Mayo Clinic Connect
Are there any diets proven to suppress cancer?
I have people telling me that cancer feeds on what we all eat. Is anyone aware of any studies done that have proven various foods can actually help kill cancer?
Liked by jerrydrennan
This is a common question @travelgirl. We can do things to be healthier by eating well. However, there are a lot of myths out there about sugar feeding cancer, and acid vs. alkaline diets and cancer. These are all myths that have been around for years. Here is a link to an article on common myths http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/in-depth/cancer-causes/art-20044714?pg=2.
I wrote about diet and healthy eating a couple of times on the Living with Cancer blog. This blog talks about the Mediterranean diet and cancer survivors (one of the most studied) http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/expert-blog/mediterranean-diet-and-cancer/bgp-20056300. Also this one on Adding Colorful Vegetables and Fruits to Your Diet http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cancer/expert-blog/fruits-and-vegetables-and-cancer/bgp-20056364.
I also wrote a blog called Functional foods give a boost to your wellness…I am adding the article below.
By Sheryl M. Ness, R.N. June 26, 2014
Living With Cancer
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What we eat plays a key role in keeping us healthy and protecting from major diseases, such as cancer and heart disease. Researchers are studying how certain foods can help enhance health and prevent illness.
Foods such as fruits and vegetables that contain phytochemicals (naturally occurring chemicals made by plants) and antioxidants (man-made or natural substances that may prevent or delay some types of cell damage), whole grains with natural fiber, low-fat dairy foods, nuts and oils, and oily fish high in omega-3 fatty acids are now being placed in a new category called functional foods. Functional foods go beyond nutrition and have a positive effect on health.
Functional foods are whole and unprocessed, such as fresh berries, cauliflower or broccoli — or they may have ingredients added to them, such as low-fat yogurt with live cultures.
Specific to cancer, cruciferous vegetables and vegetables in the cabbage family contain phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals, and fiber that are important to your health.
Vegetables in this family include cauliflower, broccoli, kale and others and have been the focus of study for some time. Here are a few examples of research with functional foods and specific cancer types:
Prostate and breast cancer — Evidence shows that eating cruciferous vegetables, such as cabbage, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower, can reduce the risk of prostate and breast cancer.
Stomach cancer — Scientists are studying a specific component found in cruciferous vegetables called benzyl-isothiocyanate (BITC). It has shown promise in preventing the growth of gastric cancer cells. Additional studies are needed to confirm this in humans.
Lung cancer — The Nurses’ Health Study reported that women who ate more than five servings a week of cruciferous vegetables had a lower risk of lung cancer. More studies are needed to confirm this finding as well.
Here are a few tips to add more functional foods to your daily routine:
Add more fresh or frozen, ready to use vegetables to soups, salads and casseroles.
Eat fruit with every meal. Keep a bowl of fruit on your table. Berries, apples, bananas, oranges, pears and red grapes are a great idea instead of dessert.
Begin your day with high-fiber cereal. Aim for 5 grams or more of fiber a serving. Try using wheat bran, ground flaxseed over cereal, yogurt or fruit.
Use whole-grain breads and pastas. Look for the wording whole grain as one of the first ingredients and aim for at least 3 grams of fiber a serving.
Eat more whole grains and legumes. Make the switch to brown rice or barley, bulgur and quinoa. Add black beans, lentils and kidney beans to dishes.
Make your snacks count. Try low-fat popcorn, whole wheat crackers, raw vegetables and fresh fruit instead of high-fat or sugary treats.
Go meatless at least once a week. Use lentils, beans, tofu and other sources of protein instead.
Add fish to your menu at least twice a week. Fish high in omega 3 fatty acids include tuna, salmon, anchovies, trout, cod, and others.
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Actually a question please. I read that ground flaxseed is dangerous for estrogen+ cancer survivor because of Phytoestrogens I has my first time in 2000 with total hysterectomy in 2001 with 16 Radiation treatments and 5 years of Tamoxifen then a reoccurrence in 2011 with Mastectomy with 4 chemotherapy treatments and will be ending my 5th year of Letrozole in April. I have been eating ground flaxseed every morning in my yogurt (3Tbls) for the last 15 years.
So should I stop it altogether. I started it because of high cholesterol which because of it has gone back to normal.
Hi Elliemac, so sorry for all your health issues, but I am not the one to answer your question, you can try to reach , Colleen or Theresa, they are mentors that would be able to answer you. God bless you and stay healthy, Lacey
Welcome to Connect, @elliemac
Good question about flaxseed and phytoestrogens. I found this article from the Oncology Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group helpful in untangling your question.
– Flaxseeds and Breast Cancer https://www.oncologynutrition.org/erfc/hot-topics/flaxseeds-and-breast-cancer/
Here’s an excerpt from the conclusion
“While research has shown some benefits with regards to ER+ breast cancer cell death and prevention of metastases within mice and cellular models, it is recommended that human intake should be through diet only, not supplementation. Only moderate amounts of ground flaxseeds, up to two to three tablespoons per day at most, should be eaten.
Always consult your health care team prior to making any changes to your diet or the dietary supplements you are using.”
There are other dietary changes you may wish to investigate to help control your cholesterol. Consider joining this discussion on Connect:
– Want to control my cholesterol and triglycerides with food http://mayocl.in/2bfEmXR
Ellie, have you spoken to a dietician about this?
I'm on a low fiber diet since starting chemo treatments for Non Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Any special reason for a low fiber diet?
Boy, that’s a huge topic. As far as I know, there is no single diet known to suppress or reverse all cancers since different cancers meet their metabolic needs in different ways. I looked into this a lot but with a narrow focus on prostate cancer. The conclusion was to stick to sound diet basics such as restricting animal products and saturated fat, avoiding processed and preserved foods, and avoiding sugar. The Mediterranean diet follows those guidelines. Some cancers seem to be slowed by a ketogenic diet as I recall but only slowed, not reversed. Maintaining an optimum weight is at least as important as diet, as is exercise. If you are tempted to try a bunch of supplements, don’t. Higher levels of some nutrients, such as thiamine, can actually feed the cancer. Others, like anti-oxidants, can protect it. Take a look at a book, Anticancer: A New Way of Life. It covers a lot and is generally pretty sensible. Like I said, this is a massive topic with a lot of opportunities to get confused. Try and do what seems sensible and avoid extremes. Best of luck.
Thanks @johnwburns. I checked into this further. What an eye opener. Here I’ve been taking them thinking I was helping myself. My gallbladder was cancerous & removed. I am on chemo now & will have radiation this fall.
Liked by Colleen Young, Connect Director, Jackie, Volunteer Mentor
Hi @ginj, I learned a lot as well on this post. the best way thing we can do is eat food with the nutrients we need. That is what both my cancer doctors who monitor say. I am not sure if you see this publication from the National Cancer Institute. They put together a story on Eating hints Before, during and after Cancer Treatment. You may find some helpful information in it.
Do you mind posting what foods you find have worked best for you?
Liked by Teresa, Volunteer Mentor, Kanaaz Pereira, Connect Moderator, jerrydrennan
This article on Eating Hints is very helpful. I appreciate your posting it. Teresa
Liked by jerrydrennan, td21241
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