Cancer survivors often do not eat a healthy, deeply nourishing diet according to research. This is shocking to me, that the individuals who are most motivated to improve their situation are not doing so!
Some cancer survivors in the United States are inspired to learn about better food choices and dietary ways to improve their health, but the findings are that many are not doing this.
Newly released research has found that cancer survivors eat a less healthy, nutritious diet than the general population. They eat empty calorie food which is very low in fiber. The cancer survivors did not follow the Healthy Eating Index Guidelines as much as people who have not had cancer. Green vegetables and whole grains were particularly low.
Why is eating a healthy diet important for cancer survivors?
Cancer survivors usually have a higher risk of chronic health problems and suffering a recurrence of cancer. One of the easiest things they can do to help prevent the possibility of health issues is to improve their diet.
It is known that a diet full of the right nutrients helpful in preventing cancer. Fruits and vegetables can help protect against several cancers. Learn more at: The Role of Major Nutrients in Cancer Prevention Also, read: Lycopene, the Powerful Nutrient That May Help Prevent Cancer
This was what instigated the research at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science, led by Dr. Fang Fang Zhang. The subjects consisted of 1533 cancer survivors (majority of cancer survivors were women (66%) and non-Hispanic whites (83%) with 3075 people who had never had cancer). They analyzed and compared the diets using the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2010 using the Healthy Eating Index Guidelines. They did a comparison on those who had survived cancer with people who have never had cancer.
Research Found the Diet of Cancer Survivors to Have…
- A healthy eating index of 47.2 and those who have not had cancer was 48.3. Although this is not a big difference, considering that some will have already adjusted their diet to be healthier and that they have a real reason to be motivated to have a very healthy diet.
- Less fiber, fewer vegetables and whole grains.
- Full of empty calories, low in nutrients.
– Low dietary intake of vitamin D, vitamin E, potassium, and calcium.
– High amounts of saturated fats and sodium.
Research, Also Found Age, Education and Smoking a Big Factor
- The older the age of cancer survivors, the healthier their diet.
- Survivors with lower education (high school or less) had a much less healthy diet than those with higher education.
- Smoking survivors have a much less healthy diet than non-smokers or former smokers.
- Breast cancer survivors had the healthiest diet and lung cancer survivors had the unhealthiest diet. The World Cancer Research Fund International’s Continuous Update Project has found that a plant based diet helps breast cancer patients survive.
“Nutrition is one of the cornerstones for cancer prevention and control. Unfortunately, nutrition is not typically integrated into the delivery of optimal care for cancer patients,” Dr Zhang told Medscape Medical News.
He went on to say that the health professionals, treating cancer patients need to discuss with them the importance of their food intake and their health. Just a few changes in a diet can have a major health impact.
For those of you following my blog know that I am a big advocate of eating very healthy nutritious food which I call Real Food, which is full of high fiber foods such as lots of vegetables, whole grains and fresh fruit.
When we eat a diet full of deeply nourishing Powerfoods we are nourishing our body so it can be healthy.
“The body is always doing its best to maintain and govern itself given the nutrients that are consumed.” – T. Colin Campbell