Women With Breast Cancer May Have Better Health With A Plant-Based Diet

Although dietary studies usually do not include these patients, Thomas M. Campbell, the research lead author and an expert on the use of plant-based diets to improve health, says that with the growing number of these patients surviving, there was an opportunity to make a short- and long-term impact.

Thirty patients who could stomach food and were receiving stable treatment were included in the trial.

At random, the individuals were split into two groups by the researchers: For eight weeks, the research team’s meals were consumed by the intervention group, while the other group was given standard care. The only foods allowed were fruits, vegetables, entire grains (including pasta made from whole grains), potatoes, legumes (beans), nuts, and seeds. All oils and additional solid fats, as well as meals derived from animals (meat, eggs, and dairy), were to be avoided by the participants. They consumed a regular multivitamin as well.

There were weekly assessments, and 95% of participants in the research completed them.

The fact that these significant dietary adjustments were doable, well-tolerated, and approved by clinical trial participants, according to Campbell, is encouraging.

There were no calorie limits in the trial, and participants were encouraged to consume anything that was “on plan” as much as they pleased.

Results For Patients With Breast Cancer

The women’s baseline BMI was 29.7, which is on the verge of obesity. Without being required to exercise, the patients in the whole-foods plant-based group dropped one to two pounds every week for eight weeks.

This is important since it’s dangerous for people with breast cancer to gain weight while receiving therapy. Why? Excess body weight raises blood levels of insulin and the hormones testosterone and estrogen, which can promote cancer.

Another positive study finding was that there was less inflammation and less IGF-1, a growth factor linked to a number of common malignancies, in the blood samples.

“Although we cannot say anything yet about whether the diet can stop cancer progression from this small study, we saw preliminary results that suggest favorable changes within the body, which is very positive,”  adds Campbell.

The team is working with Isaac Harris of the Wilmot Cancer Institute at URMC on a bench-to-clinic study that was recently sponsored by the American Cancer Society in order to gain a better understanding of the consequences for cancer growth.

Researchers have discovered that cancer cells require amino acids for survival, and that patients who adopted a plant-based diet had alterations in their blood amino acid levels. Harris is researching the impact of different cancer medications and the makeup of amino acids on the survival of cancer cells.

The primary study is published in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment and is thought to be the first of its sort. Two other articles were published from the dietary intervention in the same publication as the first, and a third research was published in Frontiers in Nutrition, as a result of the breast cancer trial’s noteworthy outcomes.

Manageing The Change To A Healtier Diet

Before making any dietary changes, patients should speak with their oncologists or other healthcare experts, advises Campbell. Those who use insulin or blood thinners should pay particular attention to this.

Peanut soba noodles, steel cut oatmeal, banana flax muffins, sweet potato enchiladas, and Mediterranean white bean soup were among the foods served in the breast cancer research study.

According to Campbell, a person’s drive to eat healthier is influenced by a number of factors, such as cooking proficiency, taste preferences, and family support.

A plant-based cuisine might be a fantastic option whether someone wishes to make significant changes over night or only chooses to replace a meal once in a while.

“You only need 5-10 plant-based recipes that are easy, tasty, and convenient enough that you will make them regularly to have a substantial overhaul in your diet,” he states.

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