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Breast Cancer Nutrition and Exercise

    • Your body will undergo many changes and stresses during your treatment and recovery period. Leading a healthy lifestyle and knowing what to expect will help make your journey easier.

    • Wellness and exercise

    • There’s a lot we don’t know about breast cancer, but mounting evidence suggests that exercise may reduce the risk of cancer reoccurring and make a real difference in survival.

      Exercise can be a special tool at your disposal to empower you. Exercise enhances well being and makes you feel good. It is a tonic for the mind and body and can help you avoid or reverse weight gain. Even moderate amounts of regular exercise – a half-hour walk every day or a few laps in the pool – can make a difference to your physical and emotional health.

    • Exercise tips

      • Exercise for at least two, but preferably four, hours a week. You can start with 20 minutes of walking, biking, swimming or using a treadmill. These are continuous movement aerobic exercises that improve mood, reduce hot flashes, prevent constipation, improve cardiovascular fitness and promote sleep.

      • Carry a water bottle when exercising and drink plenty of water. Wear comfortable shoes, and be aware of posture and breathing. Start slowly and gradually build up your duration and intensity.

      • Consult with your doctor before starting vigorous

      • exercise regimens if you are undergoing chemotherapy, have just had breast surgery, or have swelling of the surgery side.

    • Nutrition

    • Good nutrition is a vital part of cancer treatment. Healthy eating can improve your strength and energy levels, increase tolerance of side effects, help to maintain a healthy weight, decrease risk of infection, and promote healing. Eating the right foods before, during and after treatment is important for recovery. Be aware that your treatment plan may affect your appetite.

      Basic dietary guidelines

      • Eat less fat: A low-fat diet is a safe, proactive step you can take to improve your health. Avoid saturated fats, polyunsaturated and hydrogenated oils, and transfats. Choose monounsaturated fats, like olive oil and canola oil. Decrease your intake of meat, and emphasize lean poultry and wild salmon, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Dairy products should be non-fat with no hormones added.

      • Control caloric intake: Fat-free does not mean calorie free. Decrease your intake of refined carbohydrates, such as candy, cakes, juices and sodas. Your scale is the best indicator of whether you are eating too many or too few calories.

      • Eat fiber rich foods: Eat 25-35 grams a day of fiber from whole grains, oats, wheat, barley, rye, beans and/or legumes. Look for cereal that contains more than five grams per serving of fiber. Increase your fiber intake slowly to prevent bloating.

      • Eat fruit and vegetables: Strive to eat a wide variety of five fruits and five vegetables per day, especially broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower. These foods are rich in antioxidants and phytochemicals, which may help strengthen your immune system.

      • Eat adequate protein during treatment: Protein is the building block of your cells and vital for the repair of healthy tissue damaged during treatment. Excellent protein sources include non-fat and hormone-free dairy products, skinless poultry and fish. Balance is the key. While soy foods are high in protein, it is recommended that women with breast cancer limit their intake to about one serving a day. If you use protein powder, choose a non-soy source such as whey protein.

    • Water

    • Drinking enough water is essential to health. Eight to ten glasses of water a day is recommended for keeping the body well-hydrated and for preventing constipation. You must drink more water to replace the water you lose if you exercise, sweat, have hot flashes, night sweats, a fever, diarrhea or vomiting. Check your urine color. If you are drinking enough water, it should be a pale yellow and not a concentrated dark yellow.

      Good fluids to keep you hydrated include water, herbal tea, non-fat milk and diluted fruit juices. Coffee, black tea, chocolate, high fat foods and caffeinated soda can cause you to become dehydrated. Drink alcohol in very limited amounts, if at all. Moderate drinking is one to two alcoholic drinks per week.