Using good nutrition to fight cancer
In the fight against cancer a healthy diet is very important. Poor nutritional status can lead to many complications like involuntary weight loss, weakness and increased risk of infection.
Good nutrition is the best way to prevent weight loss and increase quality of life during cancer treatment. Getting a variety of fruits and vegetables every day along with low-fat meats and dairy will help provide you with the building blocks you need to battle cancer. In many cases you may need to increase your calorie and protein intake. Below are some suggestions to help you maintain weight and put up a good fight against cancer:
Eat small frequent meals. This will help with appetite, nausea and vomiting. Small meals, spaced 2-3 hours apart, are often easier to tolerate and digest.
Make sure to eat breakfast. Morning is typically when most people have the best appetite and can eat more. Also, eggs are a great source of protein and nutrients.
Try a new fruit or vegetable each time you go to the grocery store. Each fruit and vegetable is unique and will have different nutrients in them that are beneficial. Eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables everyday can be very beneficial.
Avoid high fat, greasy and fried foods. These foods can often cause nausea and vomiting.
Add low fat cheeses to meals to increase calories and protein. Cheese is a good source of calcium and protein. Add cheese to scrambled eggs at breakfast or add an extra pinch on top of your spaghetti at dinner.
Adding lentils to your meals can also add extra calories and protein. When making homemade soup, add Northern beans or Pinto beans. Beans are also good sources of fiber.
Fiber can be useful in cases of constipation or diarrhea. Substitute whole grain breads and cereals in the place of white breads and high sugar cereals. Oatmeal is also a great option for increasing fiber in your diet.
Drink fluids between meals. Sipping throughout the day may help with nausea and vomiting along with increasing the calorie and fluid intake you will need. Make sure to include lots of water and to limit the amount of soft drinks.
Maintain healthy food preparation methods. Make sure to cook your food thoroughly to prevent food borne illnesses. Try individually wrapped foods like yogurt, pudding and canned fruit in water.
Ask your doctor about taking a multivitamin. If you are unable to eat much variety and suffer from frequent nausea and vomiting you may need to get your nutrients from another source.
Be as physically active as possible. It can be as simple as parking further away at the grocery store and walking inside or as rigorous as riding a bike. Being active helps improve appetite. Be sure to ask your doctor before beginning any additional activity.
Contact a Registered Dietitian. A Registered Dietitian can help assess your daily nutrient needs and provide you with a plan to maintain body weight and strength.
Ask your doctor before taking any additional supplements. Some supplements, like Boost® or Ensure®, will help to increase your intake of calories and protein. All supplements should be taken with the direct supervision of your doctor.
Cancer Nutrition News
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