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Dietician Anna Loeto on healthy eating habits for cancer survivors

Rachel Raditsebe

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Nutrition is the foundation of the human body and plays a key role in cancer prevention, effective management and prevention of relapse. Registered Dietician at Bamalete Lutheran Hospital, Anna Loeto discusses how cancer patients can eat themselves to better health after diagnosis, during and after treatment.

What are the key nutrients someone being treated for breast cancer for example needs?
Micronutrients daily needs increase in all types of cancers. It is important to note that healthy cells and cancer cells both compete for the nutrients an individual feeds on daily .Patients need to get essential nutrients for example, proteins, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and water. Some nutrient needs may increase significantly if the patient develops a deficiency or becomes malnourished for example, iron in anaemia; protein and energy in malnutrition. Generally a diet high in whole grains, fruit and vegetables is recommended.

Are there any foods one should avoid totally, during and after cancer treatment? (If yes name a few)
It will depend on the type of Cancer, symptoms experienced, organ affected as well as the type of treatment.  For example, a pancreatic cancer patient may need to avoid fatty, greasy fried foods. Generally foods that are not advisable to eat during and after cancer treatment, include sugar, sweetened foods and drinks, soy (soya) and all soy products because of the presence of phytoestrogen, cured meats such as sausages, smokies, bacon and ham because of presence of nitrites and sodium benzoate, which are classified as carcinogens. Commercial juices, tomato sauce, and foods that are high in glycemic index highly-processed foods and alcohol must be avoided. Also limit red meat and avoid high heat cooking methods (especially that gets food charred) for example, braai/barbecuing, smoking and grilling.

How does hormone therapy affect one’s diet, including weight gain and the psychological effects it could cause?
One of the side effects of hormonal therapy is weight gain because weight management is controlled by hormones. Working closely with a nutritionist and a fitness professional helps the individual to eat the required amounts of calories per day. Furthermore, it may cause Diarrhoea, Constipation, Nausea and Loss of appetite which will affect one’s dietary intake. One is encouraged to see a Dietitian if weight gain becomes an issue. It may cause mood changes or even depression. If this is the case, one is advised to seek counseling.How does Chemo affect one’s diet and how can a Nutritionist/ Dietitian help a survivor handle this?
Chemo can cause nutrition related side effects such as Nausea, Vomiting, loss of appetite, difficulty swallowing, taste and smell changes and others, which all affect dietary intake.
A Dietitian can help:
•prevent or reverse nutrient deficiencies
•Maintain body weight
•Minimise nutrition related side effects
•Maximise quality of life

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Sun Health

Tobacco also kills non-smokers

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This year’s world cancer day theme, ‘I Am and I Will’ is an empowering call to action, it is call to individuals to make a personal commitment to help reduce the impact of cancer.

We at the Anti -tobacco Network have heeded the call. We hereby call upon all citizens of this country to stand up against the monstrous impact of tobacco use in our society. We all know that tobacco kills. I want to tell everyone that tobacco kills non-smokers as well. Let us be clear about it. Second-hand smoke also kills. It is well documented through solid science that exposure to second-hand smoke causes cancer and contributes to various lung and heart diseases.

The World Health Organization estimates that approximately 700 million, or almost half, of the world’s children are exposed to second-hand smoke. In spite of what science tells us, however, in many places it is considered so acceptable to smoke, and so rude and unaccommodating to protest, that we dare not speak out against second-hand smoke. The time has come for us to speak out. We have a right to breathe clean air.

We have a right to good health and to protect our friends and family. We need to clear the air of second-hand smoke. Today, on this very important day, we are calling for a ban on smoking in public places. A ban that offers a comprehensive solution to keeping the air clean and safe for all people, both smokers and non-smokers. A ban that puts emphasis on people’s right to health and helps to make smoking the exception rather than the norm.

Whoever you are – a cancer survivor, co-worker, carer, friend, business leader, healthcare worker, teacher or student – ‘I A m and I Will’ represents the power of individual action taken now to impact the future. The power of lending your voice to this very important call. Your participation in this Call to Action is crucial to the cause. However you choose to take action, know that your efforts will be making a difference in the lives of many.

Dr Bontle Mbongwe is the Executive Director of the Anti-Tobacco Network (ATN), as well Head of Environmental Health Programme, University of Botswana.

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Sun Health

YOGA AN EFFECTIVE TOOL TO FIGHT NCDS

Rachel Raditsebe

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The ancient Indian practice of Yoga can definitely help in the prevention and management of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which account for at least 70 percent of deaths worldwide.
This is the firm belief of Swami Purnachaitanya- Director of Programmes and Senior International Trainer with the Art of Living Foundation.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics indicate that NCDs mainly cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases are the main causes of death with more than 36 million dying annually. And the trends in NCDs morbidity and mortality in Botswana are no different from the global picture.The high burden of NCDs is attributed to a change in population lifestyles, which include physical inactivity because of the changing nature of work, alcohol, smoking and substance abuse particularly among the youth and pollution.

While the problem of NCDs is a not an easy one because it is caused by so many factors including lifestyle choices, Purnachaitanya said exploring Yoga, as one of the possible solutions is worth it as it has the ability to bring together the body, soul and mind for a holistic approach to health and well-being, including physical, mental and spiritual realms of the human being.

Almost 80 percent of most health problems are entirely created by stress, according to Purnachaitanya. That is why a holistic intervention like Yoga can contribute to building resilience against NCDs. “It allows for ‘real’ rest, deep restoration which brings us to balance and allow our bodies into a healing place. Yoga can definitely influence our entire lives and help us make shifts to live in a way that is better for us and cope with the challenges of life with more harmony and vitality,” he said interview recently during a visit to Botswana.

“Yoga is not just a set of exercises. It is a philosophy of discipline and meditation that transforms the spirit and makes the individual a better person in thought, action, knowledge and devotion,” he said. Yoga, he added, is the most ancient practice that also increases the mental health and boosts immunity.

When we are stressed, Purnachaitanya explains, our minds get agitated and we produce certain hormones in the body, which lower our immune system, affect our digestion, blood pressure and many other organs in the body.

Highlighted in World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030, is that the routine practice of Yoga is a valuable tool for people of all ages to make physical activity an integral part of life and reach the level needed to promote good health.

It claims that regular practice of Yoga and meditation fights the free radicals, regulates the blood glucose metabolism and prevents any heart disease. “So just by regular practice of some breathing techniques, Yoga meditation, people the world over have had huge improvements”, shares Purnachaitanya.

The travelling teacher,who has dedicated his life to teaching Yoga around the world and serving humanity says, the practice of Yoga can also help fight stigma, especially the self-inflicted one. “It helps one to accept where they are in life and how they give meaning to life”.

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