Educate. Empower. Prevent.

Division of the J. Moss Foundation

Fighting Back with Nutrition

By Jillian McKee

Good nutrition is always a good idea. People who eat healthier food feel better, have fewer health issues in general and so on. For those who are or have battled cancer such as mesothelioma, lymphoma or breast or prostate cancer nutrition is far more than just a good idea. It can save your life.

Immediately after a cancer diagnosis, an individual needs to take a nutrition inventory. Although it may seem that your world has shattered around you, action now will make life better in the coming months. Many of us have a first instinct after getting bad news to look for comfort in a carton of ice cream, a jar of cookies or something chocolate. Quell that urge. Soon enough you’ll find that healthy food can be comfort food as well. Eating dates stuffed with almonds or almond butter provides a delicious, satisfying snack. Homemade fruit smoothies made from fruit, a few ice cubes and a couple teaspoons of plain yogurt are delicious and healthy. Add a little stevia, raw sugar or honey and a squeeze of lemon to make the fruit flavors pop.

Fresh vegetable juices also enhance health and give cancer patients the tools to fight back effectively. Fresh carrot juice not only tastes great but also packs astounding amounts of nutrients into every serving. Local juice bars provide many other vegetable juice options, and those who prefer to fix juice at home can find plenty of online resources for juice recipes.

Dr. M. T. Morter, Jr., has spent over 40 years studying the effects of lifestyle and nutrition on health. He discovered that alkaline foods such as fruit and vegetables are more essential to good health than acid-producing foods such as meat, dairy and grains. With his diet plan in conjunction with other treatments, many cancer patients recover to live long, healthy lives. More about his nutrition plan and advice can be found in his book “An Apple a Day, Is It Enough Today” and at Morter Health System.

Dr. Morter isn’t the only researcher or physician who encourages cancer patients and those in remission to eat a healthy diet. The National Cancer Institute lists a number of dietary concerns for those undergoing treatment for cancer. As mentioned here, traditional cancer treatments often cause issues in nutritional health. Body changes due to treatment may cause severe loss of appetite as well as the inability to absorb nutrients. Consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains during cancer treatments enables the body to better heal and regenerate healthy tissue in place of cancer cells.

In addition to the “good for you” aspect of vegetables, vegetable juices and cooked vegetables are easier for the body to digest than most other foods. Cancer patients who make a habit of drinking a pint of their favorite vegetable juice each day are more likely to be able to digest and absorb necessary nutrients than those attempting to eat a serving of meat or dairy as their primary food source. While a serving or two of food each day is not enough for anyone, beginning with something easy to digest makes getting nutrients and calories easier.

Once life is back on track and cancer is in remission, healthy dietary habits developed during cancer treatments need to continue. High consumption of fruits and vegetables enhances life for everyone, and those who once suffered from cancer need to take special care to remain healthy. The vitamins, antioxidants and other nutrients easily accessible through the consumption of fruits, vegetables and whole grains keep healthy cells healthy while replacing unhealthy cells with new, healthier ones.

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