"Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase"

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Helpful Things for Mom


Emphasize fruits and vegetables. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, especially those high in vitamin C and beta carotene, has been shown to help protect against stomach cancer. Look for deep green and dark yellow or orange fruits and vegetables, such as Swiss chard, bok choy, spinach, cantaloupe, mango, acorn or butternut squash, and sweet potatoes. Also try to eat vegetables from the cabbage family, including broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Lycopene, a nutrient found in tomatoes and other red fruits and vegetables such as strawberries and red bell peppers, may be a particularly powerful anti-cancer chemical.

Avoid nitrites and nitrates. These nitrogen compounds are known to contribute to stomach cancer. They're found primarily in processed meats — bologna, salami and corned beef, for instance — and in cured meats such as ham and bacon.

Limit smoked, pickled and heavily salted foods. These have been linked to an increased risk of stomach cancer. Countries where the consumption of smoked, pickled and salted food is high have correspondingly high stomach cancer rates.
Don't smoke. Tobacco use greatly increases your risk of stomach cancer, especially cancer that occurs at the junction of the esophagus and stomach.

Limit alcohol consumption. Alcohol may cause changes in cells that can lead to cancer.

Limit red meat. Eating large amounts of red meat — particularly when it's barbecued or well-done — increases your risk of stomach cancer. Instead, choose fish or poultry.

See your doctor if you have symptoms of an ulcer. Infection with H. pylori, the bacterium that causes most cases of gastric ulcers, is one of the leading causes of stomach cancer. Don't ignore symptoms of ulcers, such as a gnawing pain in your abdomen or chest that's worse when your stomach is empty or at night. Other, more severe signs and symptoms of ulcers include nausea, vomiting, bleeding and unintended weight loss.

Mayo Clinic: Prevention

Lifestyle and home remedies

After gastrectomy, it's not uncommon to experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, nutritional deficiencies and dumping syndrome, which occurs when food enters your small intestine too quickly. These side effects usually result from eating more at one time than your digestive system can tolerate and can often be controlled with changes in the amount, frequency and kinds of food you eat.

You may also develop nutritional deficiencies because you're no longer able to absorb certain vitamins. Vitamin B-12, for example, can only be absorbed when it's attached to a protein produced in your stomach (intrinsic factor). For that reason, you'll need to receive vitamin B-12 injections for life. Your doctor may also recommend supplementing your diet with other nutrients, especially folic acid, iron and calcium.

Although coping with the effects of gastrectomy can be challenging, the following measures may help improve or relieve your symptoms:

Eat small, frequent meals. Normally, your stomach can expand to accommodate what you eat and drink, which it then releases slowly into your small intestine. After gastrectomy, you won't be able to eat as much at one sitting as you once did, although you likely can consume the same amount overall. To get the calories you need while minimizing intestinal symptoms, try eating six small meals a day, rather than two or three large ones.

Avoid drinking with meals. Although it's important to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, drinking with meals hastens the movement of food through the upper part of your digestive tract and may reduce the absorption of nutrients. Instead, try to drink 30 minutes before or 60 minutes after you eat.

Eat slowly and chew thoroughly. This can help reduce nausea and vomiting and increase your ability to absorb nutrients.

Avoid extremely hot or cold foods or liquids. These may aggravate your symptoms.

Rest after meals. It's best to relax after you eat because activity increases the likelihood of nausea and vomiting. Don't lie flat, however, for at least two to three hours after a meal.

Avoid sugar. All forms of sugars and sweets aggravate dumping syndrome.

Use dairy products cautiously. Some people find that dairy foods such as milk, cheese and even yogurt cause gas, bloating and abdominal pain. In that case, an enzyme product such as Lactaid or Dairy Ease may help break down lactose. Consuming small amounts of milk products or combining them with other foods to slow digestion also may help. In some cases, though, you may need to eliminate dairy foods completely. If so, be sure to get enough protein, calcium and B vitamins from other sources.

Avoid troublesome foods. If certain foods make your symptoms worse, don't eat them. Instead, try eating softly cooked or pureed fruits and vegetables, rice, plain baked potatoes, soups, broth, and chicken or fish cooked without fat.

Talk to a dietitian. It's difficult to get the calories and nutrition you need on a restricted diet. A dietitian can help you plan healthy meals that don't aggravate your symptoms.

Mayo Clinic: Lifestyle


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