(HealthNewsDigest.com) – New Brunswick, N.J., – Good nutrition is an important part of overall health, whether you’re a cancer patient, survivor, caregiver, or loved one, and practicing healthy eating has been shown to help prevent cancer and cancer recurrence. Kristin Waldron, RD, CSO, clinical dietitian at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, shares more.
The role of nutrition in Cancer Prevention: Food can help prevent many of the chronic conditions that increase your risk of cancer, such as obesity. To help reduce cancer risk, learning how to consume a healthy, nutritious diet is key. Some guidelines include maintaining healthy weight by eating plenty of fruits, vegetable and whole grains. The American Cancer Society offers more detail on diet and physical activity recommendations for cancer prevention.
The Science: A number of fruits and vegetables contain phytochemicals. These phytochemicals have antioxidant and anticancer properties. Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are rich sources of ellagic acid. Research has shown that this phytochemical can help prevent against cancers of the bladder, breast, esophagus, lung, and skin. Watermelon, red bell peppers, and tomatoes contain a powerful antioxidant called lycopene. Many studies have found that lycopene helps protect against prostate cancer. Cherries contain anthocyanin, which has demonstrated the ability to destroy the growth of cancer cells without affecting healthy cells. Spinach and kale contain carotenoids, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, which help prevent against cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx. Polyphenol compounds that are found in peaches and plums are currently being studied for their ability to destroy breast cancer cells. There are an abundant amount of different phytochemicals that are naturally occurring in fruits and vegetables that provide us with various health benefits.
Nutrition for Cancer Patients: A well-balanced diet coupled with regular physical activity, is paramount during cancer treatment. Such treatments may involve radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, immunotherapy, and/or surgery. These procedures and medications can cause many individuals to lose their appetite and energy, putting patients at an increased risk for malnutrition. It is important to try to make food choices that provide you enough calories, nutrients and fluids. Click here for additional resources.
At Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey together with RWJBarnabas Health, as an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, part of a patient’s care includes professional support from a clinical dietitian/nutritionist.