This past weekend my parents visited and we took part in the Susan Komen Breast Cancer Walk at Atlantic Station in Atlanta. This was my wife and I’s fourth time participating, but having my mother with us made this year special. She is a breast cancer survivor.
So it seems perfect that Jillian McKee recently reached out to inquire about a guest post sharing what she has learned about good nutrition and cancer. Here’s Jillian’s lessons:
Healthy Nutrition for Cancer Patients
Healthy eating can help prevent chronic diseases such as type-2 diabetes and heart disease; it can also prevent certain forms of cancer. However, if you have already been diagnosed with cancer, it isn’t too late to reap the benefits of following a nutritious diet. In fact, the American Cancer Society recommends following a healthy diet during and after cancer treatment to improve your health, strength and well-being.
Improving the Immune System
Cancers such as mesothelioma, lung cancer and colon cancer take a toll on the way your immune system fights against germs and diseases. A weakened immune system can cause you to catch more colds than usual and leaves you susceptible to some pretty nasty bugs and infections. Eating immune boosting foods can help boost your white blood cell count, which helps to prevent infections. Foods that contain high amounts of the antioxidant and water-soluble vitamin, Vitamin C, increases your white blood cell count, produces more antibodies and prevents viruses from invading your body. The recommended daily allowance of vitamin C is 90 mg for men and 75 mg for women, although this amount can be safely increased to 2,000mg per day according to the Harvard Medical School. Foods that are high in vitamin C are citrus fruits, potatoes, broccoli, bell peppers and strawberries.
Chemotherapy and other forms of cancer treatments can leave you needing a quick pick-me-up. Nutrition not only increases your health, but it can also improve your strength. You may be tempted to pick up a chocolate bar or a donut for a boost, but research has shown that sugary foods cause your blood sugar levels to spike, giving you a quick boost and a long crash afterward. Instead, reach for energy promoting foods such as almonds, kale, boiled eggs and shrimp. In addition to adding energy-boosting foods, eat smaller meals more frequently to keep your blood sugar leveled, resulting in a steady flow of energy.
Cancer treatment can cause damage to delicate tissues in your body. In order to help these tissues recover from aggressive treatment, you’ll have to increase your protein consumption. Protein is the building block of every tissue and cell in your body, and since these proteins are constantly being broken down, replacing them is vital. Lean chicken and red meat or fish can provide you with a plentiful serving of tissue-repairing protein. If you’re a vegetarian, you can obtain protein from eating lentils, nuts, berries and soy products.
Complementary Medicine Advocate
Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.