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Cancer diet and nutrition, cancer prevention, healthy eating, support group
Healthy eating is a key strategy for cancer recovery and prevention.

Wed, Jan 10, 2018 at 06:56 PM

Nutrition is vital for cancer survivors – and cancer prevention, too

Marshall Medical dietician provides great tips at L.I.F.E. support group.

Proper nutrition is vital to everyone’s health, but it is especially important to cancer patients, survivors and those actively trying to avoid the disease altogether. 

Stacey Hyde, registered dietician for Marshall Medical Centers, outlined healthy guidelines for a group of cancer survivors and caregivers at the monthly support group meeting called L.I.F.E (Lean In For Encouragement).

For cancer patients, protein is vital – it helps the body repair tissue and helps the immune system fight off bugs. Cancer patients need even more protein after chemotherapy, radiation and surgery, she said. They also should eat as much as they are able, to avoid malnutrition, which is common for those in treatment. 

Everyone should indulge in so-called “protector foods” to get the nutritional ammo necessary to battle cancer and to keep a healthy weight. They are:

• Fruits and vegetables
• Beans, nuts and seeds
• 100% whole grains – 2-3 cups cooked every day
• Protein – 15-25 grams per meal
• Fluids – calorie free and sugar free
• Flavor – use herbs and spices instead of salt

For others hoping to prevent cancer, there are three crucial steps:

• Aim to be a healthy weight all your life
• Be active everyday
• Choose a plant-based diet, which is rich in phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals that protect against cancer

“One third of cancer deaths are attributed to a lack of activity or an unhealthy diet,” Hyde said. “The most important lifestyle factor to reduce your cancer risk is maintaining a healthy body weight.”

Waist circumference should be no more than 37 inches for average size men and 31.5 inches for women. 

Diet recommendations for cancer survivors are the same as those for cancer prevention, she said. 

Hyde recommends nutritional counseling for cancer patients. Ask your doctor for a referral to meet with a dietician. Together you can discuss your side effects, make meal plans, find ways to increase calorie and protein intake and talk about supplements. 

The L.I.F.E. support group meets every other month to share meaningful activities and useful information. It is open to any cancer survivor and their caregiver. Lunch n’ Learns begin at noon. Please make your reservation by calling (256) 571-8000.