A book for cancer patients telling them how to eat right

The book, Food Matters: The Role Your Diet Plays in the Fight Against Cancer, is not one of those plain recipe books. Instead, it explains in great detail how eating wrong things can wreak havoc on our health
The introduction in the book clearly lays out the intent of writing the book, which is defining the link between diet and cancer. (Stock photo)
The introduction in the book clearly lays out the intent of writing the book, which is defining the link between diet and cancer. (Stock photo)
Updated on Jan 10, 2021 04:55 PM IST
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While eating certain kinds of food increases one’s chances of getting cancer, there are certain other kinds of food items that can actually help fight this deadly condition.

Talk to cancer specialists, and you will find most complaining about the high drop-out rate among cancer patients on chemotherapy. The reason largely is the same: that their body cannot take the harmful drugs that are powerful enough for both killing the cancer cells as well as harming the healthy cells.

Talk to cancer patients on chemotherapy, and most would want to know if there was a solution that could make the therapy somewhat bearable.

Dr Shubham Pant, oncologist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, is here to help.

In his new book, Food Matters: The Role Your Diet Plays in the Fight Against Cancer, Dr Pant guides cancer patients through the gruelling therapies with healthy recipes that can provide maximum benefit during and after cancer therapy.

The book, however, is not one of your plain recipe books. Instead, it explains in great detail how eating wrong things can wreak havoc on our health, especially talking of things that could lead to diseases like cancer. Dr Pant has also painstakingly explained why cancer therapies such as chemo affect a patient’s sense of smell and taste, and how the side-effects can be minimized.

“Cancer is a truly life-changing diagnosis… we normally take the simple things in life, like the ability to relish and taste our food, for granted… until it gets taken away from us… taste buds go for a toss and things that were appetizing become repulsive overnight…,” is how Pant broaches the topic of loss of appetite during cancer therapy.

The introduction in the book clearly lays out the intent of writing the book, which is defining the link between diet and cancer.

“The link between diet and cancer is complicated and most of the research points to an association... certain dietary choices and patterns can help in decreasing the risk..,” he writes in the book.

The book is broadly divided in three sections: section 1 deals with diet and cancer prevention, second section is about eating healthy during cancer therapy, and third section is about surviving cancer.

The first section deals with things that are wrong with Indian eating, and how influx of western food habits mean that the risk of developing cancer has only increased. What are the leading causes of cancer, including use of tobacco, alcohol, high fat and low in fibre food, and how prevention is always better than cure.

He provides dos and don’ts of eating, and among don’ts the suggestion is to not eat red meat and processed meats, and in dos one will have to increase intake of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet.

To motivate people, Dr Pant has shared experiences of his patients in the form of case studies, and what did they do right to mitigate the effects of cancer therapy.

Towards the end of section 1, there is a list of healthy recipes shared for the purpose of making life somewhat easier for cancer patients on therapy. The recipes are tasty and the ingredients are simple that are easily available such as pearl millet, Amaranth with green vegetables, barley, chicken stew, chana with lime and date, figs, idlis etc.

The third section that deals with surviving cancer through diet, and has a list of healthy and interesting salad recipes such as fig, yoghurt salad, cucumber and peanut salad, cottage cheese and grape salad, masala boiled egg salad etc.

This book is a refreshing read; and a treasure trove for people with cancer who have trouble eating meals during therapy, and are always on a lookout for some tip that could make their life a bit easy.

“We wish you the best of luck in your nutrition and health journey for the next phase of your life…,” Dr Pant writes.

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Wednesday, October 20, 2021