Choosing the most suitable diet for cancer patients and survivors
Are you or your loved one diagnosed with cancer? Well, then gearing for considerable lifestyle changes is a must especially eating well and healthily.
As Hippocrates, father of medicine has said," Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food." Though quotes thousands of years ago, this quote emphasizes that foods are power-packed with essential nutrients that heal and nourish the body for regaining good health and preventing diseases.
Dr. Sandeep Nayak, emphasizes seeking total health and wellness through diets. In addition, it is vital to ensure the cardiovascular health of cancer patients and survivors as they are at a higher risk of dying due to cardiovascular complications.
As a leading cancer specialist in Bangalore, Dr. Nayak states an ideal lifestyle of a cancer patient should include weight management, physical exercise, and nutritious food in adequate quantities that promise better survival rates and prevent recurrence of cancer.
So, Dr. Sandeep Nayak, one of the Best oncologist in India, states
That a healthy diet can keep cancer at bay and ensure cancer survivors live longer and healthier. Similarly, he says that celebrity diets, fad diets, and diets heavily promoted across the media are the ones that seem promising but not always right.
Hence let us explore some of these diets before we follow any one of them religiously. The five diets are as follows -
The Alkaline Diet:
Some people believe that excess acid in the body causes cancer and hence the preference for alkaline food. Therefore, an ideal alkaline diet consists of nearly 80 percent of vegetables, fruits, beans, whole grains. In addition, this diet eliminates the consumption of meat, especially red meat, white-based foods such as sugar, rice, refined flour, bakery products, to name a few of them. Accordingly, the acid content in the body is reduced, and the body stays fitter.
Thus, an alkaline diet is quite ideal as the consumption of fresh and natural foods prevents cancer from recurring and improves the survival rate of cancer patients. It is good to have more veggies and fruits, the concept of alkalinity is not proven.
The Paleolithic Diet:
As the name suggests, the Paleolithic diet consists of nuts, meat, eggs, vegetables, and fruits. It excludes processed foods, dairy products, and legumes from its list. Thus, their food list is similar to that of the humans living in the Stone Age.
The followers of this diet believe that cancer and other life-threatening diseases are the after-effects of the agricultural revolution. The human body is incapable of digesting such food.
Also, by eliminating the consumption of whole grains and beans, the survival rate of cancer patients does improve along with general health. But the inclusion of red meat is a worrying factor, especially for cancer patients.
The Ketogenic Diet:
The ketogenic diet majorly comprises high-fat, low-carbohydrate meals i.e., nearly 60% and above calories are derived from fat. A ketogenic diet also includes processed foods. If a ketogenic diet is followed, the cancer cells will get their energy from ketones and not glucose.
Research on patients following a ketogenic diet is relatively mixed. There have been instances of tumor cells getting energy from ketones, while some studies show cancer cells cannot metabolize the ketones as desired.
In the real world, the ketogenic diet is tough to follow for long periods. It also leads to nutrition deficiency as meals are low in fiber and laden with fat. Moreover, a ketogenic diet lacks fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans which is not acceptable for cancer patients and survivors.
The Vegan Diet:
Primarily the vegan diet excludes meat, eggs, fish, honey, and dairy products while including whole grains, nuts, seeds, fruits, and berries.
The other disadvantage of a vegan diet is the availability of sugar-based and processed vegan food items. Also, people with vegan diets have low levels of calcium and vitamin B12 comparatively.
Vegan diets can be considered ideal for cancer patients and survivors to a certain extent, as studies have shown a reduction in cancer incidence. Still, we need to consider allied factors such as exercise, meditation, support system, and so on responsible for the same.
It is advisable to follow a vegan diet under expert supervision to ensure essential nutrients are also consumed in their desired quantities for overall health.
A macrobiotic diet is mainly vegetarian, including unprocessed whole foods such as rice, millet, and legumes, vegetables, and fruits. Whole foods such as rice and millets extend up to 60 percent of the meal, while vegetables, fruits, and legumes fill up the remaining 40 percent. In addition, a macrobiotic diet is rich in fiber and excludes processed meat.
A macrobiotic diet is rich in dietary fiber and micronutrients, while the energy percentage is lower. Also, we need to take into account low vitamin B12 and vitamin D levels along with calcium. People following a macrobiotic diet believe that imbalance in the body causes cancer. Also, they believe in a holistic approach towards living which includes exercise and meditation in moderation to live a healthier life.
As the best oncologist in Bangalore, Dr. Nayak states people need to be diet flexible. And a lot of it depends upon the patient's culture, religion, and belief, along with the desire to live a meaningful life. We can safely infer that no single diet is the best for cancer patients; however, if practiced in moderation under the supervision of a nutritionist specialist, the outcomes will be better.