What You Eat Can Make a Difference
Last updated: November 2022
I saw a survey that asked if we, as readers, have any goals for the New Year. Of course! Every year I think about pretty much the same goals, but this year my resolve is even stronger.
As a caregiver for my husband who is a prostate cancer warrior (although the battle continues, he has fought hard for over 13 years), nutrition and striving for better health have taken on a new meaning just recently. My oldest daughter has been diagnosed with breast cancer and will undergo a double mastectomy, as of my writing this. More cancer battles in the family requires more armor.
I'll be caring for my daughter as she recuperates and of course, as her mom, do so without hesitation and with the desire to do everything I can for her to make her life and recuperation easier.
Making dietary changes
When my husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I learned I didn't have much control over so many things. But one thing I could control was the food we eat. There are good foods that have potential to help fight cancer and help the healing process. There are also bad foods that can promote cancer cell growth and don't help us heal.
While I'm not a nutritionist and can't give advice on what each cancer patient should or shouldn't be eating, I can share some of the things I learned as I explored this area of supporting health and some of the guidelines we have followed.
I think cruciferous vegetables are a winner. Cruciferous was a new word to me, but it just means the kinds of vegetables that have the larger amount of compounds with anti-cancer activity: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kale. These foods have been recognized for their health value for many years and often continue to be encouraged for their health and healing content.1
I have found that they should be cooked as little as possible because many are sensitive to heat and can have reduced effectiveness, and that frozen vegetables may be inferior because of the high temperatures needed for processing. And finally, the slower these foods are chewed, the more the active and helpful molecules can be released. Other good cruciferous vegetables include watercress, Chinese cabbage, garlic and onions.1
I’m a coffee drinker, but in my research, I learned a lot about the health properties of various teas. Black tea is highly processed and that removes much of the cancer-fighting component. I found that freshly-brewed tea is the best, and that tea should be brewed for at least 10 minutes to release the catechins, the product that may help fight cancer.2
Don’t want to leave out the value of tomatoes. My research stated that tomatoes, which contain lycopene, may play a role in cancer prevention. Cooked tomatoes can release the important molecules and allow for better absorption by the body. Add a little bit of olive oil, and that’s even better.4
I've learned a lot
I learned so much during my "let’s fight cancer with nutrition" studies. This just sums up a few of the ideas we put into action in our family. There's so much information available about focusing on nutrition for better health.
As I said, I’m far from being any kind of expert on this. Each cancer patient’s nutritional journey is different and should be based on a conversation with their doctor. But I hope this gives some "food" for thought.
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