By Brittany Cordeiro
As a cancer caregiver, you face unique challenges. The loved one you're nurturing often requires your time, energy and attention, making it hard to focus on your health and wellness.
But an unhealthy caregiver could do more harm than good. Your loved one needs you to stay in fighting shape, so you can provide the care he or she needs. Plus, maintaining a healthy diet and weight helps lower your cancer risks.
Not sure where to start?
"Research shows that making small changes can lead to bigger diet changes over time and better health," says Mary Ellen Herndon, a wellness dietitian at MD Anderson.
Try these smart food tips to maintain good health.
Dine out less
"Restaurant foods are usually loaded with extra fat, salt and calories," Herndon says. "Eating out or getting takeout even just a few times a week can cause weight gain over time."
Recently in Nutrition Category
By Brittany Cordeiro
By Katie Bispeck
By Brittany Cordeiro
When caring for a loved one, your health and wellness may often take a backseat. All your time and energy is devoted to nurturing your friend or family member. You grab fast food at the hospital or skip meals entirely to stay by his or her side.
But as a caregiver, it's essential you stay healthy so you can better care for your loved one. In addition, you'll be in better shape to fight off diseases like cancer.
"Research shows that making small changes can lead to bigger diet changes over time and better health," says Mary Ellen Herndon, a wellness dietician at MD Anderson.
Try these tips to maintain good health with a balanced diet.
One in two men will be diagnosed with cancer during their lifetime. And, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in American men, just behind lung cancer.
So, what can men do to protect themselves from cancer? We recently spoke with John Papadopoulos, M.D., assistant professor of Urology. He works at the MD Anderson Regional Care Center in Katy.
Here's what Dr. Papadopoulos had to say.
What are some easy tips for men to help men prevent cancer?
There are a lot of things men can do to protect themselves from cancer:
- Avoid tobacco - even celebratory cigars - and limit alcohol to no more than two drinks per day.
- Maintain a healthy weight and stay physically active each day.
- Maintain a healthy diet. Make fruits and vegetables the biggest part of every meal and go easy on the meat. Limit the amount of red meat you eat to 18 oz. week and avoid processed meats like hot dogs and pepperoni.
- Wear sunscreen and practice sun safety.
- See a doctor regularly and get the screening exams you need. Many men avoid seeing a doctor because they're afraid, but if you do have a chronic disease like cancer, diabetes or heart disease, the earlier we catch it, the easier it will be to treat.
Keep in mind that doing these things doesn't guarantee you won't get cancer. But living a healthy lifestyle can put you in fighting shape if you do develop cancer.
What cancer screening exams do men need? And, when should most men start screening?
Most men need both a prostate exam (digital rectal exam and PSA test) and a colonoscopy starting at age 50. This is the appropriate age for screening if you don't have a family history (father, son, brother) of prostate or colon cancer and you're not African American, which can make you more likely to develop these cancers.
By Amber Presely, MD Anderson Staff Writer
While you spend time with friends and family and celebrate our veterans this Memorial Day weekend, don't take a vacation from making healthy choices. A healthy lifestyle can help reduce your chances of developing cancer, so make the holiday a healthy one.
Use these tips to stay healthy and help prevent cancer.
1. Fit in activity
Taking a family road trip for the long holiday weekend? Try to schedule time in your trip to stop for a bike ride or brisk walk. Or get the family moving by kicking around a soccer ball or throwing a Frisbee for a few minutes.
Sitting less and adding more activity to your day can help lower your risks for many cancers. Get more tips to make your road trip healthy.
By Joey Tran, MD Anderson Staff Writer
Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases, according to the American Cancer Society. Making healthy food choices may also help you maintain a healthy weight and keep your body in fighting shape if you do have cancer.
However, making healthy choices can be challenging when you're dining out. That's especially true if you're eating here at MD Anderson, when you already have many other things on your mind.
To make the best out of your healthy dining experience at MD Anderson, Ashley Smith, health and wellness manager of the department of Dining Services, has provided the following smart-eating strategies.
By Amber Presley
If you're focused on eating a balanced diet, don't forget your whole grains!
A diet rich in whole grains may help curb your risk of colon cancer - the third most common cancer among Americans.
In addition to helping prevent cancer, fiber from whole grains can help you stay full longer and maintain a healthy weight.
"Studies show that most Americans aren't eating enough whole grains," says Mary Ellen Herndon, a wellness dietitian at MD Anderson and the Healthy Bites challenge coach. "This means they're potentially missing out on vital nutrients."
So, how can you make sure you're getting enough whole grains in your diet? Use these resources from our Healthy Bites challenge to find out.
By Amber Presley
Most people kicked off the New Year with plans for a healthier 2013. But many of us have already fallen off track.
Luckily, it's never too late to refocus. MD Anderson's Healthy Bites challenge is perfect for anyone who wants to take small steps to better health.
"Each month, Healthy Bites focuses on one diet change that can potentially reduce your risk for cancer," says Mary Ellen Herndon, a wellness dietitian at MD Anderson and the Healthy Bites challenge coach. "Last month, we focused on eating breakfast every day. In February, we're asking you to eat a healthy meal or snack every five to six hours."
Below, Herndon shares answers to questions she's received from Healthy Bites participants.
Want to jumpstart your healthy new year? MD Anderson's Healthy Bites challenge may be perfect for you.
"Healthy Bites helps adults take small steps toward adopting a healthier diet," says Mary Ellen Herndon, a wellness dietitian at MD Anderson and the Healthy Bites challenge coach. "Each month, we encourage participants to focus on one diet change that can potentially reduce their risk for cancer."
Want to learn more? Below, Herndon answers frequently-asked questions about nutrition, dieting and Healthy Bites.
What's the best diet for preventing cancer?
Truthfully, I don't recommend a specific diet. Instead, I tell people to focus on a lifestyle and mindset change.
Want to stay cancer-free? Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, along with regular exercise, can help.
This year, our experts offered advice for staying healthy.
By Alicia Beltran
The holidays are upon us, and that means plenty of delicious temptations just begging to add calories to your diet. But you can keep yourself healthy and avoid post-holiday guilt by using these tips this holiday season.
Focus on portion size
Portion control can make a big difference in avoiding weight gain during the holidays and year-round. No matter what you're eating, be sure to eat small portions. This way, you get to taste everything without too much guilt. Try these tips:
- Choose turkey over ham. And, instead of eating three slices of turkey, have just one.
- Pause between bites, and stop when you are satisfied. Don't overeat. Instead, savor small amounts of each dish.
- If you know you have a dinner party that night, choose a healthy light breakfast like oatmeal or toast and a light lunch like a salad and half a sandwich.
- In between meals, eat healthy snacks such as fruit or sliced vegetables.
- Having a brunch celebration? Eat a light dinner, such as a salad.
By Sara Farris
When Devon Davis was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2011, his focus was to beat his cancer. What the 13-year-old didn't expect were the side effects he would experience as a result of treatment, including weight gain.
Davis is among many young cancer patients and survivors who experience changes in appetite and eating habits as a result of therapies they receive. Studies have shown that more than one-third of childhood cancer survivors are overweight or obese.
"When we recognized this trend in our survivors, we realized we had to do something to intervene while they were still active patients," says Joya Chandra, Ph.D., associate professor at MD Anderson Children's Cancer Hospital and director of its ON (Optimizing Nutrition) to Life Program. "Now we are studying a variety of interventions, from nutritional counseling to educational video games, to see what methods will help our patients best."
More than 300 healthy recipes
One idea that came out of the ON to Life Program was the need for a cookbook of healthy recipes that families could easily make. Last week, the @TheTable Cookbook was launched with more than 300 nutritious recipes for cancer patients and healthy families.
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- 3 nutrition tips for cancer caregivers
- Obesity and cancer prevention: What you should know
- 5 health tips for cancer caregivers
- Cancer in men: What you should know
- 4 ways to celebrate a healthy Memorial Day
- Healthy dining options at MD Anderson
- Find your holy grail of whole grains
- Your diet: When small steps equal big change
- Q&A: How to improve your diet and take Healthy Bites in 2013
- Best of Cancerwise 2012: Food for thought
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