Breast cancer is one of the most common diseases out there, affecting 1 in 8 women. It hurts all aspects of your health including your diet and appetite. What you eat is crucial during your cancer treatment because some types of cancers respond better to certain types of food just as they do with certain types of treatments.
If you have already had the disease, then watching your diet is important because adding extra pounds or consuming unhealthy foods can make the cancer return. Even during chemotherapy, it is recommended you opt for clean eating and incorporate as many fruits and vegetables into your diet as possible while staying away from junk food.
Chemotherapy and some types of radiation therapy can have several side effects which can make it difficult for you to get proper nutrition. In that case, eating healthy should be your top priority.
The side effects of chemo or radiation therapy include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Loss of taste
Considering the side effects above one should watch what they eat and devise a diet plan that works around them. No single diet plan or food can cause or prevent breast cancer, but your dietary choices can make a huge difference to your well-being and overall health.
Here are some foods to avoid and some to eat during breast cancer treatment.
Foods To Eat
A lot of people gasp when they hear fats and healthy in one sentence. However, many studies have suggested that there are different categories of fats, some are healthy, and some aren’t. Healthy fats include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These fats help improve your cardiovascular health and combat inflammation in your body, which is one of the main reasons for cancer.
Healthy fats include olive oil, grapeseed oil, avocados, and omega-3 fatty acids.
The best foods to consume during cancer treatment are proteins that are plant-based. Plant-based proteins have the highest levels of minerals and vitamins. That’s why you must try to incorporate a lot of vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, and beans. If you want to go for animal-based protein, then try lean fish or chicken.
When going for carbohydrates try to consume foods that are unprocessed such as bran, oats, and whole wheat. These types of foods have soluble fiber which helps you feel fuller throughout the day and maintains good gut bacteria. Soluble fiber also helps lower cholesterol levels.
Evidence suggests that vitamin D plays a crucial role when it comes to cancer. Low levels of vitamin D in your system can increase the chances of breast cancer. Adding foods such as oysters, salmon, sardines, mackerel, yogurt, milk, and orange juice is a surefire way of increasing your vitamin D levels.
Foods To Avoid
Here is a list of foods you should avoid when you have breast cancer or when you are getting chemotherapy.
Fast food should be avoided at all costs because it increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and cancer. It has saturated fats which also increase the cholesterol levels in your system.
Meats such as sausages can increase the risk of cancer. A study conducted in 2018 concluded that processed meat leads to a 9% increase in breast cancer risk.
Sugar is poison for your body even if you don’t have any disease. When it comes to breast cancer sugar is a total no-no. It leads to an increase in inflammation and the expression of enzymes that directly affect the growth of cancer cells. As a result, the cancer growth spreads to other parts of your body rapidly.
Foods that are high in refined carbs may raise breast cancer risk. These foods include white bread, pasta, and other baked goods. Try to replace high-carb foods with nutrient-dense vegetables or whole-grain products.
What you eat has a huge impact on your health and it holds especially true if you or your loved one is struggling with diseases like breast cancer. That’s why a clean diet with a healthy lifestyle is one way of decreasing the chances of developing breast cancer apart from chemo or radiation therapy.