Jillian Mckee, a writer for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, contacted me and wanted to post an article she had recently written on vegetarian diets and cancer recovery. She has been studying nutrition and cancer and has concentrated in on a vegetarian lifestyle. Here is her article! Thanks Jillian!
The Benefits of a Vegetarian Diet as an Adjunct to Cancer Treatment
Being diagnosed with cancer can be one of the most difficult and sobering moments in anyone’s life. The anxiety, uncertainty, and prospect of lengthy and debilitating treatment are some of the worries a cancer victim may experience. However, each day new treatments are being discovered and survival rates continue to rise.
Any cancer patient, whether just diagnosed, in active treatment, or in remission, will look for lots of ways to improve their overall health. Things such as exercise, meditation, and a healthy diet are all excellent adjuncts to any treatment.
When considering a healthy diet, a vegetarian diet is an excellent choice for many reasons. To begin, fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat. Studies show that a diet, which is low in fat and high in fiber, can prevent certain types of cancers.
Since the low fat, high fiber nature of fruits and vegetables has been shown to reduce the rates of various types of cancer; it certainly makes sense to eat a vegetarian diet when dealing with the disease. Simply eating a high fiber, low fat diet is a good idea in any situation and makes sense when dealing with something as devastating as cancer.
A vegetarian diet is also beneficial in helping to deal with many of the side effects involved in cancer treatment. Mesothelioma treatments and treatments for many other cancers are physically exhausting and can even cause other illnesses. It is important during this time to be able to maintain one’s strength and energy.
Fruits and vegetables have long been known to provide abundant energy. This is especially true of fruits, which provide a quick boost of energy in addition to other health benefits. Having the extra energy that a vegetarian diet provides may allow treatment to continue without the interruption that is sometimes necessary when a patient becomes too weak to continue therapy.
Aside from the important physical health benefits, there are also mental benefits. Many people dealing with cancer vow to fight the illness. There is no better way to fight a health threat than by making a change to a healthy diet. It signifies the ability to control part of one’s own recovery. It creates a positive sense of wellbeing in the knowledge that everything possible is being done to combat the cancer.
Another psychological benefit can be weight loss. It is known that overweight and obese individuals are at a higher risk for cancer. If an overweight person develops the disease, weight loss may be recommended. For those who need to shed pounds in order to assist in their recovery, a vegetarian diet is a perfect solution. Just seeing a healthier looking self and reaching a healthy weight can be elating and can help take the mind off of the sometimes arduous treatment.
But what about those who have completed their treatment and are in remission? While there may be a temptation to return to meats, staying vegetarian will not only provide the benefits already mentioned, but will be an excellent way to keep the immune system at peak performance. This will help with overall wellness but is especially important in cancer survivors, as their immune systems need to be operating at optimal levels to help prevent recurrence.
Doctors and other health professionals will do their best to help, but helping oneself by adopting a healthy vegetarian lifestyle is perhaps the best adjunct treatment a cancer patient can use. It will provide a better quality of life, help with the side effects of treatment, and be a personal way to take the fight to this devastating illness.