning. It is hot water (not boiled water) with the juice of a half of a large lemon or one small lemon squeezed into it with a little bit of cayenne pepper and just a touch of pure maple syrup to take the edge off. The enzymes in the pure maple syrup and the lemon, plus the vitamin C, and the cayenne pepper which is very, very immune boosting will have a very strong paristaltic effect so the drink will really release a lot of the toxins first thing in the morning. This means that the person is getting rid of some of those toxins right away. We also know that for, not while you are going through chemotherapy, but immediately after, milk thistle is a very good herb to incorporate into your system or your regime until you have eliminated a lot of the toxic remnants of the chemotherapy.
Should I avoid antioxidants if I'm going through cancer treatment?
Yes; if you're going through cancer treatments, avoid high dosages of one or two specific antioxidants, such as Vitamin E, co-enzymes Q-1, or selenium. Stick more to a nutritional product that has all the nutrients intact in a balance format. That would be much more advisable. Then, when you finish your chemotherapy and radiation, if you choose then to up your ante of, say, co-enzyme Q-1 (which enhances the production of energy and helps the body heal faster), then that would be something to work with a qualified nutritionist on incorporating, because you want a good quality and you want the right amount. You don't want a large amount; you want the right amount for your body. That's where one size doesn't fit all. I have never been an advocate of large amounts of any vitamin or mineral or complex of a few things in large amounts; whether it's before, during, or after chemotherapy. I'm always an advocate for finding ways to get whole-food based nutritional products into your programme.