Friday, April 26, 2013

How Eating Vegetables Can Help During Cancer Treatment


Healthy Living Today 

Featuring a guest post by Kaitlyn Teabo.  Kaitlyn is a writer for The Mesothelioma Center.  She combines her interests, writing, cancer research and emerging scientific technology, to educate the mesothelioma, community about asbestos and its related diseases." 

If you are battling cancer, you know that cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation or tumor removal surgery are designed to guide you toward recovery, but they can also be hard on your body. Eating vegetables and an overall healthy diet is a well-known way to combat the symptoms of some cancer treatments, but maintaining a plant-based diet while undergoing treatment may be just as effective if not more effective in overcoming the effects of treatment.
An all plant-based diet consists of vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and eliminates the consumption of meat, eggs and dairy products, and is often called veganism. Vegetarianism is very similar; however, this is a plant-based diet that may include eggs, milk and dairy products. Adopting a plant-based diet does not necessarily mean you should become a vegetarian or vegan, but that you should try to consume more whole foods and less processed foods or foods from animals.  

Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet during Cancer Treatment

There are a number of benefits associated with a plant-based diet while undergoing cancer treatment, including:

  • Vegetables and fruits provide a significant amount of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which will strengthen your weakened immune system.
  • Plant-based foods are rich in phyto-chemicals, which are naturally-occurring cancer-fighting compounds.
  • Whole foods retain more of their original nutrients than their processed counterparts
  • Plant-based foods are lower in saturated fats than processed foods or foods from animals.
  • A plant-based diet may lower your cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
  • Whole grains, vegetables and fruits are a good source of fiber, which is linked to the reduced risk of cancer.

Cancer Remission through a Plant-Based Diet

In many cases, cancer patients have made it to remission by eating a completely plant-based diet. One of these cases includes the story of Anthony Sattilaro, M.D., which can be found in his book, Recalled By Life. Sattilaro was diagnosed with prostate cancer when he was in his 40s. After his initial diagnosis, he underwent traditional cancer treatment consisting of various drugs, but the cancer spread throughout his body and he was told that he should prepare for death.

Sattilaro became severely depressed and it was not until he picked up a couple of hitchhikers that his spirits rose again. After much small talk, one of the hitchhikers mentioned that eating an all-plant diet would help him recover from cancer. With nothing to lose, Sattilaro began to change his diet and after 18 months, a CAT scan provided evidence that his body was clear of cancer.

The foods that you eat during cancer treatments are vital to your overall recovery. While eating vegetables and fruits will aid in recovery, maintaining a plant-based diet just might make the biggest impact in your journey to recovery.


Recommendations for Cancer Prevention. Retrieved from

Sattilaro, Anthony, MD. (1984). Recalled By Life. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.