The importance of healthy eating
Scientists now know that many factors lead to the development of cancer. Some of these are inherited and some are related to our lifestyles.
Even the inherited factors can be influenced by things like stress and nutrition as these change our body chemistry, which directly affects
cancer cell growth and development.
This explains the strong evidence linking lifestyle (for example, the food we eat, our physical activity, our stress levels, and our thoughts, beliefs and emotions) with cancer risk and also with the health of someone living with cancer.
Disease recurrence and progression, symptoms and treatment side effects, plus the risk of related illnesses and overall quality of life are all affected by how we live our lives, and nutrition plays a large role in this.
The Bristol Whole Life Approach to Healthy Eating
Our approach to healthy eating helps to support people with the physical impact of cancer but also the psychological, emotional and spiritual impacts.
What to eat
To obtain a full range of essential and beneficial nutrients, eat a wide variety of natural whole foods. Choose foods in a rainbow of different colours.
Our bodies naturally need a wide range of foods and a good balance of healthy fats, proteins and carbohydrates as well as a wide range of vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients.
Foods in their natural state have a number of beneficial nutrients which may be lost when they are processed or refined. Some processing, such as cooking, can be helpful, as it makes some food easier to digest. Cooked foods form part of a balanced diet alongside raw foods.
How to eat
Mindful eating helps us to digest and absorb what we eat and makes eating more enjoyable. Take time to sit, eat and savour food.
One of the powerful ways food is able to support health is by creating a sense of pleasure. For this reason the healthiest diet is one that is stress-free as well as nutrient-rich.
Our Healthy Eating Guidelines are informed by current evidence relating to nutrition and cancer. This includes the landmark 2007 World Cancer Research Fund report: ‘Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and the Prevention of Cancer: a global perspective’, and subsequent reports (2007 to 2015) published as part of the World Cancer Research Fund’s Continuous Update Project.
In addition to research evidence, the guidelines are based on the experience of staff at Penny Brohn UK, who have been using nutrition to support those with cancer for over thirty years.
You can download a pdf version of the guidelines here: Penny Brohn UK Healthy Eating Guidelines