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Food: A Survival Tool Against Breast Cancer

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If one has won the battle against breast cancer, she is equivalent to a soldier returning home after a war. Although this victory returns her life to her, it leaves her body ridden with weakness and low immunity. Any form of cancer drains off all the energy present in the patient's body, and normal life takes a long time to resume.

In such a situation, maintaining a strong and healthy diet is extremely crucial to prevent any sort of relapse. Most breast cancer survivors experience cancer recurrences and are prone to succumbing to other causes that can prove to be fatal. Hence, doctors and oncologists recommend a special diet to breast cancer survivors.


Avoid high fat in the diet

Low fat diets with 20 to 30 percent unsaturated fats are recommended for breast cancer survivors. Saturated fats are a strict no-no as they tend to accumulate in the body. Excess weight makes survivors more susceptible to cancer, as fat increases oestrogen levels which in turn promote growth of malignant cells. Milk, cheese and yoghurt are good options.


High antioxidant and phytochemical content

There is an ongoing research over effect of antioxidants on tumour cells. Although results aren't conclusive, Vitamin E and Vitamin C, and omega-3 fatty acids may help in preventing malignancy.


Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetable salads must be supplemented every meal. Dark leafy vegetables, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrots, oranges, tomatoes, yams and other yellow vegetables are fibrous and rich in phytochemicals, Vitamin C and beta-carotene that can prevent cancer. Drinking fluids is recommended. These vegetables can be cooked in different ways to increase satiable variety.

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High fibre

Whole grains like whole wheat, brown rice, wild rice, oats, and buckwheat can eliminate cancerous toxins in the body, especially estrogens from the intestinal tract. Stay away from white flour and processed cereals. High fibre content is also present in fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds. A daily serving of 25 to 40 grams is recommended.


Reduce meat intake

Consuming too much red meat and processed meat with hasten the growth of cancer cells. Frying, broiling and grilling meats at very high temperatures produce carcinogenic chemicals. Meats should be substituted with plant sources such as beans such as soya bean and its products. Seafood and chicken are still safe. This ensures a low fat, high fibre, and highly nutritive diet. Avoid canned bean products.


Protein intake

As mentioned above beans and legumes also supply essential proteins to the body. Animal protein can be replaced with nuts and seeds. Soybean is an antioxidant and has antitoxin activity. It reduces oestrogen levels in the body. Flaxseed is an excellent source of protein and vitamins.


Cook with vegetable oils

This includes flax oil, olive oil, sunflower and canola oil should be used in place of butter and vanaspati because they are rich in unsaturated fats. Salads can be garnished with flax oil. Baking and stir frying can be done using olive oil.


Limit Intake of Direct & Processed Sugar

Breast cancer survivors need to special attention to the sugar intakes, although sugar intake does not cause cancer directly, it leads to increased calorie intake and body weight which may result in relapse of the disease. Fruits and other natural sugar sources like honey, brown sugar can be beneficial for the body. Avoid soft drinks and processed fruit juices as they contain high level of sugar which is harmful for overall health.


Abstain from alcohol

After chemotherapy, the liver becomes quite weak. Consuming alcohol can cause inflammation and possible liver damage. So do not indulge in drinking even after the treatment is over. Alcohol should be substituted with mild juices and fruit mocktails.

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: July 02, 2013