How a healthy diet may help fight cancer

On December 30, 2012, Nicole Meron’s father died of brain cancer. He had battled the disease for a year and two months after his diagnosis. “Watching your hero lose his hair and his strength from intense chemotherapies and surgeries was the hardest part,” 19-year-old Meron said.

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Matt and Nicole Meron

This January, the Meron and her family got some more terrible news. Nicole’s mother, Faffi, was diagnosed with advanced lung cancer. “Hearing the word cancer for the second time was very difficult for my siblings and I to go through,” Nicole said. Faffi began treatment immediately.

With those two diagnoses, the Merons started to get serious about improving their health any way they could. Along with the medical care Faffi was undergoing, she and her children decided to take a doctor’s advice to change their eating habits.

The family began to contact nutritionists and different doctors to receive insight on how to improve their mother’s health while fighting cancer. “‘Everything to keep healthy’ has become our motto,” Nicole said.

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Faffi using kale while juicing.

After receiving health advice from their nutritionist and doctors at Kaiser Permanante, the family decided to cut out conventionally grown foods and switch to organics. On a doctor’s advice, they also started juicing.

“Organic food and juicing is very important for Faffi’s health,” said Dr. Ricardo Wang, Faffi’s oncologist at Kaiser Permanente in Woodland Hills, Calif.

The research behind organic foods and juicing

Organic foods have been found to have a significantly lower cadmium chemical content conventionally grown foods, according to researchers who published their findings in the British Journal of Nutrition.

Cadmium may impair lung function and increase the risk of lung cancer, according to a study in the NCBI Journal.

“The heavy metal Cd (cadmium) is emerging as a major cause of vascular disorders, various common cancers, kidney disease, osteoporosis and other health disorders, even in populations that do not have occupational exposure to this toxin,” said authors of a the British Journal of Nutrition.

The Merons have also increased their kale consumption. Kale contains nutrients that may have improve blood glucose control in diabetics, lower the risk of cancer, lower blood pressure, and lower the risk of developing asthma, according to registered dietitian Megan Ware who published her findings on Medical News Today.

Fruits and vegetables contain large amounts of phenolic substances and fiber which may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer, claimed by researchers of a 2017 study published in Scientific Reports.

Studies also indicated eating lots of fruits and vegetables has been linked to a lower risk of mouth, throat and lung cancer.

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Faffi Meron accompanied by her two daughters while undergoing treatment.

The Merons have a long road ahead, but in May, they finally got some good news: there appears to be no sign of Faffi’s cancer.

Though they do not know if their new eating habits contributed, they still plan to continue doing everything in their power to maintain a healthful lifestyle.

Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after cancer treatment can help the patient feel better and stay stronger.  “We believe that the changes we have made to our eating habits has helped our mom fight the cancer,” said Nicole Meron.

Nicole Meron shares her families immigration journey from Israel in this video.

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