February 16, 2018
in Diet

Plant-based Diet and the Benefits for Cancer Patients

You have been told times without number that veggies and fruits are good for your health. Yet, they are only two components of a plant-based diet, which also contains whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Research and studies have shown that plant-based diets can help cancer patients lead healthier lifestyles.

One study published by the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research reviewed 99 scientific studies from around the globe constituting more than 29 million people. After reviewing diet, weight and lifestyle, and the effect it has on colorectal cancer, they found that eating whole grains and dietary fiber minimizes the danger of colorectal cancer.

On the other hand, the study indicates that consuming animal protein – red meat and processed meat – increases the risk of colorectal cancer.

It turns out that cancer is triggered by the type of foods you consume. Plant-based foods are without a doubt no cancer-causing agents and are even recommended to cancer patients for inhibiting the growth of cancer cells.

  • Vegetables such as a spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, artichokes, kale, cabbage, and onions, are excellent sources of antioxidants and fiber, which can inhibit the growth of various cancer cells. These vegetables should be present in your everyday meals, at least 2 cups.
  • Fruits, whether raw or frozen, are naturally excellent sources of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and great sources of fiber. Eating at least 2 to 3 pieces of fruit daily goes a long way in supporting the immune system.
  • Whole grains such as rice, organic corn, oatmeal, quinoa and millet are rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals. Most whole grains contain omega-3 fatty acids which impedes the growth of colon cancer cells plus helps combat inflammation. Try to avoid grains with gluten, the likes of barley, wheat and rye.
  • Legumes, including beans, lentils, peas, are good sources of B-Vitamins and contain an anti-cancer compound that inhibits an enzyme associated with tumor growth. These foods should be eaten twice to four times a week.

If you have any doubt whatsoever, find out how a plant-based diet saved a brain cancer patient.


Calorie management

Some people will argue that it’s hard to eat enough calories on a plant-based diet but don’t believe them. The truth is, plant-based foods offer just enough calories as my want. If eaten with strategy, especially for cancer patients, you can just achieve the calorie amount that your body needs every day.

It’s actually simple. If you want to keep your weight stable or you want to gain weight, then focus on high-calorie plant-based foods. On the other hand, eat low-calorie foods if you are trying to lose weight. The table below shows various foods on either side of the calorie spectrum:

Well, unless you are a food enthusiast, it may be tough to strike a balance between your food calorie intakes. In this case, you can try some meal prep strategies based on your needs. All it takes is writing down all the foods you need and spreading them into individual meals over the next couple of days – three days, four or even a whole week.

If you can’t do a proper meal prep or perhaps you are too busy, get a professional to handle the job for you, like the owner of this site – ChefDine. For a small fee, you can be sure to enjoy delicious meals, prepared with your calorie needs in mind. Plus, you’ll no longer have to think of what to eat and when, and it will save you a lot of time in the long run.

Lowers cholesterol and reduces multiplication of cancer cells

Eggs, meat, and poultry generally contain large amounts of cholesterol, while whole, plant-based foods are low in cholesterol. Having mentioned that most cancers are animal protein related, going plant-based route can not only reduce cholesterol levels but also help inhibit the growth of cancer cells in affected patients. The idea is simple, if a cancer patient continues to eat more animal protein, the more the cancer cells are triggered. On the other hand, research has indicated that plant-based diets can suppress cancer cells.

Prevents a variety of chronic diseases

According to Dr. Beth Overmoyer, a diet full of whole grains, vegetables and fruits contain phytochemicals, fiber, enzymes, and vitamins that all work together to fight several chronic diseases. The extra fiber in plant-based foods prevents heart disease, while the potent phytochemicals in fruits and veggies can help ward off cancer by preventing carcinogens from forming.

Can help in maintaining a normal body mass index

Being overweight increases cancer risk, while there’s enough evidence suggesting that maintaining a normal body mass index can reduce the risk. A healthy BMI score falls between 18.5 and 24.9. If you can work with a dietitian, you can achieve a decent BMI, also keeping in mind the number of calories you need each day. In addition, your dietitian or meal prep professional can help you maintain a sustainable meal plan.

Provide essential Vitamins and extra antioxidants

According to Dr. Stephanie Paver, Lead Oncology Dietitian at Cancer Treatment Centers of America, plant-based foods can help cancer patients during and after treatment by improving the levels of C and E Vitamins, which have antioxidant effects. Magnesium-rich foods such as kales, spinach, sweet potatoes, and potassium-rich foods like legumes and grains provide essential minerals which otherwise become deficient in cancer patients undergoing treatment.

She adds, “Try to obtain these nutrients from your diet and avoid taking them in supplement form, if possible. Consuming a balanced, plant-based diet increases your shot at getting enough of these nutrients.”

Adjusting to the plant-based approach

Yes, you have heard that plant-based diets can help cancer patients live healthier lives, but you should avoid an all-or-nothing approach. Talk to a dietitian for you to know the best plant-based food options ideal for your specific situation.

Carbs, proteins and fats are all crucial for normal cellular functioning, so be sure not to restrict any of these important diet components. Again, if you need help in meal prep, don’t be afraid to seek the services of a personal chef.

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