Sunday, 15 December 2013

Top 10 Nutrition and Lifestyle Tips For Optimal Recovery

Today's post is written by Faye Butler and Sophie Tully who are Nutrition Scientists at Igennus Healthcare Nutrition. Igennus Healthcare Nutrition focus on providing natural means of improving health based on scientific research.

Top 10 Nutrition and Lifestyle Tips For Optimal Recovery

1. Reduce refined carbohydrates 
Sugar, including foods containing it, such as cakes and sweets, causes blood glucose levels to rise significantly and regularly eating these foods has been linked to increased risk of certain cancers. Keeping intake low is therefore important for cancer recovery as high intake of sugars can suppress the immune system which will, in turn, inhibit the healing process.

2. Drink plenty of fluids 
Cancer treatment can cause toxin build-up and it is therefore essential during recovery to drink plenty of fluids to flush the toxins out of the body. Water is one of the best fluids to drink, as well as herbal or green tea, which also contains immune boosting antioxidants.

3. Keep it natural 
Processed foods, including meats such as bacon and salami, are not only high in salt, but also contain lots of artificial ingredients and chemical preservatives. These have been associated with increased cellular stress and carcinogen production and therefore increased risk of cancer development. It is important to make sure your diet is rich in natural foods during recovery to avoid added stress to your cells.

4. Eat a range of proteins
High consumption of red meat is linked to increased risk of certain cancers, due to its haem content and the formation of certain compounds during the cooking process. It does, however, contain important nutrients, including iron and vitamin B12, so it’s important to include some in the diet along with a number of other animal proteins. Eggs and poultry have been found to have no negative impact in cancer recovery, whilst high oily fish consumption may be protective.

5. Choose a colourful range of foods
Eating enough to get the energy and nutrients needed to fight and recover from cancer can be hard, especially if you are feeling unwell from your medications. A balanced diet, high in a ‘rainbow’ of fruit and vegetables will provide an array of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which are particularly important for cancer recovery. Including nutrient dense foods such as good quality proteins, healthy fats and some complex carbohydrates will help you achieve the right balance of nutrients. Eating foods you enjoy little and often is important if you are struggling due to stomach upset and discomfort. This will also help you to maintain a healthy weight, another important factor during recovery.

6. Limit alcohol
Alcohol can increase inflammation in the body, which is strongly associated with cancer development as well as a number of other diseases and disorders. Thus, for cancer recovery, it is important to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum. Furthermore, alcohol can impair the breakdown of drugs used in cancer treatment which can increase their side effects.

7. Consider supplements
Nutritional inadequacies and deficiencies, common to the UK population, are often associated with an increased cancer risk, for example Vitamin D. Taking some well researched nutrients can provide some much needed additional recovery phase support, and will also help top up anything that you may be lacking.

8. Enjoy some exercise
Regular low-intensity exercise such as walking, Tai Chi, or cycling, can reduce levels of fatigue over the course of cancer treatment, and may also decrease emotional stress and improve sleep patterns. Finding a form of exercise that you enjoy, find comfortable, safe and, importantly, fun, will help enhance mental wellbeing and promote faster recovery.

9. Look after your emotional wellbeing 
Both emotional and social support available to cancer patients can help you and your loved ones to cope with the stress of cancer treatment. Such support can help to reduce levels of depression and anxiety, as well as other symptoms related to cancer treatment. Try Meditation to help you to relax and attending group support meetings to share your concerns and experiences with people who understand what you are going through.

10. Detoxify your body and your home! 
Eliminating toxins that build up during cancer treatment is an important part of recovery. It is equally important, though, to consider external chemicals that may impact on your body’s toxin levels. Household cleaning products, as well as many beauty products, contain a number of chemicals, which have linked to increased cancer risk and may also inhibit cancer recovery. Try to opt for natural products and those containing fewer or ideally no chemical preservatives.

This is the first instalment of their 'top ten' list. Each month the people at Igennus will write a new list of great tips for the blog, so keep an eye out for the next one!

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