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Cancer: Nutritional Therapies Can Help


The goals of nutrition therapy for cancer patients are to restore nutrient deficiency, maintain nutritional health, and prevent complications. Good nutrition continues to be 

important for patients who have cancer. The goals of nutrition therapy for patients who have advanced cancer are designed to improve the quality of life.

Current research has shown that nutrition may also have a preventative effect on cancer. Daily intake of fruits, vegetables, and cereal grains may interfere with the process of developing many cancers. 

Antioxidants are substances that inhibit the oxidation process and act as protective agents. They protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals. Free radicals can attack healthy cells, alter the DNA and making defective cells that grow out of control. The classic anti oxidant is vitamin C (ascorbic acid). According to the National Cancer Institute, vitamin C may protect against cancers of the head and neck, stomach, and esophagus. Some data even suggest that Vitamin C may also reduce the risk of developing cancers of the rectum, pancreas and cervix. 

Beta carotene (provitamin A), may help decrease the risk of developing cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, beta carotene helps improve the immune system and this may help prevent cancers. The vitamin may also help in the scavenging of free radicals and thus prevent injury to normal healthy tissue. Good sources of beta carotene are dark green leafy and brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Vitamin E is essential for our bodies to work properly. Vitamin E helps to build normal tissues and red blood cells, as well as it is an antioxidant. Research data indicates that vitamin E may protect against prostate and colorectal cancer. The recommended dietary allowance for vitamin E is 15 milligrams per day.

Eating large amounts of fruits, vegetables and cereals may decrease the risk of developing certain cancers as well as diabetes and heart disease. The action of phytochemicals varies by color and the type of the food. They may act as antioxidants and prevent carcinogens (cancer causing agents) from damaging the body.

Researchers are studying the effects omega-3 fatty acids and their effects on cancer. Some data indicate that these fatty acids may delay or reduce tumor development in breast and prostate cancer. Since our bodies cannot make omega-3 fatty acids, we must get them from food or supplements. These fatty acids are generally found in sea foods. 

Note: Some statements in this article may not be approved by the FDA. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice.

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