Shortly after my surgery for breast cancer 6 years ago, I noticed I had numbness in a large part of my shoulders and back area. It was then that I learned that one of the possible lingering side effects of any cancer treatment is Neuropathy.
Categorized as a change in sensation (numbness, tingling or pain) in the affected or adjacent area of the body, neuropathy can strike at any time after cessation of treatment, in some cases taking years to manifest. Although the feet and hands are common areas for neuropathy to strike, as in my case, it can also appear in other parts of the body, such as the shoulder or other areas that may have suffered nerve damage.
Cancer treatment side effects brought on by chemotherapy and radiation can cause vomiting and may result in a vitamin deficiency, a major cause of peripheral neuropathy. Other factors found in our environment, like lead poisoning or pesticides in our food can also put people with cancer at a greater risk for developing neuropathy. This is why proper nutrition plays such a vital role in alleviating conditions associated with this condition.
First Line of Defense
Nutrition should be the first line of defense when it comes to maintaining a strong, healthy immune system. When our immune systems are strong, it gives us the ability to fight off diseases and their side effects on a cellular level. Eating a diet rich in B vitamins (particularly B1 and B12), folic acid (found in dark, leafy green vegetables), and antioxidants (found in all fruits and vegetables) has been shown to help manage the symptoms associated with peripheral neuropathy.
The primary function of B12 is to form red blood cells, but it’s one of the major influences in the maintenance of our nervous system. Additionally, B12 helps formmyelin, which is a fatty cover that insulates our nerves.
Foods rich in vitamin B12 include:
Foods rich in vitamins B1 include:
Yellowfin Tuna – This kind of fish has some of the highest levels of vitamin B1 of any kind of food. According to nutritional charts, less than 200 calories worth of this food can provide more than 35% of the daily requirement for vitamin B1.
Beans – Black beans, pinto beans and navy beans, as well as split peas, all have high levels of vitamin B1.
Brussels sprouts – One cup of boiled Brussels sprouts can provide more than 11% of the daily recommended value for this vitamin.
Nuts – Nuts can be a healthy source of vitamin B1.
Eating a well-balanced diet can help us maintain optimum health, even when neuropathy occurs. Consuming whole, natural foods rather than those processed with chemicals, sweeteners, and excessive amounts of salt can be instrumental in aiding in the support of our immune system. For supplementation, studies have found that taking L-glutamine, Acety-L-Carnitine, Alpha lipoic acid, vitamin D and cayenne pepper.
About The Top Ten Superfoods for Preventing Breast Cancer:
The war on cancer has raged on for more than forty years. Yet the incidence of breast cancer continues to rise with an average of 180,000 new cases reported each year. In 2011, cancer surpassed heart disease as the number one killer of Americans. All of this leads one to the natural conclusion that we are not winning this war. While the medical community’s focus continues to be on treatment with the latest drug, nature has provided us with a natural way to help prevent this deadly disease. In her new book, breast cancer survivor and nutrition consultant, Patricia Dean-Escoto reveals the top ten Super Foods for preventing breast cancer. Written in clear, easy-to-understand language, citing numerous scientific research studies, The Top Ten Super Foods for Preventing Breast Cancer explains:
Estrogen’s role in the development of breast cancer
Environmental contributors to breast cancer
The role nutrition plays in the prevention of breast cancer
How inflammation contributes to breast cancer
The research-backed top ten foods for preventing breast cancer
Her H.E.A.L.T.H.Y.™ eating food model for cancer prevention
About Patricia Dean-Escoto:
Patricia Dean-Escoto is a certified nutrition consultant and breast cancer survivor. Born in Montclair, New Jersey, she earned her master’s degree in Education from Capella University. She has more than 20 years of experience working in both the field of education and healthcare. In 2006, after being diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer, Patricia returned to school to study nutrition. She is a graduate of Bauman College, where she earned her certification as a Nutrition Consultant. Recently, she hosted a year-long radio show called Pathways to Healing on the Voice America network where she interviewed experts in the field of health and wellness. She is a Raw Foods chef and author of ‘The Top Ten Superfoods for Preventing Breast Cancer’. Patricia is also a Certified Cancer Physical Trainer. Her company, Pathways2healing, works exclusively with cancer patients in the area of nutrition and exercise. She lectures both locally and nationally on the topic of nutrition and cancer prevention. She and her husband currently reside in Delaware.