A Vegan diet excludes animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, and honey. People often follow a Vegan diet for ethical or philosophical reasons. These can be to protect animals and the environment.
A Vegan diet is thought to increase the foods that protect against cancer. And to exclude those that increase the risk of cancer.
Researchers found that a Vegan diet could reduce the overall risk of cancer, but not of specific cancers. They did a systematic review of observational studies on vegetarian and Vegan diets in 2017.
Although a Vegan diet contains grains, plant oils, nuts, seeds, legumes, fruit and vegetables, you might still lack certain nutrients. You may lack:
- vitamin B12
- vitamin D
Certainly! Here are some types of vegan products that are often recommended for individuals with cancer:
Plant-based Proteins: Consuming an adequate amount of protein is important for cancer patients, as it aids in tissue repair and supports the immune system. Vegan protein sources include legumes (such as lentils, chickpeas, and beans), tofu, tempeh, seitan, quinoa, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and edamame.
Fruits and Vegetables: A wide variety of fruits and vegetables should be included in a cancer-fighting diet due to their high content of antioxidants, phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals. Some particularly beneficial options include cruciferous vegetables (such as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale), berries (such as blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries), leafy greens (such as spinach and kale), tomatoes, carrots, citrus fruits, and sweet potatoes.
Whole Grains: Whole grains provide complex carbohydrates, fiber, and various nutrients. They can help maintain energy levels and promote healthy digestion. Examples of vegan whole grains include quinoa, brown rice, oats, barley, millet, buckwheat, and whole wheat.
Nuts and Seeds: Nuts and seeds are rich in healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They can be beneficial for cancer patients due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Some good options include almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds.
Healthy Fats: Including healthy fats in a vegan diet is important for cancer patients, as they provide concentrated energy and aid in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins. Good sources of healthy fats for vegans include avocados, olives, coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
Fermented Foods: Fermented foods contain beneficial bacteria that promote a healthy gut microbiome. This can be particularly important for cancer patients, as the gut plays a crucial role in immune function. Examples of vegan fermented foods include sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso, and kombucha.
It’s important to note that while these vegan products can be beneficial for individuals with cancer, it’s always recommended to consult with a registered dietitian or healthcare professional for personalized dietary advice based on your specific needs and treatment plan.