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Is There a Link Between Lung Cancer and Carbohydrates?

By Melissa Hill, 9:00 am on

In the last decade, much research has emerged suggesting a link between dietary carbohydrates and cancer. More recently, scientists at the MD Anderson Cancer Center have discovered an interesting new connection between foods high on the glycemic index and lung cancer. Here is what seniors and their caregivers in Oklahoma should know about the findings.

What Is the Theory?

A hypothesis has emerged that consuming carbohydrates may increase a person’s risk for lung cancer. Many types of carbohydrates are high on the glycemic index (GI), meaning that they cause a rapid spike in blood sugar when consumed. This may increase the growth of cancer cells because, unlike normal cells, malignant cells require a steady supply of glucose to thrive. A high level of insulin in the blood due to the consumption of high GI foods may also affect the way the body grows cells and cause cancer cells to propagate.

What Happened During the Study?

Researchers at MD Anderson compared a large sample of people with lung cancer to individuals without, and they discovered that those who had the highest daily GI intake were up to 49 percent more likely to develop lung cancer than those with lower values. These findings were most prominent in individuals who had never smoked. While there are likely many other health factors at play, these results reinforce how critical a balanced diet is to good health.

What Does It Mean for Seniors?

Since cancer risk increases significantly with age, it is important for seniors to manage this risk in areas they can control. Many seniors who live alone or lack the energy to prepare nutritious meals may be more likely to turn to processed or simple foods such as instant oatmeal, baked potatoes, and white bread which are high on the glycemic index.

What Can Caregivers Do?

Oklahoma at-home care providers can help seniors maintain a balanced diet and choose lower GI options including whole fruits over juices, sweet potatoes over regular potatoes, and sprouted grain breads over white bread. A well-balanced diet low in carbohydrates and high in fiber, fruits, vegetables, and proteins can have a significant impact on lowering a senior’s cancer risk and enhance overall health. Caregivers can assist their loved one by helping them avoid high GI foods whenever possible and encourage them to exercise regularly.

To help your loved one maintain a balanced lifestyle during his or her golden years, turn to Home Care Assistance of Oklahoma. In addition to promoting senior health and wellness, we provide comprehensive services including stroke, Alzheimer’s, and dementia home care for Oklahoma seniors to help them manage and recover from illness and injury. Learn more when you call a knowledgeable Care Manager at 405-285-4191 and schedule a complimentary in-home consultation today.