When living with or recovering from breast cancer, a change in diet is a key component in the healing process and yet a lot of women don’t do it, but it’s not because they don’t want to.
In fact the desire is often there, but like so many of us who want to make dietary changes, she doesn’t know where to start or how to find the support to do so.
And if she’s looking on the internet, she’s going to find that keto is best, vegan is best, paleo is best, low fat is best, fasting is best….so confusing!!
Some of the women I interviewed who have breast cancer said that when they asked the hospital for help with nutrition they were simply told to “eat less sugar and more protein”.
Seriously, that’s it? She’s trying to heal her body from the adverse effects of cancer, treatment, medication and stress and this is all she gets?
As an advocate for my clients, this really bothers me.
So what I would like to do is to give you some solid and specific advice on how to get started with 5 DIETARY TIPS that can help to:
tackle inflammation (a driving force of cancer)
increase the chances of apoptosis (death of cancer cell)
help to boost your immune system
give you a better quality of life all around
I suggest choosing the ones that feel the easiest to start.
1. REDUCE THE LOAD OF TOXIC PESTICIDES
Your body doesn’t need pesticides. Toxins will sit and build up inside your fat cells. Please eat whole, clean, local organic foods whenever possible. Here is the ideal order of what’s best in descending order:
Organic & local
Conventional & local
Organic & non-local
Conventional & non-local
If you can’t find or afford organic/local produce then use conventional, it’s still important to get those nutrients in. Wash your produce really well.
If cost is the issue, save your money for higher quality, clean grass fed/pasture raised meat if you’re eating some.
2. SATURATE YOUR DIET WITH NUTRIENTS
Antioxidant foods help to repair and replenish your cells. It’s important to include foods/drinks that have damage control properties like green tea, turmeric (ie many curry dishes) and organic berries ( you can get these frozen off season).
3. PUT ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS ON YOUR GROCERY LIST
Inflammation is one of the main drivers of disease so be sure you have some of these foods incorporated into your meals everyday. Some really powerful ones are:
fatty fish (salmon, herring, mackerel)
Also, forget the commercial salad dressings and drizzle extra virgin olive oil, minced garlic and lemon or apple cider vinegar on your salad instead. For extra flavour, add sea salt, pepper, fresh grated ginger, a dash of tamari or some fresh or dried oregano or mixed italian herbs.
4. CHOOSE A VARIETY OF COLOURFUL PRODUCE
Nature has given us a plethora of vibrantly coloured fruits and vegetables that are loaded with potent cancer fighting properties, don't be afraid to mix things up.
When you look at your plate, your meal should look beautiful from all the vibrant greens, reds, purples, oranges and yellows that line our gardens and the produce section of the grocery store.
When you’re shopping, this is where you should spend most of your time, in the produce section. When you’re cooking, chopping should feel like the normal thing to do (even though it takes time) because you’re doing it just about everyday. When you cut and chew your fruits and veggies, you are releasing live enzymes that heal. This is one reason why fresh (or flash frozen) food is best.
5. FEED YOUR GUT MICROFLORA TO BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Regularly consuming foods rich in prebiotics and probiotics that help to support your intestinal microbiome can have a very big role in how well your immune system is responding to invaders and cancer cells.
When your gut health is out of whack, your body becomes an open target for pathogens and bad bacteria to thrive and critical vitamins and minerals getting lost and unabsorbed. Some of these supportive foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, fermented vegetables, miso, tempeh and kombucha where even just a little bit can go a long way.