Fight cancer with healthy food


Megan Schanie (courtesy of Courier Journal) To Megan Schanie, blueberries, broccoli and tuna steaks are no longer just foods -- they're weapons in her battle with breast cancer.

"How can food not affect me? I'm putting it into my body three times a day," said Megan, who has already fought the cancer with surgery and is undergoing chemotherapy. "Part of it is a control issue. It's something else I can do to prevent it from coming back."

The 31-year-old mother of two, who is sharing her story at, says she's always eaten pretty well. But before her cancer diagnosis, a routine doctor checkup showed she had high cholesterol. She started adding more fiber to her diet by switching to whole-grain breads and cereals. She lost a few pounds and felt better.

Since her diagnosis in September, some of those healthy habits went by the wayside as friends and family filled her refrigerator with dinners and desserts. But in the past couple of weeks, Megan has decided to stock up on more fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil and fiber-rich breads. She filled a shopping basket with such healthy fare during a grocery run last week.

She's also been visiting the Norton Cancer Prevention and Resource Center at Norton Suburban Hospital and borrowing books on nutrition and cancer. She's reading up on how diet can help prevent and fight breast cancer.

Fruits and vegetables, for example, contain antioxidants that repair damage that occurs naturally in cells. Fiber, meanwhile, binds to toxic compounds and carcinogens, which are later eliminated from the body.

Experts at the University of California at San Francisco say people can help reduce their chances of getting breast cancer, and even possibly slow its progression and prevent recurrence, by eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of produce and fluids and limits processed and refined grains, flours and sugars. Beta carotene -- found in foods such as carrots, winter squash and sweet potatoes -- is one of several substances considered protective.

Megan figures that while she's eating healthy, her husband and two little girls are also eating the meals and reaping the benefits.

But Megan is careful not to go overboard, employing the axiom: Everything in moderation. Although the vast majority of her diet is healthy, she'll occasionally splurge on cookies or ice cream -- little treats during a trying time.

"And," she said, "I will not feel guilty."

source  - The Courier  Journal


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