By Dr Harshavardhan Annadanam
Consultant Medical and Hemato Oncology
Published on 21/10/2022
Our food choices affect our health in a big way. With so many food options available now-a-days, it becomes difficult to resist our urge to eat them.
A person's dietary choices can affect a person's overall health and also the risk of developing breast cancer disease. But there is no one particular food or diet that can prevent or cause breast cancer.
Breast cancer is a complex disease with numerous risk factors beyond a person's control, including age, family history, and gender. But we can follow specific preventive measures to keep breast cancer away from our lives; those include avoiding tobacco products, exercising, maintaining the correct weight, and eating healthy foods. Some experts have claimed that dietary variables may cause 30–40% of all cancers. Let's understand the best possible diet for breast cancer!
What to eat during breast cancer treatment?
If the cancer treatment does not involve nutrition-related side effects then you can follow a generally healthy diet that includes:
1. Stay hydrated:
Aim drinking for at least 2 to 3 litres of fluid each day, ideally caffeine-free fluids. Cancer treatment can cause vomiting, diarrhoea, decreased appetite, and fever, all of which can contribute to dehydration. Staying hydrated will help regulate the body's temperature, blood pressure, and electrolyte balance, as well as prevent or reduce constipation and the ability of the organs to filter out wastes and toxins.
2. Get enough calories:
Weighing oneself once or twice a week is the most effective technique to determine whether one consumes enough calories for energy. Speak with a dietician to make a strategy if the weight is decreasing weekly. Keep in mind to eat consistently throughout the day. Usually, five to six small meals per day are sufficient. Smaller meals enhance nutrient absorption and are less likely to cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.
The body benefits more from meals when you spread them over several short and regular meals. Usually, smaller portions are more likely to be enticing, which promotes better intake. Additionally, a large food dish can be a complete turn-off if someone has a poor appetite.
3. Focus on nutrition:
Pick healthy foods such as dairy, eggs, meats, beans, nuts, seeds, grains, and fruits and vegetables. A balanced diet also offers energy and combats the weakness due to cancer therapy. A healthy plate supports a robust immune system, lean body mass, and balanced electrolytes in the body.
4. Fruits and vegetables:
Aim for five or more daily servings of fruits and vegetables as they have antioxidant and anti-estrogen effects. Cruciferous vegetables, such as cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, sprouts, etc., are very nutritious and high in phytochemicals.
5. Whole grains:
Try consuming at least 25 to 30 grams of fiber daily. Whole grains are unprocessed foods substantial in complex carbs, fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. High fiber intake may benefit breast cancer and other hormone-dependent malignancies by changing hormonal effects.
Ensure that at least half of the grains in the diet are whole grains, such as oats for breakfast, whole grain bread for lunch, and brown rice for dinner. Also, make an effort to consume five or more servings of veggies per day.
6. Lean protein and soy:
Increase protein intake by eating more poultry, fish, and legumes like beans and lentils. Reduce consumption of cured, pickled, and smoked meats. Regular use of processed meats has been linked to an increased risk of certain forms of cancer. Processed meats are also heavy in salt, which can temporarily raise blood pressure. Eat soy in moderation, which implies one to two servings of entire soy meals per day.
Some quick health tips:
- Drink smoothies, juice, milkshakes, or soup if you don't want to eat solid foods.
- Avoid sugary drinks. Take care of the sugar content of foods, including some ‘diet’ foods.
- Try being active if you feel you are able to, such as exercises that can aid in improving your appetite.
- Do not reduce your appetite by drinking too much liquid before or during meals.
Keep yourself fit and fine with these foods. A healthy diet helps in breast cancer prognosis and keeps you healthy.
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