The importance of Nutrition in Cancer.
Nutrition is a great ally for the treatment and prevention of cancer. It is the most powerful tool to avoid overcoming the estimated of the World Health Organization (WHO) of 22 million new cases of cancer in the next decades. It is important to maintain a healthy weight and have a natural, balanced and complete diet. Regarding food, it is essential to control the consumption of sugar, avoid artificial sweeteners (cyclamate, aspartame or saccharin), smoked foods, salted foods, fried foods, precooked foods, sausages, red meats and industrial pastries [1-3].
Nutrition is a basic tool to prevent diseases. Foods rich in antioxidants fight free radicals that accelerate aging and the risk of cancer. Among these foods include: blueberries, broccoli, green tea, garlic, carrots, tomatoes, grapes, cocoa, … The consumption of cereals, legumes, vegetables, fruits and olive oil, instead of other types of saturated fats, They should form the basis of our food pyramid and our list of “foods against cancer”.
To be clear, there are many conditioning factors related to food that can be controlled personally. There is no specific food that protects against cancer, nor an ideal “anti-cancer diet”, but there is a complete and varied diet. Scientific studies show how in particular a vitamin, a phytochemical or a mineral have anticarcinogenic effect. But, clinical practice shows that the synergy of different components of the diet are those that have the ability to exercise protection and a positive action to help in the cure of cancer.
Nutrition and Integrative Oncology.
Chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery are the treatments chosen for the diagnosis of cancer. The complementary medical therapies contribute to minimize the side effects of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, and to improve the general and immunological status of cancer patients. Some of those therapies are: vitamin C, Phytotherapie, diet therapy, acupuncture and mindfulness.
Cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, cause side effects: loss of appetite, mucous dryness, nausea, vomiting, constipation, pain, anxiety, depression, decreased immune status, … These effects can lead to digestive problems and / or an insufficient intake of food. Therefore, at its extreme, a deficit in the absorption of basic nutrients may cause a state of nutritional deficiency and malnutrition.
The objetive of personalized nutrition and diet therapy is: to control side effects, reduce the risk of infection, increase energy and improve the quality of life of the patient . The National Cancer Institute (NIH) emphasizes the importance of healthy eating habits during cancer treatment, and how cancer and treatments can affect the patient’s nutritional status . Research on foods that fight cancer is ongoing and active .
- Schuz J, Espina C, Villain P, et al. European code against cancer 4th edition: 12 ways to reduce your cancer risk. Cancer Epidemiol. 2015;39:S1-S10.
- M Greger (2015) How not to die: Discover the foods scientifically proven to prevent and reverse disease (First edition.). New York: FlatironBook
- Campbell, T. Colin. “The China Study”, The Huffington Post, June 28, 2008.
- Bloch A, Cassileth BR, Holmes MD, Thomson CA, eds.: Eating Well, Staying Well During and After Cancer. Atlanta, GA: American Cancer Society, 2004.