Did you know that the state-run Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD) clinics registered a 324 per cent increase in cases of common cancers (including oral, cervical and breast cancer) between 2017-18? A majority of medical professionals attribute this phenomenal rise to drastic change in our lifestyles (like erratic food habits), in the last few decades. Experts opine that consuming a healthy and balanced diet reduces the risk of cancer by helping you keep healthy or losing weight.
“Weight loss, exercise and healthy diet are the three important pillars for keeping the cancer under check,” says Dr Neha Pathania, Dietician, Paras Hospitals. “There are many evidences to show that being overweight or obese is the reason behind getting 13 types of cancer,” she adds.
“If, unfortunately, you have been detected with cancer, you must eat plenty of proteins and calories as it will help you keep up your strength and also rebuild tissues harmed by cancer treatment. Other things that you must consume is wholegrains and starchy vegetables, nutritious fats like olive oil, nut butter, and seeds. One must also drink plenty of liquids,” says Dr Pathania.
“The basic rule is everyone, cancer patient or not, should eat food rich in anti-oxidants. Vitamin A, C and E are three vital vitamins that keep the immune system strong and prevent the growth of cancer cells,” says Dr Sheenu Sanjeev, Dietician, HealthyFy Solutions, adding that cancer cells are present in all bodies, the trick is to prevent them from growing. “Apart from having protein rich diet cancer survivors must avoid non-veg items,” she adds.
Five tips for cancer survivors:
1. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, legumes and nuts in your diet. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrients that help reduce the risk of many types of cancer.
2. Green tea is a powerful antioxidant which fights carcinogens. It helps in preventing liver, breast, pancreatic, lung, oesophageal and skin cancer.
3. Use onion and garlic abundantly in your food preparations. Both these block the formation of nitrosamines, a powerful carcinogen that targets colon, liver and breasts.
4. Limit consumption of alcohol – no more than two drinks per day for men and one for women.
5. Avoid ‘fast foods’ such as chips and fried chicken or other processed foods that are high in fat and sugar like chocolate, crisps and biscuits as all these can make you gain weight.