• Is there a diet that strengthens one's immune system?

    Asked by Onoi11 on Saturday, December 1, 2012

    Is there a diet that strengthens one's immune system?

    Specifically, since the immune system aids in fighting cancer cells, which foods provide optimum benefits?

    14 Answers from the Community

    14 answers
    • Peroll's Avatar
      Peroll

      Onoi, yes ther are diets that can strengthen the immune system but you need to be careful with these and talk to your Doctor before changing your diet or taking any (even over the counter) supplements, vitamins or meds. Part of chemotherapy is specifically designed to weaken your immune system so that the other drugs can kill the cancer weithout having to first fight the immune system. When I first started chemo (more that 8 years ago) I asked my Oncologist about supplements and diet and his response was that "cancer cells like to get healthy too". When I have been off chemo he has recommended some things but I alway check with him first. Good luck!!!!

      almost 5 years ago
    • nobrand's Avatar
      nobrand

      I haven't found any fix-all diet for anything. I'd just recommend staying hydrated and enjoying a balance of wholesome foods.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Harry's Avatar
      Harry

      Your immune system isn't going to beat this no matter how strong it is. Chemo, and maybe surgery, are the only things that will work. And, yes, the others are correct that anything you take to make your immune system stronger could backfire. Before taking anything, talk to your doctor.

      almost 5 years ago
    • nancyjac's Avatar
      nancyjac

      Actually, your immune system will attack the drugs that kill cancer cells. If you are in active treatment for cancer, now is definitely not the time to try to ramp up your immune system.

      But to answer your question, the diet that strengthens you immune system is the same one that is recommended for diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and just about everything else, include those that are completely heathy. It is a balance diet with recommended daily percentages of macro nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) and low in processed foods, saturated fats, salt, and sugar. It's not going to cure cancer, but it just might keep something else from killing you in the mean time.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Onoi11's Avatar
      Onoi11

      Thank you all for your helpful responses to my question about a beneficial diet for cancer. I found your answers enlightening in the fact that during chemotherapy it would be wise not to boost the immune system. My surgeon advised a good diet and lots of exercise in preparation for surgery. This regimen would begin after chemo stops. Sunlight, a source of vitamin D, is also beneficial in 15-min. exposures. Again, thanks to all who responded.

      almost 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      Yes.

      Eating mostly raw or low heat and slowly & lightly cooked food will certainly be of benefit. The nutrition is more dense and, pound for pound, better used by your body. Personally, I am a raw foodist. I've been doing this long term (I have other challenges even though the cancer is in my past). If you wish to get involved with such meals, you need to clue your doctor in to what you are doing as well as get some actual instruction in order to understand how different this type of eating is than what you are used to eating.

      Ignoring supplements and pills, there are specific foods, natural fruit and greens and herbs and spices which specifically target cancer and fight tumor growth. They do not work alone but in combination with your whole food intake.

      I can't see a doctor objecting to you eating kiwi and dandelion, for example, but their real power comes into play when they are combined with other foods and herbs and eaten proportionately.
      A wild type of cumin called, in Latin, nigella sativa, has been studied and proven to strengthen the immune system and shrink tumors. Sloan Kettering has come out against it, for fear its strength will negate the action of chemotherapy. When you ask about Russian rye breads topped with "chernuska" (the very same seed), these same doctors have no objection.

      Eating food properly is like conducting an orchestra. All of the instruments (foods) need to be used and heard in proper proportion and combination and moderation or the music simply sux when what you really want is the richness of musical piece which uses all of the parts.

      When you eat a lot of whole fruit and greens you can hardly help from staying hydrated as these foods are quite juicy. If you own a juicer, it is time to use it. Try 3 ribs of celery combined with a cucumber. If you are on radiation or chemotherapy, you can keep this down. Add a bit of ginger or lemon or mint or a carrot if it is too bland.

      Take a look at:

      http://www.blujay.com/geekling

      http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/359670140790634/

      or

      http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Kathys-Raw-Deal-Journey/220318181426978

      to begin to learn how to do this if you have interest.

      My cousins are putting on a show in Palm Desert called "Canadafest" and they invited me to go and hawk my book but, alas, to date, the book is a CD only.

      Best wishes for recovered good health.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Onoi11's Avatar
      Onoi11

      Dear geekling. Your advice about using raw produce is fascinating. Do you juice most of these raw foods? When my immune system is down bro,lowing a session of chemo, I was advised to stay away from raw foods due the increased bacterial load on them. So I have resorted to making soups with plenty of veggies and a shot or two of fresh ginger and lemon tossed in.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Doberwomyn's Avatar
      Doberwomyn

      There seems to be differing views on supplements but getting nutrients from food a--especially alkaline like green vegetables is likely a place of agreement

      almost 5 years ago
    • Onoi11's Avatar
      Onoi11

      Picking up from Doberwomyn's post about getting alkaline foods, I think there may be some good information there. I have a neighbor who owns a medical facility and he advises filling a glass bottle full of water each morning and placing 1/2 to one whole lemon in it....then drinking this water throughout the day for alkaline balance.

      almost 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      Thanx for calling my words fascinating. :D

      I am a long term raw foodie. I do not juice most of my food. When you are unwell you juice because the juicing removes the fiber enabling the body to immediately use the nutrients without having to work hard at digesting the fiber. An energy rush a thousand times better than a sugary drink and with no crash, assuming you continue to eat throughout the day.

      If I juice, I use the fiber later to make dried crackers or some sort of pate or wrap or spread. I am actually surprised your doctor said what he did. Does he actually want you to not eat salad or fruit or watercress? Watercress is awesome against cancer. Cans and bottles have been
      past-your-eyes or high heated to make the food commercially sterile. If sterile food is to be your diet, you might just as well eat fresh and clean cardboard to feel full for all the nutrition you don't get.

      It is true that the markets spread whatever crapola is on the produce when they use those little water jets to try to keep the already old (from shipping) produce looking fresh. I have a method of heating the food to kill bacteria and soften veggies slightly without cooking them. I would not buy alfalfa sprouts at a market but I would grow them and feel safe.

      I think your resort of soup is quite good. There is, however, no rule that says you must boil your food to mush, is there? If you use a clean knife to peel ginger, the inside won't have the scary bacteria, will it? Same difference with lemon. If your lemon isn't organic, you ought to stay away from the skin because they put coal tar dyes on the rind to make it uniformly yellow.

      Ask your doc what he thinks about soaking the celery ribs & the cuke in vinegar (acid to kill bacteria) before you rinse and juice them. I would not ever advise you to go against your doctor's wishes but you need to be sure he is being sensible. I'm sure you know to keep your cutting board swabbed down and your utensils and hands spic and span (lol, I'd rather use baking soda to clean) as you move to feed yourself.

      Take good care of yourself and get well soon. The world needs more people who think I am fascinating. :-D

      Hugz.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Onoi11's Avatar
      Onoi11

      Thank you, Geekling, for your informative post. I will have to include watercress in my menu.
      Fortunately, our lemons are organic, come from our own tree. For some reason, I started craving lemon peel, so will eat eat it with a touch of lemon pulp attached. I think that pancreatic cancer and treatment may create different digestive consequences than other cancers...I don't know with certainty. However, the pancreas sits close to the stomach.
      BTW, I know of a younger man with pancreatic cancer whose diet is only fresh juices. He has had cancer for one year and still manages to work.

      almost 5 years ago
    • geekling's Avatar
      geekling

      There is always a reason for cravings. Your body is screaming at you that it needs something. Lemon peels are rich in vitamins A and C and contain calcium, potassium, folate and antioxidants and plant oils (important) aplenty along with their fiber.

      http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1941/2

      BTW, the pith has something called quercitin which is also good for you but if you don't want it or much of it, don't eat it or eat much of it. You might also look into snacking on a whole and colorful (not green) Bell pepper. It does not have the oils but it does have similar vitamins aplenty. Of course, free food from the back yard, is the most attractive. :-]

      I am happy for your young friend. Managing to work is not the goal but a side benefit. Maintaining is but the beginning. The goal is to be well. Ask him, please, if he has looked into Chaga mushroom extract. As I mentioned, you you are unwell, saving your body the task of digestion is relieving it of a huge workload.

      Best wishes for recovered good health.

      almost 5 years ago
    • reddingfemale's Avatar
      reddingfemale

      HI , I don't know what Optimum is but, when i was on treatments my ex mother in law bless her heart took care of me , she fed me fresh veggies and lots of meat and fruit for my diet and little by little with rest and what exercise I can do , I would walk about the house and then out the door to the end of the walk way then eventually down to the mail box where I eventually went home and got better . just make sure your diet is consistant and eat what you can handle and how much then take it from there. you will get better as time goes on . I hope I was some help.

      almost 5 years ago
    • Janet2021's Avatar
      Janet2021

      I have been seeing a clinical herbalist since my completion of chemo 2 1/2 years ago. She not only encourages the use of various supplements she stresses the important of a healthy mostly plant based organic diet. Many foods are good for digestion such as dandelion greens, fennel and others have amazing anti-inflammatory properties as well as anti-cancer. I have adhered to this diet for the last 2 1/2 years and it was just 3 since my pc diagnosis and feel this has helped me to remain strong-in fact, I have not been sick since my operation other than the normal digestive issues from surgery. I am a nurse working in healthcare and find that many large cancer centers are getting on the band wagon with natural supplements and diets. If I could encourage anyone to please read, read, read, and weed out those who are "snake oil" salesman and listen to others who have success with this. I am available to share what I follow if anyone wishes. It's important to also incorporate other treatment modalities such as acupuncture, massage, aromatherapy etc...

      over 3 years ago

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