Spring 2001 Nutrition Nuggets Newsletter

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Last Modified: September 14, 2006

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The registered dietitians of the The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania are pleased to introduce a new quarterly cancer and nutrition information newsletter written for Cancer Center patients and staff. It is filled with current and hopefully helpful information on nutrition and cancer. Each newsletter will spotlight nutrition tips for cancer treatment related side effects, supplement and herbal usetg, new food products, complementary and alternative therapies, as well as cancer fighting foods and recipes.

How Does Your Diet Stack Up?

The American Cancer Society Guidelines for Diet, Nutrition, and Cancer Prevention

  1. Choose most of the foods you eat from plant sources. Mom was right! Eat your fruits and vegetables! They contain disease fighting vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, antioxidants, and fiber. Those with the most color—green, red, yellow, orange-have the most nutrients. Aim for at least 5 total servings per day. A healthy diet also includes 6 to 11 small servings from the grain family, such as whole grain bread, cereals, rice, and pasta.
  2. Limit your intake of high-fat foods, particularly from animal sources.
  3. It may not be easy, but you can do it! Switch to low-fat versions of your favorite foods, limit intake of meats, and cut back on portion sizes. Choose healthier fats when you do have them, like olive and canola oils.
  4. Be physically active; achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Reduce stress, increase your energy, and control your weight with exercise. Find an activity you enjoy and get moving for at least 30 minutes a day.
  5. Limit consumption of alcoholic beverages, if you drink at all. Cancer risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed so keep it to a minimum!

Dietitian or Nutritionist: what is the difference?

Who should you go to when you want nutrition advice?

It is actually the "R.D." or registered dietitian that is the nutrition expert. The credential, "R.D." can only be used by practitioners who are currently authorized by the Commission on Dietetic Registration (a part of the American Dietetic Association). Individuals with this credential have completed specific academic and practicum requirements (including at least a four year degree), have passed a registration examination, and have maintained requirements for recertification. This is a legally protected title.

Some RDs refer to themselves as nutritionists as well as dietitians. However, the terms are not necessarily interchangeable. The definition and requirements for the term "nutritionist" vary from state to state. Some states have licensure laws that require nutritionists to be registered dietitians. Other states, like Pennsylvania, do not have licensure laws and therefore, even unqualified individuals can call themselves nutritionists. So...make sure your "nutritionist" is also a registered dietitian: your most reliable source for accurate nutrition information!

Coping with Cancer Treatment: Nausea

A common concern of cancer patients is nausea. This can be a side effect of chemotherapy and/or radiation therapy, a consequence of the disease itself, or a response to medications, stress...Whatever the cause, nausea can prevent adequate intake of food and fluids. The following are some suggestions that may help reduce symptoms:

  • Choose cold foods. Heat accentuates smells.
  • Eat small, frequent meals and snacks.
  • Bland foods such as baked chicken, mashed potatoes, noodles, cream of wheat, chicken noodle soup and sorbets are better tolerated.
  • Avoid fried, spicy and high fat foods.
  • Salty foods are generally tolerated better than sweet foods.
  • Limit fluids to sips during meals.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Most people need 64 oz a day.
  • Anti-nausea medication can usually control symptoms. Follow prescription instructions for their proper use.

Cancer Prevention Pantry: Mushrooms

Adapted from the Environmental Nutrition newsletter, March 2001.

Shiitake, maitake, oyster and other wild mushrooms contain lentinan, which has been shown to have antitumor and immune boosting properties. Include them more often in salads, soups, or stir-frys.

Five white mushrooms supply nearly 25% of our daily need for riboflavin, the same amount as in an eight ounce glass of milk.

A single portabella mushroom cap provides almost half the riboflavin we need plus 25% of our daily need for niacin.

Mushrooms are also rich in potassium. In fact, five white mushrooms have as much potassium as a small banana or orange.

Mushroom Medley
Serve as a side dish, on a salad, in an omelet, on a pizza or over pasta, grilled fish or chicken.

1 pound assorted. mushrooms (such as crimini, portabella, shiitake, oyster)
1 ½ TB olive oil
½ cup chopped onion
2 tsp chopped garlic
½ tsp. salt (optional)
1/8 tsp ground black pepper

  • Trim mushroom ends and slice (about 5 to 6 cups).
  • In a large skillet, heat oil. Add onion; cook and stir until tender, about 3 minutes.
  • Add garlic, salt, pepper and prepared mushrooms (except oysters); cook and stir until lightly browned and moisture evaporates, about 5 to 7 minutes.
  • Add oyster mushrooms; cook until barely softened, about 1 minute.

    Makes about 2 cups.
    For each 1/2 cup serving:

    • 84 calories
    • 5 grams fat
    • 3.5 grams protein
    • 300 mg sodium (if salt added)
  • Ask The Dietitian

    Should I take ginger to reduce my nausea?

    Ginger is a natural remedy for nausea. However, it is also an anti-coagulant and therefore should not be taken when platelets are low or with anticoagulant medications such as Coumadin.

    Meet Your Dietitians

    Katrina Claghorn, MS, RD
    Katrina Claghorn, MS, RD is a registered dietitian at the The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania Before specializing in oncology Katrina worked in medical nutrition and with patients with eating disorders. Since 1995 she has specialized in oncology nutrition. She now works as an outpatient dietitian in her role as the nutritionist for the The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a section editor on nutrition and diet for OncoLink.
    Ellen Sweeney, RD
    Ellen Sweeney, RD is a registered dietitian at the The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Ellen has worked in several nutrition position, including in-patient acute care, cardiac nutrition, elderly nutrition, and clinical research. She has specialized in oncology nutrition for the past four years and currently works with outpatients at the The Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania.



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