Even on ordinary days, diet and food intake are important for a healthy life. But it becomes much more important for someone who is suffering from cancer. Cancer can hinder the growth of other healthy cells by taking up all the energy from food.
This causes side effects during and after treatment. These side effects can be controlled through dietary supplements and organic food items. There are doctors that can help you plan your diet.
Registered dietitians have received specialized training in the dietary requirements of persons suffering from certain ailments. Your dietician can assist you in planning meals that provide you with the appropriate quantity of calories and nutrients.
Why is diet important for cancer?
Cancer treatment can lead to different side effects which also include loss of appetite. This could lead to weight loss and other severe problems.
A well-balanced diet can help the patient to maintain a healthy weight, which is really important during treatment. During chemotherapy and radiation therapy, it becomes crucial to maintain a healthy weight. Obtaining a healthy weight through a nutrition-rich diet can help:
- Assist in the management of side effects of cancer treatment
- Increase your energy and muscle through protein intake
- Maintain immunological function to avoid getting infections
- Inflammation should be reduced
After getting diagnosed with cancer, the doctor will let you know all the possible treatment options that could help you.
The major treatment methods are surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. These methods are most commonly used to treat any type of cancer depending upon the stage of cancer.
Even before the treatment starts, a patient must take a nutrient-rich diet to ensure that they have a body that can get under the treatment method. Usually, the treatment is not harmful, but the drugs used for cancer are high-dose and may cause several side effects.
You may not know what side effects the treatment method can cause, as different individuals suffer from different types of side effects. There will be days when you might not want to eat anything. So, so it is advised to eat before and at least make the body strong enough to resist some of the side effects.
Before treatment is the best time to plan for future meals as well. You can add nuts, yogurt, different vegetables, and multiple grains to your diet. Ask your doctor for any other add-ons that you must have in your diet.
For many people, the day of treatment is quite overwhelming, and they may feel nervous, which can eventually affect their appetite. There will be days when you will be hungry and days when you don’t want to eat anything at all. So, it is important that you eat on days that you feel like eating. You can even ask your doctor for certain medications for your side effects after a treatment session.
Try to intake more protein and calories during your treatment sessions. The protein will help you to keep your body strong and repair the damaged cells. Ingest protein-rich food like eggs, milk, milk products, meat, etc. If you are on chemotherapy, try to take more liquid intake such as juices, water, and other drinks.
Consult your doctor or nutritionist beforehand and make a diet chart for yourself during cancer treatment.
After treatment, it is essential to keep the diet more nutrient-rich. The recovery period is mostly about taking protein and calories as much as possible.
Many people experience weakness following the treatment of cancer. Nausea, vomiting, and other symptoms are prevalent in patients. To alleviate these symptoms, a well-balanced diet high in nutrients and calories is required.
The patient’s diet should include calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin D since these are the major elements that will aid in the patient’s recovery.
If you suffer from any other condition, then consult your doctor for a better diet plan and things you must avoid.
How to manage side effects?
There are many side effects of cancer treatment that can affect the patient during and after treatment. It may take some time to get over these side effects, but with dietary changes, it becomes easier to take control of them.
Some of the changes that you can implement in your diet according to the side effects are:
Appetite loss – Instead of eating 3 full meals have short multiple meals. Eat nutrition-rich food which must include vitamin D, calcium, protein, carbohydrates, zinc, etc.
Constipation – Try to drink more water and fiber-rich food items. You can include green leafy vegetables in your meals such as spinach, kale, moringa, cabbage, etc.
Diarrhea – Take drinks and food which are rich in sodium and potassium ions such as broth, bananas, fruit juices, etc.
Taste loss – It is quite often observed that many patients experience loss of taste after treatment. This can be controlled or overcome by taking strong spices and strong flavor food items such as lemon.
Nausea – Nausea is the most common side effect of cancer treatment. Taking antinausea food and supplements can help you control this feeling of nausea. Food items such as citrus, peppermint, and ginger can help with nausea.