The Benefits of Proper Nutrition for Cancer Patients – Guest Post by Jillian Mckee

Eating a nutritious diet is important to maintain overall health and energy levels. Nutrition is the process by which the body takes in vitamins, minerals, nutrients and calories. Calories provide the fuel that the body requires for movement, and the vitamins, minerals and nutrients are used for cellular repair and new tissue growth. Because breast, prostate and mesothelioma cancer make it hard for many people to eat, it is essential for these patients to consume the right foods. Some cancer treatments affect the way that the body absorbs nutrients. This is especially true for cancer patients who have a tumor in their stomach or esophagus. Fats, protein and carbohydrates are the three main types of food to focus on.

Carbohydrates
The body uses carbohydrates to get its energy. In a healthy diet, the body also needs to take in nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and an appropriate amount of calories. Some foods offer lots of calories, but they have little nutritional value. This is true of most sweets and simple carbohydrates. Antioxidants are often found along with most carbohydrates. Antioxidants are common in fruits and vegetables, and are essential in preventing cell damage that is caused by reactions with oxygen. Although antioxidants are thought to help prevent cancer, many doctors recommend against taking such supplements during cancer treatment.

Fiber
Fiber is derived from plant carbohydrates and cannot be digested. There are two main types of fiber. Soluble fiber is found in foods such as oat bran and lowers the body’s cholesterol levels. Insoluble fiber is found in wheat bran and improves bowel function.

Fats
Fats are essential in the diet since the body uses the substance to make hormones. In addition, fats are rich in energy. Several types of fat are found in most diets, but experts recommend sticking to poly and monounsaturated fats. These are ordinarily found in plants, seeds and fish. Animal fats are generally saturated fats, and they are associated with an increased risk of heart disease. Because fats are high in calories, increased consumption is often linked to obesity. Obese adults are at a higher risk for developing a number of different types of cancer so fats should be consumed sparingly.

Protein
Protein is the building block of muscle tissue. Because the body catabolizes muscle tissue in the event of a protein deficiency, it is imperative for cancer patients to ensure adequate consumption of this dietary element. Protein is common in a number of plant foods. Beans, dried peas and lentils are great sources of protein and help the body recover after cancer treatments.

Eating right is essential for overall health, and most experts recommend that cancer patients pay close attention to their diet. Because cancer treatments are hard on the body, many patients feel lethargic. Eating right enhances natural energy levels and is a great way to feel better. Eating a healthy diet may also improve the survival rates of cancer patients. Because many victims suffer from eating disorders and lack of appetite, it is even more important for cancer patients to eat the right foods.

Ragi (Millet) – The wonder grain Kanji or Conjee (Thick Soup) – By Mira Balachandran

Ragi which is also known as Millet is a miracle grain which has not received the importance that it richly deserves for its enriching qualities.
It is rich in Iron, Calcium, Proteins and Minerals – more importantly rich in an essential amino acid called Methionine.
It also abounds in Niacin which is a good source of B-Complex.
It is absorbed easily by the body and is ideal for both the young and the old.
It is considered to be a wholesome food for babies after they are 6 months old.
Highly recommended for diabetics it is also very good for lactating mothers and women in general since it helps in strengthening bones keeping osteoporosis at bay.
A dieter’s delight since it is low on fat and calories.
It is referred as ‘Folk Remedy’ in curing liver diseases, measles, small pox etc
Ragi can be made to be a part of the daily meal by consuming it as porridge, dosa, roti, rice mix, soups and even desserts
And best part is it is inexpensive compared to Rice, Wheat or Dairy products and yet delivers much more than those. Given below is one of the easiest recipes that can be made from powdered Ragi.

Ragi Kanji (Thick Soup)
Ingredients  
Broken wheat – 2 Tlbs
Soya powder – 1 Tlbs
Ragi Powder – 2 Tlbs
Water – 1 Cup
Milk – 3 cups
A pinch of elaichi (cardamon) powder
Sugar, Jaggery or Honey to taste

Method
In heavy bottomed pan mix broken wheat, ragi powder, soya powder and water and mix well making sure there are no lumps.
Place this vessel on the stove and stir continuously on high flame, till it comes to a boil.
Lower the flame and stir continuously till it becomes thick in consistency.
Add elaichi powder and milk.
Add sugar or honey or any sweetening agent of your choice.
Alternatively you can skip milk & elaichi powder and instead add butter milk and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Tips – You may add powdered Fried gram or Pottukadalai for added nutrient value. Some people add roasted and powdered peanuts [verkadalai powder] to the Ragi mix to give a different flavor.

Ragi kanji had with a fruit in the morning for breakfast not only keeps your stomach full but also keeps you energetic and healthy.