Health Talk Today

Disease

The Important Role of Nutrition in Cancer Treatment

Guest post by Jillian McKee, Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.

Fruit and Vegetables

Good nutrition is instrumental in a cancer patient’s life because it makes a big difference in how the body responds to treatment. Sometimes treatments are very hard on the body. Eating a good diet will help the body replace damaged cells and will help in healing after surgery. If cancer patients continue to eat a good, nutritious diet during their illnesses, they will keep their strength intact. All of these issues are a concern when people are just being diagnosed, currently undergoing treatment, or recovering from cancer.

Weight is a highly important topic to doctors. As people lose weight after being diagnosed, they lower survival chances more quickly than those who can keep their weight at a healthy level. Similarly, when losing weight during their illnesses, enthusiasm and quality of life declines. By keeping their weight at a healthy level, energy levels are maintained. They can better maintain their normal lives and do not feel as hopeless as those who are feeling weak.

As people eat a nutritious diet, they can reduce the symptoms that they experience from their cancer treatments. If cancer patients are becoming malnourished, they often notice side effects that are more severe. These can be decreased by maintaining a healthy body weight. Side effects include:

• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Constipation
• Diarrhea
• Fatigue
• Anemia
• Anorexia

Problems with getting enough nutrition present themselves when it’s hard to eat a sufficient amount of food. Those who are currently receiving mesothelioma cancer treatments, for example, may need to have a feeding tube. This way, they will receive a healthy mixture of water, proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates. It can lead to these patients feeling much better than they did previously.

The medical staff will begin to take nutrition into consideration right after a patient has been diagnosed with cancer. They will want to identify any potential problems that could present themselves throughout the patients’ treatment. Then they can develop a plan to make sure malnutrition does not become an issue.


Jillian McKeeJillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.

Leave a comment for Jill with your best nutrition ideas.

Myths About the Aging Brain Revealed

Myths About the Aging Brain Revealed(ARA) – Who says you can’t teach a mind new tricks at any age? Recent research shows that Americans have the power to positively influence their brain function throughout life – an important realization that is especially relevant for the more than 78 million baby boomers in the United States. Brain health is one of the top health-related concerns of aging populations and has been identified by the Centers for Disease Control as a public health priority.

“The fear of memory loss and losing brain capacity looms large among the minds of boomers,” says Dr. Majid Fotuhi, a leading neurologist and author of “The Memory Cure.” “But we can maintain and even improve our brain health as we age. In fact, our brains have the ability to grow and change throughout life.”

Dr. Fotuhi debunks four common myths surrounding the brain and aging.

1. The brain stops growing after childhood.

A decade ago, many experts would have scoffed at the idea that the brains of adults, particularly older adults, could grow or develop in any significant way. But that has changed. Research increasingly suggests that each time a new skill is learned, such as playing an instrument, speaking a foreign language or even dancing, new pathways are formed and areas of the brain may grow, even well into the later years. Physical and mental exercise can alter specific brain regions, improving in cognitive function. Brain growth isn’t just for kids.

2. Once I start experiencing memory loss, it’s all downhill and there’s not much I can do.

Actually, there are a number of things you can do to improve your memory throughout life, even if you are already noticing changes. Exercise, challenging mental activities, social engagement and diet adjustments have all been shown to have positive effects on cognition and memory. In fact, a new study published online in May in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, showed that healthy people with memory complaints who took algal DHA capsules for six months had almost double the reduction in errors on a test that measures learning and memory performance versus those who took a placebo, a benefit roughly equivalent to having the learning and memory skills of someone three years younger. DHA (or docosahexaenoic acid) is an omega-3 fatty acid and a building block for the brain. Algal DHA products comparable to those used in this study can be found at major retailers like Walmart, CVS and Walgreens under the Algal-900 product name – look for the life’sDHA seal on these supplements to ensure you are getting an algal DHA source. For more information on foods, beverages and supplements that contain algal DHA, visit www.lifesdha.com.
Myths About the Aging Brain Revealed

3. Memory problems must mean Alzheimer’s disease.

Many people, young or old, worry that mild forgetfulness must be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease. But most people are worrying needlessly – research shows that more than 80 percent of people will never get Alzheimer’s disease. Some experts now believe that it is time to redefine everyone’s understanding of age-related memory loss and dementia. Emerging research indicates that many people experiencing memory loss and dementia actually have mixed pathologies in their brains. In fact, very few senior citizens have “pure Alzheimer’s disease.” Instead, late-life cognitive impairment may in fact be a result of multiple “hits” to the brain, from a variety of risk factors such as hypertension, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, chronic stress, head trauma and poor diet. The good news? There is the opportunity to influence brain health and function by incorporating lifestyle factors like exercise, a healthy diet, stress reduction and intellectual and social engagement. Regardless of family history, the choices a person makes in life may be able to slow the progression of age-related cognitive decline or help prevent it altogether.

4. Brightest equals youngest.

Today’s society does place an emphasis on age but, keep in mind, people over 65 rule the country. The majority of legislators, CEOs, doctors, lawyers, judges, economists and CEOs are not in their 30s or 40s, but seasoned veterans who bestow several decades of experience and expertise. Along with gray hairs come both knowledge and wisdom and you do not have to look far to find inspiring stories of accomplishment, creativity and reinvention in the second half of life. To see some inspiring profiles of aging and learn more about the actions you can take to ensure that you build and maintain a mind that is healthy and beautiful for an entire lifetime, go to beautiful-minds.com.

Protect Yourself Against Swine Flu

The news is everywhere – On TV, radio, online and the newspaper. The speculation is that the Swine Flu breakout may become a pandemic. The key word is MAY. Right now, it is NOT a pandemic. Now is the time to take all the precautions we can to avoid this illness.

First we need to be able to recognize the Swine Flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “The symptoms of swine flu in people are expected to be similar to the symptoms of regular human seasonal influenza and include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing. Some people with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.”

It’s time to take preventive measures:

  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish and soy.
  • Take your vitamins every day.
  • Keep your immune system strong. I like a natural interferon booster.
  • Drink lots of filtered water.
  • Wash your hands often. Soap and warm water kill most germs.
  • Use a hand sanitizer.
  • Use a saline nasal spray before you leave the house and when you return.
  • Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Avoid public restrooms, crowded waiting rooms and anywhere lots of people gather.
  • Avoid sick people. Unfortunately, people are most contagious just before they get sick.
  • Don’t share personal items, food or drinks.
  • Keep a positive attitude.
If you get sick:

  • Visit your doctor. There are tests to determine if you have a cold, seasonal influenza or the Swine Flu.
  • Prescription medication is available to help you feel better, keep the flu virus from reproducing in your system and possibly prevent complications.
  • Stay home. You need the rest and you don’t want to infect others.
  • Follow the guidelines above for prevention. They work well when you’re sick, too.

Prevention is the best course of action. Living a healthy lifestyle keeps your body in the best shape to ward off illnesses of all kinds. You can’t go back and do things over, but you can start from today and make a better future.

What are you doing to get healthy and stay healthy?

Marilyn Kvasnok
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