Maintaining proper nutrition during cancer treatment

Maintaining proper nutrition during cancer treatment

For patients undergoing cancer treatment, a healthy, nutritious diet is crucial. Cancer and cancer treatments heavily affect your body’s relationship to food and how it absorbs nutrients. They can also affect the way you eat and your desire to eat, which is why a conscientious approach to eating is best.

Establishing a healthy diet during cancer treatment—including surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, immunotherapy and stem cell transplant—can have many benefits. Good nutrition gives your body the tools it needs to stay strong and energized, maintain weight, handle treatment-related side effects, boost the immune system, fight infection and promote healing.

Keep in mind that typical healthy eating guidelines may not apply to your specific needs as a patient with cancer. For many, side effects of cancer and cancer therapy include a diminished desire to eat, a diminished ability to eat and a diminished ability to absorb nutrients. The experts at Goshen Health can help you develop a nutrition plan that will keep your eating on track.

Pre-treatment preparation

It’s impossible to know exactly how your body will react to cancer treatment. However, it’s possible to prepare as well as you can for the unknown. Before you begin treatment, talk with one of our cancer experts to get an idea of how your body may react to therapy.

You can also:

  • Stock your kitchen with easy-to-fix meals and snacks for days when you don’t feel well or are tired.
  • Make as many meals as possible beforehand and freeze them in individual portions for later.
  • Talk with friends and family, who may be able to help with cooking and grocery shopping.
  • Eat well to strengthen your body leading up to treatment.

Tips for eating during cancer treatment

  • Try new foods. Treatment can play tricks on your taste buds, causing you to enjoy foods you didn’t like before.
  • Eat at least 1 ½ cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables a day.
  • Stay away from fatty foods, especially high-fat animal products.
  • Try to sustain a healthy weight. Feel free to snack often if you need to maintain your weight.
  • As much as possible, stay physically active to keep your appetite up.
  • Don’t eat salt-cured or smoked foods such as bacon, ham or hot dogs.
  • Eat your biggest meal of the day when you feel hungriest.
  • Drink liquids between meals instead of with meals. This will ensure you’re filling up on nutrient-dense food and not just liquids.
  • Remember to eat every few hours, not just when you’re hungry.
  • Stay hydrated! Make sure to drink plenty of water or tea.

Having trouble finding appetizing things to eat? Here are some snack and meal suggestions:

  • Popcorn
  • Cold cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Smoothies
  • Dried fruits: figs, prunes, apples, mango
  • Crackers topped with nut butter and dried fruit
  • Vegetables with hummus or dip
  • Toast, English muffin or bagel with almond or peanut butter
  • Fresh or frozen grapes, watermelon or cantaloupe
  • Frozen fruit bars

 

Posted: 9/21/2015 by Goshen Health
Filed under: cancer, nutrition, treatment

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