We all know vegetables, fruits and other plant-based foods are part of a healthy diet, but do you know their added benefits for cancer patients? According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, the consumption of more vegetables, fruit and whole grains can protect against a number of cancers including those affecting the pleural membrane, esophagus, larynx, lung, mouth, pancreas, pharynx and prostate.
Eating vegetables and an overall healthy diet is a well-known way to combat the symptoms of some cancers and the side effect of various cancer treatments, but maintaining a completely plant-based diet may be even more beneficial and effective in overcoming the symptoms of cancer and the side effects associated with most cancer treatments.
All plant-based diets include vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains, but they vary based on the amount of consumption of animal and dairy products. There are many different variations of plant-based diets, but most vegetarian diets exclude all animal products such as meat, poultry and fish, and include dairy products such as eggs. Most vegan diets completely eliminate all animal and dairy products.
Most plant-based foods are rich in phytochemicals, which are naturally occurring cancer-fighting compounds. Whole grains, vegetables and fruits are a good source of fiber (which is linked to the reduced risk of cancer), as well as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which will strengthen your weakened immune system. A plant-based diet may even lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
There are a number of beneficial foods included in a plant-based diet for cancer patients, including:
- Berries are loaded with antioxidants, which inhibit tumor growth.
- Carrots may actively prevent cancer recurrence, because of the amount of beta-carotene found in this snack.
- Dark green vegetables are known to prevent cancer, especially breast cancer.
- Garlic is a natural antibiotic that can curb cancer growth.
- Ginger soothes stomach pain, which is a common symptom among cancer patients.
- Mushrooms contain a variety of vitamins that help improve the immune system, as well as a protein that attacks cancerous cells.
- Red grapes have been linked to the reduction of unhealthy cholesterol and prevention of damage to blood vessels, and may also cause the death of some cancer cells.
While eating vegetables and fruits will aid in recovery and the prevention of cancer, maintaining a completely plant-based diet just might make the biggest impact in your journey to overcoming cancer. But before making any dietary changes, all cancer patients should consult with their oncologist to determine if such changes are beneficial for them personally.
Author bio: Kaitlyn Teabo is a writer for The Mesothelioma Center. She combines her interests in writing, cancer research and emerging scientific technology to educate the mesothelioma community about asbestos and its related diseases.
Source: Recommendations for Cancer Prevention. Retrieved from http://preventcancer.aicr.org/site/PageServer?pagename=recommendations_04_plant_based