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Nov 11, 2009 04:51 PM

Cancer-friendly recipes: garlic, lycopene, Resveratrol


My father was just diagnosed with cancer. He needs to put on some weight and the doctors suggested a diet high in garlic, lycopene, Resveratrol. So they're having pasta with tomato sauce and chianti for dinner tonight.

Have any other recipes/menus to recommend? Ideally easy recipes and perhaps even ones that can be made in large quantities and frozen.


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    1. Did they advise you this out of the blue, or did you ask them what cancer-fighting foods you could feed your father? While these foods have been shown, when eaten in very large quantities, to reduce the frequency of cancer in a population (sometimes a population of mice or other lab animals, not people), I don't think there's any data showing that these are helpful for an individual who already has cancer. Feed him healthy food that he finds tasty, and don't worry about the rest of it.

      -GilaB, MPH in molecular epidemiology

      1. best keep up mega dosages of foods hi in anti-oxidants. leafy veg, the greener the better. do a whole bunch of dressings and have him sample them all and rotate his favorites.

        there's also some research about natural citric acid being helpful but results are inconclusive - yet it wouldn't cause any harm to buy citrus fruit in bulk and juice them for your dad. if he could substitute half his liquid intake with fresh citrus (great diuretic), his body can easier rid itself of waste and hopefully heal faster.

        you can also look into homeopathic therapies. there are sworn testimonials from the macro-biotic crowd that their cancers went into remission after adhering to their prescribed diets.

        good luck to you and your father.

        1 Reply
        1. re: epabella

          anti-oxidants are contra indicated if one is in chemotherapy as they disrupt the chemo as well as the cancer. Don't stay completely clear but don't go out of your way to dose or mega dose it

        2. I agree with some of the other posts; if they want your father to gain weight, feed him whatever he wants. Some people with cancer find that their taste buds change so you might have to keep at it with trial & error until you find things that he likes, which might change from day to day, but as long as he eats, that's the important thing. Best of luck to your father.

          1. That's interesting advice, because, as the other posters said, while there is some evidence that those things might prevent cancer, there isn't any evidence they'll "cure" cancer. What's more, before your father goes eating a lot of any one nutrient or antioxidant (and before he takes ANY supplements), he should check in w/the docs - depending on his treatment, they can interact with his meds in bad ways.

            That said, and speaking as a cancer survivor (lucky 8 years this month) who's done a ton of research on this stuff, once again, moderation is key. Your dad should be enjoying himself as much as possible right now - this is a blow to body and mind - and so if there are foods he loves, he should be eating those! Pretty much the same things goes as for the general population's good health - lots of fruits and vegetables, not as much meat, grilled meats might increase risk as do cured meats (and those treated with nitrates/nitrites are bad news.

            I'd get creative with vegetables, focusing on what he likes. As for putting on weight - does he eat dairy? Quiche with cheese and vegetables with whole eggs is a good one, whole grains (quinoa, whole wheat couscous, bulgur, etc.) topped with vegetables and some meats . . . and eating small, but frequent meals can help a lot.

            And it's true, during treatment, his tastes may change. Mine sure did. And depending on what kind of cancer (head & neck, GI), he may not be able to eat certain foods comfortably for a while. Maybe if you post his likes/dislikes and/or limitations, we can help you tailor meals/menus more specifically.

            Good luck to you, and to your dad - and what a nice thing that you're helping out in this way!


            3 Replies
            1. re: gansu girl

              All good advice gansu girl.

              RE: vegies and eggs, not so many calories in these, only 90 calories in a large egg.

              For weight gain
              Peanut butter and cheese are among the most calorie dense, calories per tablespoon that is. Carnation Instant Breakfast tastes a lot better than Ensure and is only a couple more onces

              1. re: Jack_

                Yes, you're right about veggies and eggs, but cheese has a ton of calories and fat, and there can be a lot of cheese in a quiche! And eggs are a great source of protein - something that someone who's underweight and/or weak from chemo can use, too.


                1. re: gansu girl

                  Perhaps a cheese souffle! Light and easy to consume a lot!

                  Omelettes are easy, and maybe fill with a tomato, eggplant and garlic caponata, topped with some parmesan or mozzarella cheese.

                  Quesadilla made with a whole wheat tortilla and served with some salsa and sour cream.

                  Hummus with pita with chopped tomato

                  Baked Corn Chips topped with Black Beans, Cheese of choice, salsa, etc.