Lifestyle changes often occur after a cancer diagnosis. With a disease that makes the patient feel helpless, diet changes are one of the few things they can control during their treatment process. Taking control of one’s nutrition gives them the power to heal their body from within with cancer-fighting foods. Not only can a healthy diet make a person feel better, but it can also help fight the cancerous cells in their body, helping them live a longer, healthier life.
People with cancer generally hear about new diets from their friends or families. Popular diets for cancer patients include alkaline, paleolithic, ketogenic, plant-based and macrobiotic. While all of these diets have their benefits and pitfalls, only the alkaline and macrobiotic diets are in step with recommendations from the American Cancer Society.
Alkaline Diet Against Cancer
The concept behind the alkaline diet is that an acidic internal environment is what causes or contributes to cancer. Typical western diets contain too many refined carbs and processed meats, which are acid-rich foods.
The alkaline diet consists of eating foods that will not negatively affect the body’s pH levels. This includes consuming whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains and beans.
While there isn’t much data to support that diet alone can actually affect internal pH levels, eating a wholesome diet like the alkaline diet can prove beneficial for overall health and wellbeing.
Macrobiotic Diet Against Cancer
The macrobiotic diet has roots in eastern philosophy and zen Buddhism. It relates to finding balance in the body through nutrition, exercise and meditation. The diet aims to avoid all toxins through eating a vegetarian-based diet with an emphasis on unprocessed, organic, whole foods. Grains make up 40-60% of the diet with fruits, vegetables and legumes filling in the rest. The diet is high in fiber and free of red and processed meats.
Whatever diet our patients decide on, we recommend diet flexibility. In other words, go easy on yourself and accept that change comes slowly. Completely cutting off your favorite foods is unreasonable and may decrease quality of life.
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