Monday, June 24, 2013

The Cancer Blog: Week 22

My Health

This blog within a blog will discuss cancer and all of my fears, hopes and expectations for a positive outcome—full and complete recovery. In addition, I plan to throw in some latest medical research. All cancer patients are interested, to some degree, in research and the latest medical findings; I am no exception. 

Today is Day 189 living with cancer.

One of the many things that I have to deal with is my eating habits and, in particularly, making healthier food choices as a way to improve my chances of  beating cancer, which I have every confidence of achieving with great success. In many ways it is up to me, in my control; I also have help from my wife, who monitors what I consume.  I have written previously, although elliptically, that some of my habits in regards to food choices have changed. I am eating less red meat, more lean chicken and decidedly more fruits and vegetables.

There is not a day that goes by that I haven’t eaten at least five servings of a fruit or vegetable; often more. And that doesn’t include drinking more fruit juices and less coffee. I now average a cup of coffee a day; sometimes I will have a second cup, but not frequently. Before I was diagnosed with cancer I would typically drink three cups a day.

Are there any scientific studies supporting this new regime? Yes, there are a number of good studies.

1. Fruit And Vegetables Have Wide Health Benefits: An article in Cancer Research UK says:
People were first recommended to eat five portions of fruit and vegetables a day in 1991 based on the scientific evidence at the time. Since then, many expert reports on diet and cancer prevention have supported the 5-a-day message 20,,31,32,33,34.
Eating five daily portions of fruit and vegetables can help you maintain a healthy body weight. 20 Doing this can help you reduce the risk of bowel, breast, kidney, womb and oesophageal cancers. And getting enough fruit and vegetables can also reduce the risk of many other diseases including heart disease and diabetes. 20,35 The EPIC study found that people who ate the most fruit and vegetables reduced their risk of dying from chronic diseases like heart diseases, cancer and diabetes by a quarter. 36
2. Dietary Fat and Colon Cancer Risk: An article in WebMD says:
Dietary fat may be one of the biggest contributors to the cancer-causing process. High fat consumption increases the amount of bile acids in the colon. Bile acids can promote tumor growth, especially of the cells that line the colon.
Eating goals: 
  • Decrease the total amount of fat you eat to 20%-35% or less of your total daily calories. For a person eating 2,000 calories a day, this would be about 44-77 grams of fat or less per day.
  • Limit cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams (mg) or less per day.
  • Decrease saturated fat (animal fat, butter, coconut, and palm oils) to less than 10% of your total calories per day. For a person eating 2,000 calories a day, this would be 22 grams of saturated fat or less per day.
  • Eliminate trans fats from your diet. Trans fats are in foods like margarine, packaged baked goods, fast food, some frozen prepared foods, chips, and crackers. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires that the trans fat content of foods is now listed on the food label along with saturated fat and dietary cholesterol.
3. Nutrition And Fitness: An article in the Canadian Cancer Society says:
We wish we could tell you that preventing cancer was as simple as eating a certain food or doing a certain exercise, but we can’t. This much, though, is clear: You have a higher risk of developing cancer if you are overweight. Staying at a healthy body weight reduces your risk of cancer. Eating well – lots of veggies and fruit, lots of fibre, and little fat and sugar – will help you keep a healthy body weight. 
Regular physical activity helps protect against cancer. It’s also one of the best ways to help you stay at a healthy body weight, which reduces your risk of cancer.
Red meat and processed meat increase your risk of cancer.

Food for thought: About one-third of all cancers can be prevented by eating well, being active and maintaining a healthy body weight.
The science is clear: it’s the overall pattern of living that’s important. You can lower your risk if you move more, stay lean and eat plenty of vegetables and fruit, as well as other plant foods such as whole grains and beans.
There seems to be a scientific consensus that it is important to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, consume lots of fibre, less sugar and fats, especially trans fats and maintain an ideal body weight. Equally important is is also necessary to exercise to stay or become fit.

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