30 May 2013

guest post: cancer treatment and healthy eating {by david haas}

Cancer is a notoriously difficult disease to treat, but this is thankfully becoming easier. Better and more targeted treatments, outcomes, and aftercare is making cancer treatment a less arduous process. There are, however, still difficulties that remain.

Some of the treatments for certain forms of cancer are still very debilitating. Many cancer patients have side effects like insomnia, low energy, and weakened immune systems. Healthy eating is one positive thing you can do to counter some of these effects and speed the healing process. For example, someone with mesothelioma symptoms has some tests and is confirmed with a mesothelioma diagnosis. His treatment is expected to pay off in the long run. But in the short run, he is experiencing difficulty sleeping and low energy. He starts eating healthier and finds that he has more energy during the day and sleeps better at night.

One important facet to your cancer diet is fresh vegetables, particularly green, leafy ones. This type of vegetable is loaded with chlorophyll. How can chlorophyll help you? For one thing, it helps build blood. Many cancer treatments leave patients with low blood counts. The chlorophyll molecule is actually very similar to hemoglobin found in your red blood cells. The main difference is that chlorophyll is centered around magnesium rather than iron.
Chlorophyll kills bacteria. When your immune system is compromised by your treatment, an opportunistic infection can be the result. Eating green veggies gives your immune system some needed support while it recovers.

Blood sugar levels
Since fatigue is such an issue with many cancer patients in treatment, maintaining good blood sugar levels is the key for preventing energy crashes. One way to do this is by avoiding foods like sugary drinks, white bread and pastries, and candy. These foods give you a temporary "sugar high", only to leave you crashing later and craving more unhealthy food.
You will want to eat healthier foods and better forms of carbohydrates. Eat whole grains instead of white breads, for example. Whole grains take longer to digest and smooth out your blood sugar levels. Also eat plenty of fiber-rich foods in general for the same reason.

Immune system
You should also eat foods that help support your immune system, particularly if it has been compromised by your treatment. Some good food choices here are yogurt, garlic, tea, mushrooms, and green vegetables.