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Many of you have asked for a specific diet to follow as a cancer survivor. Taking charge of your diet can be a powerful way to make a positive impact on your overall health.
Research has shown that following a Mediterranean diet can reduce the incidence of cancer and mortality from cancer, and prevent or improve the outcome of other chronic diseases (such as diabetes and heart disease).
The Mediterranean diet originates from the culture and traditional foods found in the area bordering the Mediterranean Sea — primarily using fresh fruits and vegetables, olive oil, whole grains, and fish.
Share a meal with friends and family, add a glass of red wine, plenty of exercise, and you have a winning concept.
If this is a new idea for you, here are a few simple ways to get started:
Most people who switch to a Mediterranean diet find that it's an easy, delicious and satisfying way to eat healthy. Try it; you may never go back to your old habits.
For more resources and a great slide show featuring the Mediterranean diet see www.mayoclinic.com/health/mediterranean-diet. Share your comments and thoughts on this topic with each other.
Follow me on Twitter at @SherylNess1. Join the discussion at #livingwithcancer.
Sheryl M. Ness, R.N.
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One of the products from the Mediterranean that is Gluten Free, Organic and packed with Fiber and has a history of helping with digestive issues, is the Tiger Nut.
Is the Mediterranean Diet considered the best diet for a patient who has early prostate & bladder cancer? What role do things like tumeric, vitamins, etc. play in cancer treatment? THX
I am a lymphoma survivor and have read some different theories on acid vs alkaline diets and that I actually would benefit from a red meat, acid-based diet. Any thoughts?
I can highly recommend "Zest for Life" by Conner Middlemann-Whitney for brilliant Mediterranean anti-cancer recipes.
I have breast cancer stage IIIc. I did lumpectomy, 16 rounds of chemo and 33 of radiation.
My concern is regarding the soy products. It seems that are signaling the proliferation of tumor cells. Also, I found out that hummus contains more phytoestrogens than soy.
Any ideas about this?
Also, I have some thoughts regarding the exposure to IVF hormones and the risk of breast cancer. I did this 2 years prior to tumor. I think this exposure (estrogens'levels around 2,500)accelerate the development. My tumor is highly positive for E/P. The dr. never brought the ideea of a mammogram before IVF. Giulianna Rancic was more lucky.
Yes I agree with Sally. We also do not have sugar, as it feeds cancer. And very little salt too. If its white, don't bite. No white sugar, no white bread, no white potatos, nothing pasturized or processed. We also switched to almond milk and eat very little dairy. We still have Greek yogurt and sometimes eat raw cheddar cheese unpasturized. Daiya makes a cheese substitute that is delicious for eggplant parmesan. We eat lots of whole grains, barley, amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, wheatberry, w/w pasta, etc. We cook these grains with olive oil or coconut oil in low sodium vegetable broth. Your best bet is to mostly shop the perimeter of the supermarket.
My husband's story is a success. He was not obese, but could easily loose 15 pounds. He was being watched for diabetes, as he occasionally had blood sugars over 100. Then in October, 2011, my husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 Pancreatic adenocarcinoma. We stopped eating red meat and started buying organic vegetables and fruit. As we learned how to be a vegetarian, we continued to reduce the amount of animal protein we consumed. We bought a vegetable juice machine and make our own microbiotic vegetable juices which he has 2x daily. We bought a water ionizer, stainless steel pots and pans, and various other changes. Changing his diet has made his body strong for the chemo treatments he gets. He has never thrown up or had loose bowel movements. He maintains a healthy weight. Today seven months later, his tumors have shrunk 80% and his Cancer Antigen CA19-9 tests are in the normal range - 15! When he was diagnosed in October he had 5025, and it is now 15! We are happy to attest that nutrition plays a key role in reversing cancer. Please eliminate all red meat. We eat on occasion organic free range chicken and wild salmon and/or fresh water fish. Try to avoid foods that are high on the glycemic index too. The people in our local health food store made other recommendations that we are glad we followed. I hope our story helps others. Pick up books on beating cancer with nutrition.
Jo Ann - For breakfast, try low-fat yogurt and fresh fruit. And a whole grain granola and you have a satisfying meal to start your day! Our American breakfast of low fat milk and whole grain cereal would work too...add in fresh fruit or drink fresh squeezed fruit juice and you are all set.
Curcumin has shown to help patients with cancer, reduces the symptoms of chemotherapy.
One thing about the Mediterranean Diet has puzzled me: what do they eat for breakfast?
And to address a few of the additional questions regarding sugar, white flour and processed meats…keep in mind that it is best to limit sugary sweets and include whole grain flours as much as possible. Processed meats have been shown to increase your risk for cancer - When meat is preserved by smoking, curing or salting, or by the addition of preservatives, cancer-causing substances (carcinogens) can be formed. For much more on the topic of nutrition, check out the Nutrition-Wise blog from Mayoclinic.com (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/food-and-nutrition/NU00649).
Jan has mentioned the eating plan known as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) which is used to lower or control high blood pressure. The DASH diet contains foods that are lower in sodium. The DASH diet features menus with plenty of vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products, as well as whole grains, fish, poultry and nuts. Regarding the connection between wine and breast cancer, recent research has shown a connection with moderate alcohol consumption and breast cancer. With this in mind – consider the red grape juice instead of red wine as an alternative. To comment on the Alkaline/Acid diet, there is no research showing that this diet plan is beneficial. The way the body digests and processes nutrients will help understand any theory that we can change the pH of our body with different foods. When the foods we eat enter the stomach, the process of digestion starts with the secretion of stomach acids - no food can change its acidity. Citrus fruits, vinegar, and vitamins such as ascorbic acid or folic acid do not change the acidity of your stomach or your bloodstream. All foods that leave your stomach are acidic. Then they enter your intestines where secretions from your pancreas start the process to neutralize the stomach acids. So no matter what you eat, the food in stomach is acidic and the food in the intestines is alkaline. The body systems (bloodstream and organs) control your pH level within a very narrow range.
I also have another question...I had heard that the acid/alkaline idea is not really based on sound research...isn't it the animal fats that are the problem?...also why coffee? I am drinking coffee and green tea --along with lots of water...I'd like to understand before I follow everything people send me/ email me on these things -so I thought it was enough to follow the dash diet of Mayo...Also i heard the white flour/sugar thing is also not the problem -but the extra fat resulting from too much of it...it would be nice to have some good answers from Mayo Clinic on this?
I'm wondering about the red wine -according to my nutrition oncologist the highest indicators for breast cancer are regular alcohol consumption and processed meats...I'm thinking the Mayo Dash Diet without the wine is what i'd follow? could you comment on the wine?
I like the idea of substituting olive oil for butter or margarine. Will get into this habit soon. HGTV cooks add olive oil on everything. Now, I'm add it to breads. Thx for some great and healthy ideas.
Marcia, Multiple Myeloma Cancer Survivor
cancer is a disease back from 1600 years before crist, bad mood, anger, hate convert regular cell into cancer cells; our cells live off milk, sugar and read meats take this products off your shopping list, do yourself and family a giant favor, God loves everyone of us, live life peacefull, possitive acttitude, no cigarets, by by, Juan from Colombia
My last sentence was, "Try eating an 80% alkaline and 20% acidic balance in your diet."
Google 'Alkaline vs. Acidic diet" and you'll see plenty of information which will help you.
Having been diagnosed with Inflammatory Breast Cancer and Invasive Ductal Carcinoma in Sept. 2009, 9 months after the redness on my breast appeared which 3 docs couldn't identify (!), my oncologist began my treatments of Arimidex (estrogen blocker) nightly and a Zometa treatment every three months. Gradually, after speaking to a nutritionist and reading as many articles as I could find on nutrition (one severe deficit in my doc's treatment plan), I began eating a Mediteranean diet and have never looked back. I read "Anti-Cancer, a New Way of Life" and "Eat to Live" which put me on the healthy tract of not eating added sugars (that means no desserts, folks), white flour/pasta, few dairy products, including cheeses (switched to Almond milk),no carbonated drinks/coffee/alcohol, no processed meats/cheeses and I eliminated beef and pork from my intake. I DO eat plenty of veggies, greens (kale, collards, beet, swiss chard, romaine and other lettuces,etc.)lots of all fruits, whole grain cereals and multigrain breads, salmon, tuna and organic chicken. In doing this, I've also lost pounds which make me less chunky (size 8-10 from a 14),(healthier) and have plenty of energy. These months in remission are truly gifts each day, and if those of you who do or do not have cancer will read the 'Anti-Cancer, A New Way of Life" book, your remaining time on earth will be very different than if you continue eating and drinking everything 'you want'.
Try eating 80% alk
The Mediterranean diet looks very healthy except for the diary. Has anyone looked into the alkaline diet? It is similar - high amounts of vegetables but diary is very acidic which lowers your PH - I've been doing a lot of reasearch about "cancer can not survive in an alkaline body" Thoughts anyone?
Hi! Sheryl kindly suggested I post a comment here.
I am a nutritionist, cooking instructor and the author of "Zest for Life, The Mediterranean Anti-Cancer Diet," published last year. The book contains a 110-page science section explaining how the traditional Mediterranean diet may protect us from cancer, followed by 150 Mediterranean-inspired recipes that are quick and easy to prepare and don't require much in the way of equipment or culinary expertise.
I also post cooking videos on YouTube where I show how to prepare some of the recipes in Zest (and others that aren't in the book); you can find these here: http://www.youtube.com/user/connermid?feature=mhee.
Lastly, I blog about lifestyle cancer prevention here: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/nourish.
For more information, feel free to visit the website www.zestforlifediet.com. If you have any questions or comments, you can contact me via the Zest website (click on the 'author' tab and send me an email).
I hope this helps! :)
I've been reading about the benefits of this diet, but am not sure where to start. Do you have any recommendations of good cookbooks to look at for recipe ideas?
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