Cancer Diet With Traditional Chinese Medicine
A diagnosis of cancer sadly affects about 300,000 people in England each year. Though there are genetic and environmental factors that certainly can lead to cancer, it is believed that about 30-40% of cancer diagnoses can be prevented by implementing changes to both diet and lifestyle.
The Western diet’s lack of sufficient nutrients and fiber combined with too much sugar and red meat have all been shown to lead to an increased risk of cancer. This means that a change in diet may reduce the risk of receiving a dreaded cancer diagnosis and even helping those who are experiencing the unwelcome side effects of most cancer treatments. To learn more about how a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diet rich in cancer fighting foods can help to prevent about one third of cancers, read on.
Traditional Chinese Medicine’s View on the Effects of Cancer
According to practitioners of TCM, the Western medicine treatments of radiation and chemotherapy will cause damage to the blood and Qi while negatively affecting the function of the five viscera and six bowels. The five viscera are made up of the heart, liver, spleen, lungs, and kidneys, whereas the six bowels refer to the large intestine, small intestine, gall bladder, urinary bladder, stomach, and torso.
This means that though the chemo and radiation may work to destroy cancer cells, it does so while causing great harm to all the systems of the human body. As a result, those undergoing these treatments will suffer from deficiencies of the body’s Qi, blood, yin, and yang. It is because of these deficiencies that incorporating an anti-cancer diet is of the utmost importance.
The Impact of Proper Nutrition on the Body
To address such deficiencies, it is important that those undergoing treatment adopt a healthy, nutrient-dense diet. Not only will the correct diet aid in recovery from such invasive treatments, but it may also reduce the risk of breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers by about 70% and lung cancers by about 50%. This is due to a proper diet’s ability to affect cellular metabolism and structure to combat the ways a poor diet may weaken the body’s immune response.
Foods for Cancer Patients According to Traditional Chinese Medicine
The good news about adopting a nutritious diet to prevent most cancers is that there are still many delicious options to allow for plenty of variety in meals. A cancer diet is not about starving or depriving the body. Rather, it is about eating nutrient-dense food that will provide the body with the micronutrients and macronutrients it needs to fight illness and heal the body. A few examples include:
- Add more fish to your diet: A Traditional Chinese Medicine cancer diet recommends consuming fish over red meat due to red meat’s association with a colorectal cancer risk. A study out of the International Agency for Research on Cancer in France demonstrated that the overconsumption of red meat has been associated with an increased risk of colorectal cancer. The study found that diagnoses of colorectal cancers were in correlation with those who consumed between 20 and 160 grams of read meat each day. Thankfully, the study was also able to demonstrate that those who included more than 80 grams of fish in their daily diet experienced a decreased risk of developing colorectal cancer. This is due to improving the balance of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids thanks to the high Omega 3 content that is found in cold water fish such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines.
- Include foods that are rich in yin: Those battling cancer may develop yin deficiency. Anyone with such symptoms as dryness, insomnia, and hot flashes is likely experiencing yin deficiency as an unwelcome side effect of traditional cancer treatment. To strengthen yin, include cancer fighting foods such as hydrating fruits containing phytochemicals and antioxidants. This includes foods like watermelon and citrus fruits which have been shown to reduce the risk of stomach cancer by 28%. Eating soy and whole grains may also help given their protective effects against cancer. Legumes, such as mung beans, have been shown to help reduce the risk of many cancers including cancers of the kidneys and stomach.
- Include foods that boost Qi: As the effects of cancer take their toll on the body, the result is severely depleted Qi. Qi deficiency may also bring with it cancer-related fatigue. Those with Qi deficiency will feel weak and tired regardless of the amount of rest they are able to get. To combat Qi deficiency, patients are encouraged to eat cancer fighting foods with warming properties. Including foods such as ginger, cordyceps and bamboo will help to restore Qi. Eating astragalus helps to tonify Qi, while consuming ginseng will provide a warming effect.
- Eat foods that are beneficial for blood deficiency: Including cancer fighting foods to improve blood deficiency is important for those who are going through cancer treatment as well as those looking to prevent the development of cancer. Foods such as black sesame are often used to tonify the blood. Adding red dates as part of a healthy diet will improve the blood’s circulation. Blood-building iron can be found in such plant foods as amaranth. Making those foods a regular part of a daily diet will help to improve the symptoms of blood deficiency.
Calories Count Matters
Calories do have an impact on cancer. Results from numerous experimental studies have shown that calorie restriction without malnutrition, and possibly protein restriction, may prevent and slow down the development of cancer. Calorie Restriction ( CR) has been shown to reduce the growth and progression of several types of cancers including mammary, colon, brain, prostate, lung, and pancreas.
Appetite Changes During Cancer ? Try Acupressure or Acupuncture
You may occasionally find it challenging to restrain your hunger. Acupressure or Acupuncture can help with restricting hunger. Acupuncture and Acupressure can both also help with stress and anxiety that is frequently accompanied with the diagnosis of cancer. The most commonly recommended acupressure point is Auricular.
Auricular acupuncture : Auricular acupuncture is a common therapy used to control appetite. Studies have shown after 1 week of treatment there was a statistically significant difference in the percentage change in body weight and active ghrelin levels in each individual participant in auricular acupuncture groups.
Implementing a Diet Rich in Cancer Fighting Foods : Research Based
When preparing meals from cancer-fighting ingredients, it may seem a tad overwhelming to ensure all of the nutrients that the body requires are included. Preparing a meal plan each week will go a long way to help save time in the kitchen. Buy and freeze proteins, such as salmon, to prepare throughout the week.
Fruits and Vegetables: Prepare sides of cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables such as wood ear mushrooms, okra, and bitter melon. Sweet potatoes are affordable and are both quick and easy to prepare. Garnish foods with chives, garlic, black sesame, and Chinese scallions to add flavor while experiencing their tonifying effects. Studies have also repeatedly shown the protective role of fruit and vegetables in lung cancer aetiology.
For those who like to snack, keep hydrating fruits such as watermelon, citrus, and papaya on hand when in season. Stay hydrated by sipping on ginseng tea.
Spices and seeds: Spices and seeds can also play a role in improving the body’s ability to fight cancer. Season foods and teas with such spices as cinnamon and turmeric to reduce the cancer cells’ ability to spread. Adding flaxseeds may also result in a protective effect. Studies have shown adding about 30 grams of ground flaxseed each day will also help to slow the growth of certain cancers.
Olive Oil: Consumption of olive oil has been related to reduced risk of several diseases. Studies have shown that highest olive oil consumption was associated with 31% lower likelihood of developing any type of cancer.
Since preparing the body to fight cancer is as much about what is not eaten as it is about what is eaten, it is important to avoid sweets and junk food.
Foods That Are Best Avoided to Reduce the Risk of Cancer
Foods eaten in a typical Western diet are often low in the essential nutrients that the body requires in order to fight off or prevent illness. In addition to its lack of nutrients, the Western diet is also notoriously high in fat, salt, and simple sugars. According to a study out of the Department of Animal, Dairy and Veterinary Sciences in Logan, Utah in the United States, inflammatory bowel disease is closely associated with colorectal cancers. This inflammation may be the result of the Western diet’s low intake of calcium and vitamin D. To lower the risk of cancer and improve chances of recovery during invasive cancer treatments, foods such as sweets, fried foods, and those with high amounts of sodium are best avoided. This includes desserts, pizza, fast food, and red meat.
The unfortunate reality is that most people will either develop cancer or have a relative of loved one who develops cancer. Thankfully, there is no need to sit back and wait for this horrible diagnosis to wreak its havoc on your body. Given the high percentage of cancers that can be prevented from a proper diet, following a TCM cancer diet means that not only can you lower your risk of some cancers, but you can prepare your body for the damage that is caused by treatments like chemotherapy and radiation.
Make sure that your diet includes plenty of fresh fish instead of red meat. Add cancer fighting foods rich in yin such as watermelon and citrus fruits. Boost Qi by incorporating ginger and bamboo. Tonify the blood by making black sesame and red dates a part of your diet.
In addition to these cancer fighting foods, it is important to avoid those foods that may lead to illness and deficiency. Junk food such as pizza, sweet treats, and red meat are best avoided to ensure your body is capable of fighting off illness. If you happen to be at a high risk of developing cancer or are currently experiencing the fatigue and insomnia that is often associated with modern cancer treatments such as chemo and radiation, then speak to a TCM practitioner about how a TCM cancer diet can help you to regain your health.
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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. We can’t guarantee the treatment result, as the symptoms of conditions are unpredictable and vary greatly from person to person. The treatment length and recovery time also varies for individual. Please visit our clinics website: GinSen where a specialists will discuss your care and provide a consultation, and the treatment will be designed to meet your individual needs.