Esophageal cancer is a type of cancer that affects the esophagus. This cancer starts in the tissues that line the esophagus before spreading to the rest of the body. Esophageal cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer deaths in the world and like all cancers, is very difficult to control once it has spread to the rest of the body.

When one is afflicted by this problem, they usually have problems swallowing any kind of food. This tends to become worse as treatment progresses. This is because radiotherapy or chemotherapy treatment approaches are concentrated on the affected esophagus and further making it hard for the patient to swallow solid food. For this reason, juices become a critical component of a patient’s diet as they make it easy for a patient to swallow without irritating the throat.

What Is Juicing?

Juicing refers to the process of extracting juice from plants or fruits. Typically, juicing will involve passing the fruits or plants through a juicer in order to extract the juice. One could ask why a cancer patient would need to prepare their own juice when they could simply buy processed and packed juice from the supermarket. There are a variety of reasons why the two are not the same:

  • Juicing allows for blends: Typically, the juices that you find in a supermarket will have been extracted from one or a handful of fruits. For this reason, the patient will have a very limited range of fruits that they can get from such processed juices. Juicing allows for a patient or a caregiver to include nutritious plant elements in the juice thus raising the nutrient value of the extract. This kind of blending would be hard to find in supermarket juices
  • Juicing preserves nutrients: To ensure that manufactured juices have long shelf lives, the manufacturing process of these juices typically involves pasteurization. What this does is kill the bacteria that would make the juice go bad but this also kills many of the nutrients that would help the patient recover. For this reason, juices that are made at home are far more nutritious as they don’t have to undergo this pasteurization process. Some of the supermarket juices also have preservatives and added sugar, both of which are not good for a cancer patient.

Why Juicing Helps

Esophageal cancer and the related chemo and radiotherapies all tend to make it very difficult for a patient to eat. This is because the linings of the esophagus become tender and painful, making it hard for solid food to pass through. Secondly, cancer and subsequent treatment make it hard for the digestive system to extract nutrients from solid foods. For this reason, being able to juice food helps both in getting the patient to eat healthy food as well as make it easier for the body to extract the nutrients that it needs.

Preparing Food For Juicing

One thing to keep in mind when preparing food for juicing is keeping a proper balance in the items that are going into the juice. For example, pure green juices (juice extracts from green vegetables) are very powerful and must be balanced with juice extracts from milder vegetables such as carrots. In fact, it is suggested that when determining what will go into your juice mix, ensure that not more than a quarter of the juice comes from green plant extracts.

Amounts

When it comes to the amounts, start the patient off with a glass of juice extract and you can dilute with water if the patient finds it too strong. Eventually, the patient will be able to take more amounts of juice but it is best to start them off slowly and build them up to it. Secondly, when figuring out the quantities of juice to make, remember that juice loses its nutrient value pretty fast so avoid making large quantities of the juice at the same time. Although it is normal to get the quantities wrong at first, eventually, you will work out how much juice is needed by the patient per day and this will guide how much you make.

Clean The Fruits And vegetables

Always ensure that fruits and vegetables are thoroughly cleaned especially if they are going to be juiced raw. If the patient is undergoing chemotherapy, it might be a good idea to talk to the doctor about the risks of bacterial infection when juicing. This is because cancer treatment typically lowers immunity making the patient more vulnerable to bacterial infection than before treatment. Whatever the case, it is important to ensure that the highest levels of hygiene are observed.

Fruits and vegetables should have their tops/tails cut and all seeds should be removed. Some fruits can be juiced with their peels on but some, like oranges, should have their peels taken off. Ensure that you retain the pith (the white part at the center of the orange).

Type Of Juicer

There are various options when it comes to juicing equipment and they range in price and the volume that they can handle. The cheapest and most commonly available are centrifugal juicers which run at high speed and have a fine-toothed blade that cuts up the fruits and vegetables to form the juice.  However, there are concerns about these types of juicers, with some nutritionists arguing that the high speeds and heat that is created by the blades kills nutrients and thus leads to patients not getting the full nutritional value of the food they are eating.

The alternative to the centrifugal juicers is masticating juicers which work at a significantly lower speed hence leaving more nutrients undamaged. The masticating juicers further preserve nutrients by pressing the food (rather than shredding it) therefore resulting in a juice that is far more nutritious than would be produced by the other kind of juicer. The downside to the masticating juicers is that they are relatively more expensive than the centrifugal ones.

When all is said and done, esophageal cancer patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer can get great nutritional benefits from juicing. Juicing is easy and can be done by just about anyone with minimum learning.