Written by Erin Goodwin, MS, LD/N, IBCLC
Proper nutrition provides the basic building blocks of a healthy diet that includes protein, carbohydrates and fats. Consuming a diet rich in a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein has been shown to reduce the prevalence of cancer by up to 20%. Nourishing the body with a rainbow of fruits and vegetables provides essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that play a role in maintaining cell health.
Whole grains offer fiber for a healthy gut, aids in achieving weight loss, and stabilizes blood glucose levels as well as supplying fuel for daily activities. Dairy products furnish an array of minerals, proteins and vitamins for bone and organ health. Proteins that are lean, such as chicken, fish, pork and legumes assist in the repair of muscle, skin, and other body tissues for ultimate healing.
Nutrition and Cancer
An integral part of cancer treatment is the addition of a well-balanced, healthy diet that provides adequate nutrition to the body. Due to periods of undernutrition prior to treatment, estimated energy requirements throughout treatment, as well as during the process of recovery, are increased by 25%. Some patients may have their caloric needs almost doubled. Dietitians can recommend dietary changes to help maximize intake to preserve lean body muscle mass and to prevent weight fluctuations. By recognizing symptoms of intolerance of treatments, such as changes in taste acuity or dry mouth, focus can be placed on interventions which can be implemented to combat these issues.
Proper nutrition can increase the body’s ability to recover between cancer treatments for a better quality of life. In an effort to demonstrate the ease of incorporating fruits and vegetables into the diet, the USDA recommended 5-9 servings per day.
Halifax Health – Center for Oncology aims to share more about nutrition and health on March 1st at the Let’s Talk Colorectal Cancer Tower Talk. Learn about the series here: https://halifaxhealth.org/tower-talks/
About the Author
Erin Goodwin, MS, RD, LD/N, IBCLC, is a Registered Dietitian and International Board Certified Lactation Consultant with more than 10 years of experience. Erin has a background in public health, print publishing, long term care, and clinical nutrition. As an oncology dietitian at Halifax Health Center for Hope, she shares her nutrition knowledge with patients, their caregivers, and other health professionals.
If you would like to speak with Erin, please call 386.425.2232 or email Erin.Goodwin@halifax.org