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 of her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.
Guest blogger Jillian McKee shares her thoughts on treating cancer with whole, plant-based foods.
Being diagnosed with cancer can be very difficult on patients, add to that the grueling experience of having to go through various chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. The physical, mental, and emotional well-being of a cancer patient will be tested and majority of these individuals struggle daily not only to beat the disease but also to triumph over the psychological and emotional sufferings that they face on a daily basis. It is very common for a cancer patient to lose appetite – they slack on proper nutrition and fail to consume the food that will help heal their bodies. This is understandable, of course. Considering the pains and hassles of cancer treatment, it is no surprise that most patients have inevitably neglected good nutrition. Most cancer patients end up underweight after therapy, surgery, or some other cancer treatment.
This is something that needs to be avoided. There are several food groups and meals that will surely aid a cancer patient in their healing. There are fruits and other nutritious food that will be beneficial to the patient not only in terms of their physical healing but also in boosting their emotional states. Studies show that eating well during a bout with cancer is of utmost importance to the patient’s recovery. Having a high calorie diet definitely helps the cancer patient in achieving the right weight. Eating smart can mean outsmarting the cancer itself!
Mesothelioma patients have been advised to consume herbs and vegetables that also serve as pain relievers. Mesothelioma, which is a form of cancer that an individual acquires from getting overly exposed to asbestos, is usually treated with radiation therapy or chemotherapy. These treatments have side effects that can be countered by the consumption of certain vegetables such as broccoli and carrots. Broccoli sprouts contain nutrients and phytochemicals such as sulforaphane. The beta carotene in carrots has been known to be successful in cancer prevention. Garlic is also well-known for its ability to help mesothelioma patients in their struggle with the cancer’s painful symptoms. Figs are very powerful–equipped with multivitamins, benzaldehyde, calcium, and potassium, they can better aid cancer patients during treatments and even well way into recovery. Mushrooms have been known to boost the immune system and recent studies show that it is also beneficial in cancer prevention. Protein enriched nuts are also effective in preventing and battling the nasty Big C. When it comes to fruits, most recommendations list oranges, limes, grapes, and citrus fruits.
Cook books and recipe recommendations from various Cancer treatment books and websites have suggested that in order to beat cancer with nutrition, the best way to go would be to eat colorful food. These nutritious and colorful fruits and veggies are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients necessary in slowing the growth of cancer cells and thereby encouraging the growth of those healthy cells. They also reduce and reverse damages done by the disease to normal cells.
Although fresh food is normally the prime suggestion, there are also some readily available recipes online for cooking nutritious and healthy meals for cancer patients. Some cookbooks have been written by doctors and some are published by the American Cancer Society. What’s good about these cook books is that they offer comfort food recipes not only for the cancer patient but also for their family. Family members and caregivers can likewise enjoy the benefits of healthy eating while they help their patients beat cancer and avoid the very unhealthy weight loss. Most recipes are quick to prepare and are tasty! The side effects of each meal, if any, are also listed in the book as guide.
The American Cancer Society also has a number of award-winning cook books that contain recipes for both cancer patients and cancer survivors. It is imperative that cancer survivors also watch what they eat in order to maintain a healthy weight and ultimately keep their body’s healthy state. Cancer is a treacherous disease and if survivors are not careful, they can find themselves battling it again for another round.
The main goal of cook books, and generally the campaigns for proper nutrition during cancer, is to help the patients consume healthy and nutritious meals that will boost their immune system. During cancer treatments, a patient may experience several side effects as well as be exposed to a significant risk of infection. In order to counter these events, medical experts have suggested that cancer patients not only fight the cancer through treatment but also through nutrition. Fruits and vegetables, which are a rich source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals are on top of the list of the suggested diet for cancer patients. Limes and grapefruits, garlic, nuts, mushrooms–these are only a few of the named ingredients that one can use in preparing meals that are not only flavorful but also beneficial to a cancer patient. Cancer patients and survivors alike must not ignore the power of proper nutrition.