Getting the proper nourishment during and after cancer treatment can help patients feel better and get stronger.
Good nutrition is critical to maintaining optimal health at any stage of your life. A balanced diet includes eating foods and drinking liquids that have essential nutrients—vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fat, and water—that the body requires to function at its best.
Because cancer, chemotherapy, radiation and other treatments can cause side effects that impact nutrition, it’s more important than ever to eat healthy when fighting cancer.
Some treatments can make food taste unpleasant. While you may not feel like eating it is important to get adequate nutrition. In order to remain in your best physical condition and continue on your road to recovery, you must be mindful to feed your body even when you don’t have an appetite.
Mouth sores or dry mouth can make eating painful. Forming on the inside lining of your mouth or lips, sores may appear burn-like and be punishing, making it hard to eat. As well, these agonizing sores can extend into the esophagus which carries food to your stomach making it hard to swallow.
Nausea and upset stomach can make even the smell of food unpleasant. Some drugs and treatments will be more likely to cause nausea and vomiting than others. While drugs can be used to help alleviate the feelings of upset stomach, here’s a few tips to consider when planning your meals.
A cancer diagnosis and the treatments that follow may cause serious adverse reactions that will affect proper nutrition; therefore, it’s more important than ever to eat healthy when fighting cancer.
A registered dietician (RD) can be one of your best resources for information about your nutritional needs. They work with patients, families and the medical team to manage the patient’s diet during and after cancer treatment. Through nutrition therapy, they help cancer patients maintain a healthy body weight, retain strength, and decrease side effects both during and after treatment.
Continue to take charge of your wellness by focusing on sound eating habits. Add proper nutrition to your treatment plan so you can be the strongest, healthiest version of yourself.
The information in this article is not meant to replace the advice of a medical professional. If you have questions or concerns be sure to talk to your medical team. You can find more detailed discussion of nutrition before, during, and after cancer treatment in the book American Cancer Society Complete Guide to Nutrition for Cancer Survivors: Eating Well, Staying Well During and After Cancer.
I am a yoga and fitness for cancer practitioner. I support people who have been affected by the cancer experience resume normal activities and improve functional skills and quality of life. If you, or someone you know, would like to learn more about how yoga and fitness can assist cancer patients undergoing treatment, into recovery and onto long-term survivorship contact me at [email protected]
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