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Nutrition & Exercise

Healthy Lifestyle

As a cancer survivor, or just newly diagnosed it is important to engage in healthy lifestyle with attention to nutrition, physical activity, and weight management. Healthy lifestyle habits have been associated with improved overall health, a reduced risk of cancer recurrence, and improved survival.


Maintain a heath diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lower red meat consumption and processed meats. Cut down on sugar and fats. They say “EAT THE RAINBOW” for vegetables.

  1. Create a plate that is 55% lean protein, 30% fruits/vegetables, 15% whole grain, nuts/and or seeds.

  2. Eat minimum of (5) serving of fruits and vegetables a day. Choose a variety of colors. Eat more vegetables than fruits.

  3. Choose 100% whole grain foods, higher in fiber breads and cereal, including barley, oats and quinoa.

  4. Water intake daily at least 60-90 ounces. Are body is approximately 50-65% water. This helps for all systems to function at optimal levels.

  5. If you are allergic to gluten, choose fresh fruits and vegetables, fresh meats, eggs, most cheese, nuts and beans in their whole form, plain yogurt, quinoa, buckwheat, flaxseed, chia, sorghum) Always need to look on back of package if anything has been pre-cut and packaged for cross-contamination.

Types of food you should eat to combat inflammation on our bodies

  • Fruits, such as apples, berries, fresh pineapple, lemons, limes

  • Vegetables, such as onions, greens (spinach, broccoli, kale), garlic

  • Spices such as cinnamon, ginger, basil, mint, parsley, rosemary

  • Nuts and seeds, such as sunflower, walnuts, Brazilian, almonds

  • Beverages, such as green tea, black tea and lots of WATER!

We can’t change our old habits overnight. Try and start to introduce at least one anti-inflammatory food into every meal.

Protein sources

  1. Choose lean protein sources, such as fish and poultry.

  2. Eat healthy fats, consuming salmon, sardines and tune at least twice a week.Limit red meat. Eat no more thank 18 ounces each week.

  3. Avoid process meats, such as sandwich meats, ham, back, hot dogs and sausage.


Avoid sugary drinks and processed food

  1. Choose water instead of soda, sweet tea, energy drinks and sports drinks.

  2. Avoid Foods high in sugar and high in fat such as desserts and chips.

  3. Avoid fast food and fried foods.

  4. Avoid foods that cause inflammation. I know we think of inflammation outside of the body, inflammation inside the body can cause strokes, heart disease, diabetes cancer, arthritis and various other diseases.

  5. Foods cooked in high temperature, high in sugar, and hydrogenated or refined oils (chips, margarine and many processed foods), more than likely you will experience inflammation.

Limit alcohol intake

  1. Limit intake to one drink per day for women.

  2. Limit intake to two drinks per day for men.

  3. A drink = 2 ounces of liquor, 6 ounces of wine, or 8 ounces of beer.


  5. CONSULT with doctor on what supplements might benefit your particular type of cancer.

Physical activity

  1. Avoid inactivity. Sit less and move more.

  2. Do whatever physical activity you enjoy most and gets you moving.

  3. Physical activity for the week should be at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity and 75 minutes of vigorous activity.

  4. If you just had surgery be sure you follow doctor’s orders. Be sure that you are at least sitting up often if confined to bed and start walking on your own as soon as you able. The quicker the better for speedy recovery.

  5. If you were inactive prior to diagnosis, start with low-intensity and increase intestate slowly.

  6. Two or three sessions per week of strength training that include major muscle groups.This not only helps with everyday activity as well as bone density

  7. If you are suffering from peripheral neuropathy you should consider alternative aerobic exercises such as stationary biking or water aerobics instead of walking or running.

  8. Physical activity improves bone health, energy level, mood, physical condition and body image.

  9. Get involved in activities that might surround you with other that have been through and are going through what you have been experiencing. Most oncology offices know or who to direct you to for help in this area.


Light Exercise

  • No noticeable change in breathing pattern

  • Biking at 5 miles per hour or less

  • Bowling

  • Slow walking

  • Yoga

  • Tai Chi


Moderate Exercise

  • Should be a little out of breath and feel your heart beating faster.

  • Biking on level ground or a few hills

  • Dancing

  • Brisk walking

  • Tennis – doubles

  • Water aerobics

  • Yoga


Vigorous Exercise

  • Should be breathing more rapidly and can only say a few words without stopping to watch your breath:

  • Biking at 10 miles per hour or greater

  • Hiking uphill

  • Jumping rope

  • Martial arts

  • Race walking

  • Running

  • Swimming laps

  • Tennis – singles

  • Yoga- high intensity

You may find some foods that repeat themselves. (This means they are VERY important to start including in each meal. If you currently have been eating processed, packaged or eating out often, it takes time to for these lifestyle changes. Just baby steps at a time. We can’t change everything overnight. WE don’t needed any added stress, so slowly add in the foods we need to be eating as well as start moving at a low intensity.

IF ARE NOT DOING ANYTHING AND WERE NOT PRIOR TO DIAGNOSIS, start on #1 for Physical Activity. Most important step of all. One day at a time, one step at a time. Just start moving.

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