Ask the Dietitian

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Should I become vegetarian?

One of the more healthful diets is a plant-based diet. A vegetarian diet is plant-based and in some cases may include milk products and eggs. It may also exclude all foods from animal sources, as in a vegan diet.

Well-planned vegetarian diets offer a number of health benefits hat are likely a result of being rich in plant foods, rather than excluding foods from animal sources.

Overall, focusing on eating more plant foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and lentils may be the best of both worlds – even for those who regularly include meat, dairy and eggs in their diet. Include fruit at breakfast or add some beans to your soup or salad, or try a meatless Monday for a change of pace and a step toward a healthier eating pattern.

When it comes to your health, your overall diet counts more than any one food or nutrient.

Cheri Van Patten, MSc, RD

Do I need to avoid alcohol after a cancer diagnosis?

There is growing evidence linking alcohol intake to a higher risk of developing various cancers. The influence of alcohol intake on cancersurvival is still not fully known.
Eating your fruits and vegetables whole gives you all the fibre plus the natural sugars, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. If you prefer a liquid meal, you can blend fruits or vegetables to make a smoothie while still benefitting from the fibre.

If you do not normally consume alcohol, don’t start now. If you choose to consume alcoholic beverages, the current guidelines recommend that men limit their intake to no more than two drinks per day and women limit intake to no more than one drink per day. One alcoholic beverage is equal to 5 ounces (150mL) of wine, 12 ounces (355mL) of beer or 1.5 to 2 ounces (44–60mL) of distilled spirits.

Consumption of alcohol during active cancer treatment may worsen treatment side effects in some individuals. You should speak with your healthcare team about alcohol intake if you are currently receiving treatment for your cancer.

Angela Martens, RD

Reference
American Institute for Cancer Research. Food, nutrition, physical activity and the prevention of cancer: a global perspective, 2007. Content is continuously being updated (CUP project). Website: www.aicr.org

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