December 13, 1999
Nutrition after Cancer Diagnosis
Diane Scott-Dorsett, RN, PhD, FAAN
The literature on nutrition in cancer research reports that several vitamins (A,C,E) and selenium and zinc stand out consistently as important to healthy cell and tissue regeneration. This knowledge is especially important in oncology because cancer treatments are largely cytotoxic (aimed at killing cancer cells), and ablate a large number of normal rapidly dividing cells as well. The theraprutic goal of good nutritional intake after cancer diagnosis is to replenish the body with new, healthy cell growth.
Vitamin supplementation is not enough and may not be the safest method in some cases. On the other hand, if we try to get all the needed nutrients through diet, some fear they will consume too many calories. The good news is that most foods rich in the important vitamins and minerals for cell and tissue renewal are also low in calories. In addition, these foods contain many of the other nutrients that aid vitamin and mineral absorption, not contained in expensive supplements.
Although knowledge of what nutrients are important to cancer recovery is essential, eating a diet with foods plentiful in those substances may be a different story. Therefore, goo-tasting recipes using readily available foods abundant in vitamins A, C, and E and selenium and zinc are key links to attaining the goal.
This compendium is designed to provide a list of the most potent foods rich in these important nutrients, and provides a cross-tabulation of foods rich in two or more of those building blocks. Further, the recipes are easy to prepare and so delicious that you will find yourself making them over and over again for you and your family.
VITAMIN A Best Source Foods * Apricots * Broccoli * Broccoli Rabe Greens * Collard Greens * Mustard Greens * Beet Greens * Chard * Kale * Bok Choy * Cantaloupe * Mango * Peaches
*Spinach * Carrots * Sweet Potato
(not yam; be careful and buy the paler yellow tuber)
* Red Bell Pepper * Brussel Sprouts * Peas * Tomato * Romaine Lettuce * Parsley * Crabmeat * Cold Cereals
like Product 19 and Total (check the labels)
Papaya Ripe Watermelon Winter Squash (acorn etc.) Canned Pumpkin > Yellow Corn *Foods high in both Vitamins A and C
VITAMIN C Best Source Foods Broccoli Brussel Sprouts Cabbage Cantaloupe Cauliflower Collard Greens Mustard Greens Turnip Greens Beet Greens Bok Choy Grapefruit Mango Orange Papaya Pineapple Spinach Strawberries Apricots Asparagus Honeydew Melon Sweet Potato Tomato Turnip Romaine Lettuce Raspberries Blackberries Blueberries Sour Cherries Tangerine Wax Beans Green Beans Apricots Artichoke Rhubarb Beets Carrots Dried Peaches Peas
VITAMIN E Not many food sources the following require supplementation Wheat Germ Whole Grain Breads Avocado
SELENIUM Best Source Foods Asparagus Garlic Beef Mushrooms Seafood
ZINC Best Source Foods Beef Crabmeat Oysters Lamb Pork Turkey Brown Rice Salmon Spinach Yogurt Beans Rye Bread Whole Wheat Bread Chicken Clams Lentils Lima Beans Lobster Oatmeal Milk Peas Baked Potato