March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Celebrate a World of Flavors”. As we think about nutrition during cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship we will keep this important theme in mind.
Nutrition for cancer prevention and survivorship:
Foods high in antioxidants: What are antioxidants? Antioxidants are molecules in certain foods that protect our cells from damage. It is important to note that taking high doses of any of these antioxidants in supplement form can be harmful to your health.
Vitamin C – Fruit: Camu camu, kiwifruit, strawberries, orange, papaya, guava, lemons, lychees,
Vegetables: Peas, kale, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, turnip greens (or other leafy greens), potatoes, peppers, tomatoes
Vitamin E – Wheat germ oil, sunflower, safflower, and soybean oils. Sunflower seeds, almonds, peanuts, peanut butter.
Fruit: Mamey sapote, avocado, mango, kiwifruit, blackberries, black currants, cranberries
Vegetables: Beet greens, collard greens, spinach, red bell pepper
Selenium – Brazil nuts, halibut, shrimp, salmon, crab, lentils
Fruit: Plantains, bananas
Vegetable: Brussel sprouts, shelled soy beans, spinach, asparagus
Carotenoids (beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.)
Fruit: Cantaloupe, mangoes, papaya
Vegetables: Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, kale and pumpkin
Lean protein: Beans, peas, lentils, skinless chicken or turkey, fish such as cod, halibut, tilapia, tofu, lean beef such as “loin or round” cuts.
Whole grains: couscous, barley, quinoa, whole wheat pasta or rice
Indian Lentil Stew:
- 1 tablespoon oil, butter or ghee
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1" piece of ginger, peeled and grated
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon ground chili powder
- 3 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup dried red lentils, rinsed under cold water
- 1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Heat oil or butter in soup pot. Add onion and sauté until soft and translucent for 5 to 7 minutes.
Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for 1 minute.
Add turmeric, cumin and chili powder and sauté for 1 minute.
Add stock, lentils, tomatoes, and garam masala. Bring to boil, decrease and simmer for 20 minutes or until lentils are tender.
Ladle into bowls. Top with cilantro. Serve with rolls.
View the recipe on What’s for Dinner.
Nutrition during cancer treatment: It is important to remember that during cancer treatment your calorie and protein needs will increase drastically. Eating a well-balanced diet remains important, but focusing on increasing both calories and protein is imperative.
Increasing protein in your diet:
- 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish 7 grams
- 1 egg 7 grams
- 1/2 cup of lentils, dried beans, peas 6 grams
- 1 cup milk (whole,2%,1%,skim) 8 grams
- 1 ounce cheese 7 grams
- 1 cup yogurt 8 grams
- 1 slice of bread 2 grams
- 1/2 cup of pasta or rice 2 grams
- Protein supplements/smoothies
Increasing calories in your diet (adding these foods to meals or snacks can help increase calorie consumption):
- Nuts or nut butters
- Granola or granola bars
- Cheese or cream cheese
- Dried fruit
- High protein milk
- Ice cream
- Butter or margarine
- Whipped cream or heavy cream
Snack ideas:Choose healthier snacks that include foods from different food groups, such as:
- Fruit chutney eaten with bread or cheese.
- Raw veggies with hummus or tzatziki, which is a creamy yogurt-based dressing made with cucumbers, garlic, and dill.
- Baba ganouj, a mixture made of roasted eggplant and tahini, which is a sesame seed paste, served with whole wheat pita bread.
- Or, for a crunchier snack whole grain tortilla chips with guacamole or a salsa made with veggies or fruit.
Physical activity: 150 minutes per week or 30 minutes per day of moderate physical activity is recommended during cancer prevention, treatment and survivorship
For more information about nutrition and cancer treatment and survivorship, visit our HealthONE cancer survivorship website.