Diet and lifestyle can help reduce the risk of certain types of cancers.
Diet and lifestyle can help reduce the risk of certain types of cancers, including ovarian cancer. Additionally, a healthy diet and lifestyle may also help improve the overall quality of life and survival rates in women who have already been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. In addition, all of this can help to better tolerate medical treatment with chemotherapy, but obviously, they should never replace it.
How to have a proper diet after the diagnosis of ovarian cancer?
Following a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats, and low in highly processed foods, may play a critical role in reducing the risk of developing ovarian cancer and improving certain health outcomes in people after diagnosis of the disease.
Professionals, including the oncologist and dietitian, can provide more specific nutrition and lifestyle advice based on the general health and prognosis of each patient based on the specific type of their disease.
Here, the impact of certain types of diets on ovarian cancer will be detailed, the main suggestions regarding foods to include and avoid will be given, as well as nutritional advice during the treatment of ovarian cancer.
Can a certain diet help treat ovarian cancer?
Based on available scientific evidence, dietary and lifestyle changes along with medical treatment may help improve ovarian cancer survival rates.
Thus, studies have associated diets rich in certain types of foods and ingredients, such as whole milk, trans fats, and fried foods, with an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
Scientific studies also suggest that diets rich in nutritious foods, such as green leafy vegetables and vegetables, foods rich in flavonoid compounds, and green tea may help protect against ovarian cancer in some people. Some examples of vegetables include garlic, onions, shallots, and leeks.
Some studies have shown that certain dietary patterns may be helpful in reducing the risk of ovarian cancer and improving cancer outcomes in women who have already been diagnosed with the disease. However, there is no specific diet that professionals can currently recommend for women with ovarian cancer.
A recent study has linked diets rich in high-fiber, plant-based foods and low in ultra-processed foods and saturated fats with a lower risk of cancer in general. In addition, certain dietary habits may improve the effectiveness of chemotherapy and reduce the risk of long-term complications in people with cancer.
However, it is also important to mention that establishing the specific relationship between types of diets and cancer risk is complex. In this regard, researchers need to conduct more studies to more accurately understand how diet affects ovarian cancer risk.
The scientific evidence available to date suggests the following dietary recommendations:
● Eat a diet rich in green leafy vegetables
● Incorporate more vegetables in the diet
● Eat fish
● Drink green tea
● Avoid whole milk and choose low-fat alternative kinds of milk
● Include more calcium and vitamin D in the diet.
Can a certain diet help prevent ovarian cancer?
Certain diets, including plant-based and those rich in cruciferous vegetables, may reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in some people.
A diet rich in cruciferous vegetables may help reduce the risk of ovarian cancer in some people. According to a 2018 study involving 675 women with ovarian cancer and 1,275 women without the condition, a connection was seen between a high intake of cruciferous vegetables, particularly cooked cauliflower and greens, and a lower risk of ovarian cancer.
Study participants who ate the most cruciferous vegetables had the lowest risk of developing the disease. The risk also appears to decrease with every 10 servings of cruciferous vegetables per month.
Cruciferous vegetables contain high amounts of certain phytochemicals, called glucosinolates. When you chop, cook, and chew cruciferous vegetables, glucosinolates break down into isothiocyanates.
According to the study, these compounds have anticancer properties and can affect the metabolism of carcinogens, hinder tumorigenesis, suppress inflammatory mediators, and activate immune defenses, for example.
Benefits of a plant-based diet
Plant-based diets are based on dietary habits that are high in plant foods and low in animal foods, including meat and dairy.
Any dietary pattern based on nutrient-rich plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, beans, nuts and seeds, and restricting highly processed foods, is likely to reduce the risk of disease, including cancer.
The American Cancer Society (ACS) guidelines state that the anticancer benefits of plant-based diets may be due to:
● Lower levels of inflammation
● A better response to insulin
● Less oxidative DNA damage
● Higher levels of helpful bacteria in the gut
High in calcium, and low in lactose
A 2020 study, investigated the effects of dairy products, calcium, and vitamin D on people with ovarian cancer. The researchers noted an association between a higher intake of whole milk and an increased risk of ovarian cancer. The authors have also found that consuming more low-fat milk, vitamin D, and calcium may reduce the risk of the disease.
Dietary Guidelines for General Cancer Prevention
The ACS recommends the following diet, which may promote overall cancer prevention:
Stimulate the intake of:
● Nutrient-dense foods that help achieve or maintain a moderate body weight
● A variety of colorful vegetables, including red, orange, and dark green vegetables
● Legumes, such as beans and peas, which are high in fiber
whole fruits in a variety of colors
● Whole grains
Limit or avoid intake of:
● Red meat
● Processed meat
● Drinks that contain refined sugar
● Highly processed foods
● Refined grain products
Considerations for digestive problems
If ovarian cancer and its treatment are causing digestive problems that affect the way a person eats and drinks, you may want to consider the following tips:
● Bloating and swelling: try drinking smoothies, eating high-calorie snacks, and eating smaller meals more often to prevent bloating. Additionally, drinking peppermint or chamomile tea can help relieve gas and stomach pain.
● Indigestion: Try taking over-the-counter antacids, eating 2 hours before bedtime, and eating only when sitting upright.
● Constipation: Drink plenty of fluids, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and get regular, gentle exercise.
● Diarrhea: Replace lost fluids, eat smaller meals, avoid fried and spicy foods, and take time to rest.
● Intestinal obstruction: People can discuss options with a health care team, but treatment may include drinking plenty of fluids, eating an easily digestible diet, and taking laxatives.
● Loss of appetite: Eating small servings of high-protein shakes more often can help a person who is experiencing a loss of appetite.
● Nausea: People may eat smaller meals more often. They could opt for easily digestible foods, such as soups.
In conclusion, diet may have an impact on the prevention and treatment of ovarian cancer. Diets based on cruciferous vegetables, fruits, fiber, soy, and omega-3 fatty acids may be beneficial.
Conversely, a diet rich in red meat, highly processed foods and refined sugar can lead to worse results.
People who have ovarian cancer should consult a medical team, including an oncologist and a dietitian, for specific dietary recommendations.