Health & Fitness

Proper nutrition key to winning battle against cancer

Eating healthy can prevent many lifestyle
Eating healthy can prevent many lifestyle diseases. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

A question came in the mail whose answer demanded a swift, well-thoughtout response. The mail carried with it a question on breast cancer to be specific.

The global cancer burden is estimated to have risen to 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths in 2018 and it keeps rising, according World Health Organisation (WHO). This means, one in five men and one in six women worldwide develop cancer during their lifetime, and one in eight men and one in 11 women die from the disease.

Statistics are great, they help paint a picture of the severity but sometimes the intimacy is lost in the numbers until it touches you. And when it does, most shudder with fear.

There are factors that render some of us more vulnerable to developing certain cancers — heredity, genetic factors, lifestyle, exposure to certain chemicals. However, we have the power to do something to prevent certain cancers. And sometimes it is things we have no control over.

“So what do you do post-cancer treatment?” was the question that was raised.


Simple answer? Adopt a lifestyle characterised by good and proper nutrition, regular physical activity, stress management and adequate rest. That is the key.

While there is no cure and no sure way to prevent cancer development and recurrence, being well-nourished has proven to be an important factor in treatment and recovery and sometimes, even in the mitigation of certain cancers.

Good and proper nutrition is relative to each person taking into account their nutritional status which should be monitored regularly. Even so, a diet made up of a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, fibre from whole, unrefined grains, quality proteins from both plant and animal sources (limiting animal proteins), and antioxidant rich herbs and spices such as peppers, garlic, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon all in their most natural and unaltered state has proven to respond well to cancers.

While undergoing treatment and post-treatment, it is best to keep off over-processed foods and diet packed with sugar and additives.

Alcohol and tobacco are also a big no nos. Remember, what you eat will form the framework for the rebuilding and replenishing.