Childhood Cancer Awareness – Diet tips to keep your child away from cancer

Childhood Cancer Awareness – Diet tips to keep your child away from cancer

Diagnosis of cancer can be an upsetting episode for anyone, and especially when it is of a child. With this come many questions in mind, alike – what are the treatments available? How long the treatment is going to take? Will the child get fully cured? How to prevent it from reoccurring? And many more.

Although the causes of most childhood cancer are unknown, almost about 5% are caused by inherited mutation (genetic from parents) but there has been a constant decline of cancer cases in children in the recent years and  still remains a leading cause of death from any disease among children. The most common cancers diagnoses in children between the age group of 0 to 14 years are brain, leukemia, lymphomas and other central nervous system tumors.

Studies have revealed that most cases of childhood cancers are related to lifestyle disorders of parents like reproductive history, alcoholism and smoking, maternal diet and diet of children. It is also very important to note, as per studies that childhood cancers are preventable to a great extent by following a healthy diet and proper lifestyle.

 

Preventing childhood cancer with diet this International Childhood Cancer Day

On the International Childhood Cancer Day being observed on 15th February and International Childhood Cancer Awareness month, let’s take an initiative to raise awareness on children with cancer and deeper understanding on the topic. It is for all of us to understand that diet is one of the first modifiable factor for any degenerative diseases including cancer. More than 30% of cancer cases in children can be delayed or prevented by maintaining a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Plant based foods like fruits, vegetable and whole grains, a decent ratio of omega 3/6 poly-unsaturated fatty acids and fish have protective qualities against cancers.

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables: are believed to be the best foods from preventing cancer. Both fresh fruits and vegetables contains high quantities of vitamin C, nutrients and phytochemicals, acting as antioxidants. The lethal combination of vitamin C, nutrient and antioxidants stands as shield in the way of cancer by-
  1. Neutralizes the free radicals within the body by preventing their uncontrolled growth and spread that develops cancers.
  2. Initiates elimination of wastes from the body, purifying the blood and proper function of intestines and the digestive system.
  3. Strengthens immunity.
  4. Ensures enough oxygen in the blood via proper blood circulation within the arteries by preventing any clogging to happen.

 

  • Proteins: is responsible for growth, blood cell build up, tissue repair and feeds the immune system. Cheese, eggs, milk, yogurt, lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, peanut butter, nuts, lentils, and soy are all good sources of protein. It has the ultimate healing resources which will help the child to heal faster ad effectively. Proteins helps the child to heal faster by preventing infections and healing faster from the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation during the treatments.

 

  • Carbohydrates: acts as fuel for the body by providing with the necessary energy and proper functioning of the organs. Breads, pasta, potatoes, rice, cereals, fruits, corn, and beans are good sources of carbohydrates.

 

  • Whole grain breads and pastas are much better options, as they add fibers also, which helps fuelling the child’s body for a longer period and prevents against constipation – a common side effect of cancer treatment.

 

  • Fats: stores energy, insulates the body tissues and carries various vitamins through the blood stream. It also helps the child maintain a healthy weight during the treatment process as it is dense in calories.

 

  • Not that all fats are good, but unsaturated fats found in fish, fish, nuts, olive oil, and vegetables such as avocados are better and healthier compared to trans and saturated fats, found in red meats and greasy and oily fried foods.

 

As a concluding note, along with daily dietary needs of all the essential nutrients to fight cancer in children, drinking adequate quantity of water – 6 to 8 glass per day will help in flushing out harmful toxins and other wastes from the body, purify the blood, reduce acidity and keep the immune system working properly.

 

Sheela Seharawat is a nationally acclaimed dietician in India.  She is the founder of Diet clinic, which has 36 branches running successfully all over India.