What to Eat During Chemo?
For cancer patients, eating the right types and amounts of foods is critical for restoring some of the vitality the disease has taken away. Patients undergoing chemotherapy experience life-affecting side effects including fatigue, hair loss, weight loss, nausea, and memory & concentration problems. During chemotherapy, it is always recommended that you should eat lightly. Eating small portions slowly and every few hours seem to work best in overcoming side effects of chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy kills cancer cells and helps cope better. Unfortunately, this can change the way the body processes nutrients and can lead to many side effects like a loss in appetite, lowering of immunity, tiredness, a dry mouth, and sore throat.
It is evident from research studies that diet plays a crucial role in preventing cancer and the recurrence of cancer.
What Foods to Eat During Chemo?
- Nutritional Supplement Liquid Food: - Instant breakfast items supplement shakes and butter milk are some of the items, which a cancer patient can have for breakfast during chemotherapy. Cancer patient should consume food of soft consistency like porridge, bananas, soup, rice, dal, and buttermilk which are easy to digest. The patient should also try to consume fat integrated products so that his/her body can regain weight loss during chemotherapy and can fight against cancer.
- Cheese: Low fat pasteurized milk, low-fat yogurt, and cheese products are safe and good options for cancer patients but unpasteurized products, supplements, food and drinks containing probiotics such as bio-yogurts, Yakult, etc should be avoided. There are different types of cheese which are high in full fat and protein. Hard cheeses, such as cheddar, Swiss and mozzarella are an excellent snack that a cancer patient can have after coming back from a chemotherapy session.
- Peanut Butter: Peanut butter has essential vitamins, protein, and folic acid, which are lost during the chemotherapy sessions. Usually, cancer patients will experience a decrease in appetite because of which they are not able to take complete meals even twice a day. Blood is burnt during the treatment, which is very important to regain by eating good food. So peanut butter is also a very good option to incorporate in diet during chemotherapy.
- Limit processed meat- Processed meats include products like bacon, sausage, and hot dogs should be avoided by the chemo patients, while Beef, fish, poultry, and pork are very good supply of proteins and other nutrients which the cancer patient badly needs during chemo. The more protein they consume, the more energy is gained for fighting against cancer.
- Beans and lentils: Lentils are a good source of fiber, folate, and thiamin (vitamin B1) and are very healthy as they contain lean mass fat and have a relatively high antioxidant content compared to other legumes. Besides lentils, cancer patients can also add kidney beans to their meals. Beans and lentils are a high source of vegetarian protein and should be consumed by the cancer patient during chemotherapy for maintaining good health.
- Fruits: Fruits are good for health and are rich in antioxidants. Dry fruits are rich in calories, which gives a good boost for energy. Walnuts, almonds are rich sources of iron which helps in reducing the anemia and are essential for a healthy body after and during chemotherapy sessions. According to the study conducted by the Women's Healthy Eating and Living(WHEL), a plant-based diet high in fruits and vegetables helps to reduce cancer recurrence when combined with moderate and regular exercise. Citrus fruits such as tangerines, grapefruits, and oranges should be avoided, as it can aggravate the mouth sores occurring as a side effect of chemotherapy.
- Always stay hydrated: It is important that the cancer patient stays adequately hydrated and sips water continuously daily irrespective of chemotherapy. This flushes out toxins and other drugs and boosts immunity. Adequate water or coconut water intake aids digestion, relieves mouth dryness, helps with healing of the mouth sores and keeps patient active throughout the day.
Cancer is one of the most life-changing events for individuals and their families. There are multiple complex decisions throughout the course of a patient’s treatment complicated by feelings of anxiety, unfamiliar words, statistics, and a sense of urgency. Most of the time, the treatment recommendations are correct, but sometimes they can be incorrect, or there may be other alternative treatment options to which patients were never exposed. These decisions when made in consult with an online expert and reliable second opinion can make all the difference in the will, and focus with which a patient approaches his or her treatment.
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