You’ve got to love a superfood. These vitamin-rich foods have been shown to help with improving overall health. The ones below are superfoods that support cancer patients on chemotherapy. We’ve curated these based on proven science so you don’t have to go “data diving” yourself.
Spirulina – The Super Algae
Let’s start with spirulina. It’s a living organism known as a blue-green algae. It’s been used by indigenous people in Central Africa and Mexico for thousands of years. A dietary supplement that is considered a food in and of itself, it is easily digested and absorbed and has loads of vitamins and minerals. It’s been shown to support cancer patients in the following ways: boosting the immune system and removing environmental and drug toxins from the body.
A recent study gave a combination of superfoods that included spirulina, to metastatic cancer patients. In addition to spirulina, this combination included fermented soybean extract, green tea extract, Antrodia camphorata mycelia, grape seed extract, and curcumin extract (the study authors trademarked the name “MB6”). After several weeks of daily use, those patients taking spirulina plus the MB6 supplement had 0% progression of their cancer. In the group that did not take the spirulana + MB6, 15% of them had their cancer get progressively worse. MB6 was also better in lowering the side effects seen with chemotherapy. 2.9% of MB6 patients had side effects to chemo compared to 28.9% in the placebo group. (Chen WT, et al. Effectiveness of a novel herbal agent MB-6 as a potent adjunct to 5-flurouracil based chemotherapy in colorectal cancer. Nutr Res. 2014;34:585).
Chlorella – The Energy Booster
Like Spirulina, this is a green algae that has been used as a nutritional food for centuries. It contains plant pigments such as chlorophyll, lutein, and beta-carotene. It is also able to remove toxic chemicals from the body, such as dioxin and methyl mercury.
In a recent study, 45 breast cancer patients were assigned to receive chlorella or a standard multi-vitamin. Patients in the chlorella group found that they had improved quality of life including less fatigue from their treatments. They also reported that their skin quality improved (less dry skin) (Noguchi N, et al. The influence of chlorella and its hot water extract supplementation on quality of life in patients with breast cancer. Evid Based Compl Alt Med. 2014;2-14:704619)
Wheat Grass – The Blood Pumper
Wheatgrass is a young wheat plant (Triticumaestivum aestivum Linn., family Poaceae) with a high amount of chlorophyll (approximately 70%). Chlorophyll is like the plant’s blood. In fact, it is very similar to the human blood protein hemoglobin, the only difference being that hemoglobin contains iron and chlorophyll contains magnesium.
A common side effect of chemotherapy in breast cancer patients is low white blood cell count (otherwise known as neutropenia). This may lead to increased risk of infections from bacteria and viruses. Researchers studied the effects of wheat grass juice in breast cancer patients taking chemotherapy. They found that those that drank 2 ounces of wheat grass juice every day had higher white blood cell counts than those patients that did not. The patients taking wheat grass juice needed less “chemo breaks,” which is where the chemotherapy is stopped because the patient is suffering from side effects. (Bar-Sela G, et al. Wheat grass juice may improve hematological toxicity related to chemotherapy in breast cancer patients: a pilot study. Nutr Cancer. 2007;58:43-48).
Cancer-Fighting Smoothies with Superfoods!
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