Even though cancer patients keep a close eye to the nutritional problems they face and try their best to resolve them, there are some problems that persist due to the strong chemotherapy treatments. Some of the problems that arise when treating with chemo are:
Low protein and calorie intake
This is manifested through a loss of appetite because the disease itself eats up all your nutritional reserves. That’s why it is important for cancer patients to consume plenty of proteins and calories that will keep them energized energized, and strong and toward off infections. Studies suggest that cancer patients must keep themselves nourished in order to increase the chances of recovering from the disease. Here are some foods that can help with that:
- Avocado and beans
- Seeds, nuts, and dried fruit
- Olives and canola oil
- Cut back on low-calorie drinks
- Smoothie Shakes
- High-protein drink supplements
- Fruit juices.
It is also important to limit and lower your milk intake because the cancer medications may cause lactose intolerance, gas, bloating, diarrhea, and cramping.
To decrease the sensation of nausea and to prevent it from occurring, you should do the following:
- Drink at least ten glasses of water a day, since dehydration makes you feel nauseous.
- Add lemon extract to warm water and drink this twice a day to get rid of vomiting sensations.
- Try taking encapsulated ginger, ginger candy or fresh ginger to counter nausea.
- Eat small frequent meals every few hours, whether or not you are hungry.
Mouth sores are another common symptom from the cancer treatments, especially when taking oral medications. To avoid this symptom, it is recommended to:
- Avoid salty, spicy and acidic foods because these will aggravate your oral pain.
- Try to eat more soft and blended food like pudding, milk, porridge, custard rice and soups.
Loss of Appetite (Anorexia) and Depression
Appetite loss and depression are also common and they happen due to cancer treatment medications. To get over these symptoms, try to:
- Exercise lightly through swimming, yoga, cycling and brisk walking.
- Eat with friends and family, and improve the mood of your surroundings with music, good food and plenty of light.
- Cancer may be a very difficult illness to deal with, but by following these practical dietary tips, proper nutrition can be achieved. In the long run, even the adverse effects of chemotherapy can be countered.
Constipation and Drive-away Diarrhea
These are other uncomfortable symptoms that are side-effects of cancer treatment that can overcome with proper nutrition. Patients with constipation should:
- Drink lots of water
- Eat high fiber food like beans, lentils, vegetables
- Fresh fruits
- Dried fruit
As for patients with diarrhea, it is advisable to eat bland foods like banana, rice, and apples and drink lots of water and other liquids to stay hydrated.
Proper diets can reduce the symptoms and make them more bearable. To sum it up, your diet as a cancer patient should be consisted of: plenty of water, milk, ice creams, yogurt, milk shakes, cereal, creamed soups, commercial supplements, custard, pudding and commercial supplements for those who have difficulties eating or their esophagus is narrow or suffering from mouth pain; avoid raw veggies, fruits and foods with skins, seeds, and nuts. Instead, include white potatoes and fruit juices if you suffer from mild to severe bowel obstruction; fruit juices, gelatin, broth, fruit ice coffee, tea, and popsicles are recommended for bowel rest with diarrhea and vomiting; avoid lactose if you experience bloating, lactose intolerance or diarrhea after eating any food containing lactose or following cancer treatment.
Every cancer patient should have five meals of fruits and vegetables a day. You can include include dark leafy greens and also berries. It’s also good to consume whole grains foods that involve high fiber bread and cereals, brown rice, barley, oats, etc. Avoid refined foods like muffins, donuts, white bread or all those food high in sugar content as we know that cancer cells feed on sugar. Lower and limit the intake of red and processed meat. Stick to poultry, fish, and tofu.