29 Mar How a Healthy Diet Can Boost your Health and Stamina During Cancer Treatment
Going through cancer treatment can be overwhelming and exhausting. at times, it might feel like everything is out of our hands. But there are some things we can do to take care of ourselves during this taxing time, and one of them is keeping tabs on our diet.
Maintaining a healthy diet during cancer treatment can help build up our strength and withstand the effects of cancer and its treatment.
Benefits of Good Nutrition
It’s no surprise that all humans need good nutrition to help their bodies function properly. The general guidelines suggest eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole-grain products, and high-quality protein. It is also helpful to limit processed red meat, sugar, alcohol, fat, and salt.
These suggestions may be relatively easy to follow when we are healthy. But for those dealing with a cancer diagnosis and going through cancer treatments, things might not be so simple. If you have side effects from treatment or are generally not feeling well, it could be challenging to consume all of the recommended food groups.
The illness, the treatment, or both can alter how our body tolerates certain foods and absorbs nutrients. This is why it’s especially important to pay close attention to your diet during this time.
Adjusting Your Diet During Cancer Treatment
You might want to add some foods to your diet during cancer treatment that were not necessarily recommended before.
For example, high-fat and high-calorie foods can help you gain weight. And cold, thick foods like ice cream and milkshake may be easier to consume if soreness in the mouth and throat makes it difficult to eat. Eating the right foods during treatment can help you:
- Feel better
- Better tolerate side effects of treatment
- Lower risk of infection
- Boost your strength and energy
Each person has specific nutritional needs during treatment, but the important dietary categories to keep in mind are proteins, fats, carbohydrates, water, vitamins, and minerals. Here is the breakdown of each category.
Our bodies need protein for growth, tissue repair, and immune system support. If we don’t eat enough protein, our body may start breaking down muscle for energy. Those of us dealing with cancer will need more protein in our diets to fight infection and to help tissues recover after surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.
Fats and oils serve as sources of energy for the body, but some fats are better than others. Monounsaturated fats like olive and canola oils and polyunsaturated fats like seafood, flaxseed, and sunflower oil are better than saturated or trans fats.
In addition to using fats for energy, the body also uses them to carry vitamins through the bloodstream, which is important during cancer treatment.
Carbohydrates are the body’s primary energy source and are important for keeping our energy and stamina up during cancer treatment. Additionally, carbohydrates supply vitamins, minerals, fiber, and help our organs function properly. Carbohydrates include foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
Hydration, hydration, hydration! Water is important under any circumstances, but especially during cancer treatments. All body cells need water to function. Any individual should drink eight 8-ounce glasses a day, but you should increase that amount if you are experiencing vomiting or diarrhea as a result of treatment and your body fluids need to be replenished.
Vitamins and Minerals
Sometimes it might be hard to eat a balanced diet when you’re going through cancer treatment. If there is a suspicion that you are not getting enough vitamins and nutrients from the things you eat, it could be helpful to add vitamin and mineral supplements into the mix.
When deciding to adjust your diet during your cancer treatment, it’s always best to consult with your cancer care team before making any decisions. Alabama Cancer Care is always here for any questions you might have and to help you come up with a nutritional plan that’s right for you.
Alabama Cancer Care is here to help!
Maintaining a healthy and nutrient-dense diet during cancer treatment could be challenging. Alabama Cancer Care is always here to help. For more information regarding nutrition, contact us.