You’ve probably heard about the benefits of eating healthy and staying physically active. While it’s always been good advice, for cancer patients it’s even more critical because a healthy lifestyle is an essential part of your recovery. In fact, research shows that almost all cancers have some link to diet and that making healthier choices promotes recovery. Even for those who have had the prostate removed, about 30 percent will see the cancer return.1 If your lifestyle choices can make a difference, we want to help.
Good dietary choices can lead to better health.
Your body is already under stress from trying to fight the cancer and deal with cancer treatments that put additional pressure on normal bodily functions. Wholesome nutrition can refuel the body naturally, and it can also give you a sense of control over part of your recovery. This is especially true for people with prostate cancer, because the cancer and its treatments may decrease your appetite.
Nutrition experts often recommend that a good diet focus on principles rather than specific foods. The idea is that any eating regimen is more likely to work if it is varied, interesting, tasty, and promotes good health. Trendy diets come and go, but the basics stay the same: eat a balanced diet that includes a lot of vegetables, fresh fish, fruits, and lean meats. Eating these foods doesn’t have to be dull or repetitive, because there are so many choices. All fruits and veggies are fair game, but some will benefit you more than others; broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, apples, and cranberries have minerals that can help fight prostate cancer cells.
A few additional tips:
- When choosing bread or pasta, go for whole-grain varieties
- Drink water frequently
- Green tea is always a good choice, as are grapes in any form, including wine
- To help fight inflammation, increase your intake of sardines, salmon, and mackerel for a dash of healthy omega-3 fatty acids
- Nutritional supplements should never take the place of proper diet and exercise, but there are some natural supplements that can help reduce prostate cancer growth; ask your doctor for more information
So now that you know what to add to your diet, here are some things to avoid:
- Trans fatty acids, which are often found in fried foods and baked goods
- High-calcium and high-sodium foods
- Eggs, which are a good source of protein, but several large research studies have demonstrated a link between dairy foods and the development of prostate cancer
- Cooking oils, including corn and canola oil, that are high in fat; when eating out, ask the server how the food is prepared and if there is a healthier alternative, such as olive oil, available
- Fast foods and processed foods
A healthier you is just a step away.
You probably know the benefits of regular exercise, but you don’t have to hit the gym every day or run a marathon to stay active. Simply walking for 30 minutes or more every day can benefit both your overall health and your recovery from prostate cancer. In addition to reducing the risk that your cancer will return, regular exercise can help you ward off heart disease, stroke, and even erectile dysfunction. A good way to stay motivated is to invite friends or family members to join you for walks or other outdoor activities. They can also provide a little encouragement when you need it.
See your practitioner regularly to discuss your progress, dietary needs, activity level, and preventive care. And as always, feel free to talk to your CVS Specialty CareTeam about additional ways to improve your recovery.