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The best foods to eat for a breast cancer DIAGNOSIS

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in the UK and for those diagnosed, a better quality diet and being hysically active have been linked to longer survival.

Dr Carol Granger is a nutritional adviser. Here she will share the best foods to eat if you have had a diagnosis and the one food you should eat every day.

Plant foods are excellent, as they provide an array of vitamins and minerals. They also provide phytonutrients – botanical compounds found in certain foods. They are especially valuable because the coloured pigments they contain support several functions of the immune system and also help cell regulation. Some of the most important foods to eat are green cruciferous (brassica) vegetables, red and orange vegetables such as tomatoes and sweet potatoes, and dark berries such as blueberries. Garlic and mushrooms (which are delicious together) both support immunity. The fibre in plant foods also helps keep the digestion healthy.

Flaxseeds are another good food to eat, as they provide fibre which supports the elimination of cancer-causing compounds, and also natural compounds that can help support healthy hormonal balance. Plus, they contribute to other aspects of your health and wellbeing.

A much-cited myth is that dairy is off the menu if you are undergoing cancer treatment. However, whilst eating high amounts of saturated dairy fats from sources such as cheese and milk may increase risk, one dairy food is actually excellent at supporting good gut health. That food is yoghurt.

Live yoghurt provides good bacteria for your digestive system. These help your immunity and may even help the body to respond to some treatments. Often cancer treatment includes the use of antibiotics which extinguish the good bacteria in your body, so eating yoghurt every day helps counteract this. Live yoghurt, kefir and other fermented foods are great to eat on a daily basis and have also been shown to support good gut health.

For women living with breast cancer, there’s no single food that’s a miracle. However, there is enough evidence to suggest that some food choices can be of real benefit. This is not just in how patients feel, but also in maximising your health while living with the disease, helping to prevent recurrence, or living better (and possibly longer) in a palliative situation.

Eating well can help your body at all stages of the cancer journey, from diagnosis and treatment through to recovery, and for people living with and beyond cancer.

How to have a healthy gut

Good digestive (gut) health is the cornerstone of our immune system, helping to fend off illnesses and help us thrive. It will come as no surprise, then, that looking after our guts and understanding a bit more about what they do for us is an important part in staying healthy.

 

Fibre-rich sources of antioxidant vitamins include:

Carotenoids: Found in carrots, red peppers, tomatoes, pumpkins, spinach, kale, broccoli, watermelon, mangoes and corn.

Flavonoids: Found in raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, onions and beans

Selenium:Found in Brazil nuts, whole wheat, eggs and fish.

Folate: Found in green leafy vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts and wholegrains.

Vitamin C: Found in broccoli, cabbage, spinach, citrus fruits, red and green peppers, kiwi fruit, strawberries, sweet potatoes and tomatoes

Vitamin E: Found in nuts, seeds, wheatgerm, whole grains and avocados.

Digestive system-friendly foods.

Water: Many of us may exist in a semi-dehydrated state, which can often lead to niggling health problems that we might not realise are connected, such as indigestion, bloating, irregular bowel movements, as well as headaches and lack of concentration. Drink little and often throughout the day.

Rice: Some may benefit by choosing non-gluten cereal grains like rice more often. The starch in rice, particularly basmati rice, is digested and absorbed slowly, thereby providing a steady release of glucose into the blood for sustained energy.

Ginger: Compounds called gingerols have anti-inflammatory properties, helping reduce pain in conditions such as arthritis. Ginger root has been historically associated with helping to sooth the digestive system and stomach pains by eliminating excess gas, as well as being found to reduce symptoms of nausea and vomiting. Try adding fresh ginger to hot water to make a warming drink – perfect for a cold day.

Pears: Pears are known to be one of the least allergenic foods and are very gentle on the gut, so are well tolerated by almost everyone. Pears are good sources of the soluble fibre pectin and of bioflavonoids, which are powerful antioxidants and may protect against a range of diseases.

Probiotics: Probiotics, help to maintain a healthy balance of so-called good and bad bacteria in our gut. This balance of microbes, can be thrown out by a wide range of circumstances, including the use of drugs, excess alcohol, stress, disease or exposure to environmental toxins. When this happens, it can lead to an increase in the harmful bacteria that cause ill-health.

Fermented foods: Such as kimchi, sauerkraut, yoghurt, tempeh, miso, and kefir are great dietary sources of probiotics. Including plain live yoghurt in your diet, subbing coconut milk with it in curry, or adding it to fruit or cereals will give you what you need. You don’t necessarily need branded products specifically marketed as ‘gut friendly’.

Prebiotics: Prebiotics are nutrients and constituents of food that our gut flora feed upon, thus increasing the number of microbes found in the gut. Prebiotics include compounds known as fructo-oligosaccharides, which are found naturally in many complex carbohydrates and plants, including leeks, onions, wheat, garlic, chicory root and artichokes.

Top 10 men’s health issues

Men, strict health care and regular doctor’s visits go together like oil and water. It’s probably because of this stubbornness and unwillingness to make regular visits to our doctor or have preventative screenings, take symptoms seriously and live a healthier lifestyle, that we die an average seven years before women do.

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