Nutrition And Disease: Cancer

I recently received an email from a reader who had visited and enjoyed my blog and wanted to contribute a guest post on how nutrition plays an important role in the battle against cancer. I did a biology degree at university, and one of my modules was the study of the biology of disease where we learnt about the roles that environment and lifestyle play in the development in disease. I find it quite interesting, but was unsure as to whether anyone else who reads this blog would be?! So, if this gains some interest, I think that I’ll start doing a mini series on nutrition and disease where I’ll focus on a different disease each week. Enjoy the article, and if anyone else has any other posts they’d like me to feature that they think would be of interest to others, please email me.

Thank you to David Haas for this article!

The Importance of Nutrition When Dealing With Cancer

Sodium intake is another major concern among nutritionists, researchers and physicians in the medical community.  A major discussion over the appropriate amount of sodium in a diet centers around diabetes, hypertension and other health conditions. Sodium intake is seldom linked to cancer risks and prevention.  

The Health Risks

Sodium intake has been linked to stomach cancer in individuals.  A person whose diet is high in sodium is twice at risk for developing stomach cancer.  High sodium intake can lead to atrophic gastritis, which occurs in the beginning stages of stomach cancer.  Sodium causes damage to the lining of the stomach.  Individuals who consume a large amount of processed foods are most at risk.  Having 12 grams of sodium per day can double stomach cancer risks for the average person.  High risks foods like bacon, pizza, junk food and bread are examples of high risks foods that can be too rich in sodium.  

A Japanese study consisting of 40,000 middle-aged individuals evaluated the dietary and lifestyle habits.  Individuals who consumed between 12-15g were found to be twice at risk for developing stomach cancer.  Researchers noted that a diet low in fruit and vegetables also contributed to stomach cancer risks as well as habits like smoking.

Sodium Intake and Cancer Prevention

Abstaining from a diet too rich in sodium can be beneficial in cancer prevention.  While researchers do not know whether or not the chemicals, salt or the combination of the two in processed foods elevates risk of stomach cancer in people, researchers recommend a diet lower in sodium.  Patients recovering from stomach cancer or other forms of the condition have to pay attention to the amount of sodium used in meal preparation and other foods they regularly eat.  Recovering cancer patients may be able to reduce their chances of relapse by lowering their sodium intake.  

Individuals can manage their mesothelioma treatment side effects by maintaining a proper diet.  In addition to lowering sodium intake, cancer patients should increase the consumption of fruits, vegetables and natural ingredients into their diet.  A healthy diet can accelerate the recovery time in recovering patients.  Following the doctor’s meal recommendations and working with a nutritionist can ensure that the person’s dietary needs can be met.  


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