The importance of diet following cancer
A healthy diet can help prevent many types of cancer and other diseases. We all know the importance of eating a healthy diet – but for many, it takes a health scare to change eating habits. For others, a health scare doesn’t prompt a change in nutritional habits.
A study by Drexel University and Johns Hopkins University found that many cancer survivors are not following a diet that could help them avoid future cancer risk.
Researchers studied the diets of 53 adults who had survived one of three types of cancer: Breast cancer, prostate concert, and non-Hodgkins lymphoma (NHL). Participants were asked to document their dietary habits over three 24-hour periods.
Researchers analyzed their diets according to two different U.S. government-developed diet standards.
They found that participants were not prepared to follow diets that would decrease the risk of cancer recurrence in the future. Other findings included:
- Participants had a lack of guidance in the area of nutrition following cancer
- Participants had limited knowledge of how diet can reduce risk of cancer recurrence
- Participants with the healthiest diets were found to be non-smoking women of average weight, who are many years past their cancer diagnosis
What type of diet is best for survivors of cancer? The Mayo Clinic recommends the following:
- Eating at least 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day
- Eating a variety of healthy fats, such as those found in walnuts and fish
- Eating proteins that are low in saturated fat, such as eggs, nuts, legumes, fish, and lean meats
- Eating healthy sources of carbohydrates, including fruits and vegetables, legumes, and whole grains
Healthy eating is important at all stages of life – but it is perhaps most important when the body is fighting or recovering from a disease.
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