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What Are the Benefits of Juicing for Cancer Patients?

by
author image Robin Wood-Moen
Robin Wood-Moen began writing in 2000. She is an academic researcher in health psychology, psychoneuroimmunology, religion/spirituality, bereavement, death/dying, meaning-making processes and CAM therapies. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in forensic-social sciences from University of North Dakota, a Master of Science in psychology and is working on her Ph.D. in health psychology, both from Walden University.
Medically Reviewed by
Brenda Spriggs, MD, MPH, MBA
What Are the Benefits of Juicing for Cancer Patients?
Juicing can ensure a range of nutritional needs are being met in a single glass. Photo Credit Kanawa_Studio/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Juicing, or the craft of blending vegetables and fruits together into a liquid meal, relies on nutritional benefits from antioxidants, enzymes and phytonutrient sources. For many who have surgical procedures, chemotherapy or radiation treatments that impair their natural ability to chew or swallow, juicing can be a sole source of nourishment. The National Cancer Institute suggests that while the jury is still out on the ability of nutrition to prevent or reverse cancer, the benefits of blending nutrient-dense foods for building immunity cannot be dismissed.

Antioxidants

Juicing is a way to get antioxidants -- substances that protect the body from cellular damage created by free radicals. According to the National Cancer Institute, free radicals can cause cancer or progress an existing disease. A diet rich in the antioxidants provided by fruit and vegetables include beta-carotene, lycopene and vitamins A, C and E. Used in a daily combination, they can possibly slow or prevent cancer development, improve strength and stamina and prevent infection.

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Beneficial Enzymes

A variety of fruits and vegetables contain enzymes. They are protein molecules that exist in plants and humans. Proponents of a raw diet suggest that uncooked foods retain their enzymes, which are beneficial to good health. Juicing would retain these enzymes. However, the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center posits that while the acids in the stomach break down these powerful enzymes, a person still receives a healthy selection of food that promotes digestion and can eliminate toxins in the body.

Phytonutrients

Phytonutrients, also referred to as phytochemicals, are natural chemicals in plants. The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Research Service says phytochemicals may be obtained through fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, nuts and tea leaves. There are nine classes of phytonutrients: carotenoids, flavinoids/isoflavones, inositol phosphates, lignans, isothiocynates/indoles, phenols/cyclic compounds, saponins, sulfides/thiols and terpenes. In addition to their antioxidant properties, they provide a boost to the immune system, aid cell-to-cell communication, alter estrogen metabolism, fight cancer and repair DNA damage resulting from free radicals.

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References

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