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Nutrition and diet for cancer patients A patient’s way of processing the nutrients, their appetite could be changed drastically with cancer and cancer treatments and cause side effects that could lead to eating and nutritional problems. Eating the right types and right amounts of nutritious food is critical for restoring some of the vitality cancer has taken away from them. Cancer patients often face dietary challenges that can diminish positive outcomes of the treatments. But on a positive side, it has been proven that diet can prevent cancer and its recurrence. In a research, plant-based food has been proved to reduce the cancer recurrence when its planned well along with moderate and regular exercise. The goal of nutritional care during cancer treatment should aim to prevent nutritional deficiencies, achieve and maintain a healthy weight gain, minimise nutrition related side effects, preserve lean body mass and therefore maximize quality of life. Foods recommended and food to be avoided – Cancer patients may need to eat more of milk, cheese and eggs as they need extra protein and calories to sustain their energy. Foods like sauces and gravies, which most of us are told to limit, might actually help cancer patients who have trouble chewing and swallowing. While doctors recommend a regular intake of high-fiber foods to people in general, it is not advised for certain cancer patients who have issues with diarrhoea, digestion problems and cramping. Patients who are very sensitive to foodborne infections should take extra precautions in the kitchen. Fruits and vegetables should be thoroughly scrubbed and washed before cooking or eating them directly. Meats and eggs should be cooked thoroughly as well and it is best to avoid unpasteurized foods. Foods to eat – Cancer societies, worldwide, recommend diet that is rich in plant foods and intake of processed foods and meats. It is strongly recommended to cancer patients to eat at least 2.5 cups of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. They should be taken with every meal and also to be eaten as snacks. Although fruit juices are an easier alternative, it is recommended to avoid them if they are not freshly taken or if they aren’t 100 percent juice. Among grains, whole grain foods are the best for them as they are made from the entire grain seed. These are best compared to the refined grains as these are lower in calorie density and higher in fibre, minerals and vitamins. Foods to restrict – Red meats and processed meats like bacon, hot dogs, sausages, pork, lamb and beef should be avoided. Alternatively, foods like fish, poultry, beans should be taken. Importantly, alcohol intake should be limited and best if restricted altogether. Its good to review the food packaging labels to understand what is being consumed. A low-fat food is not necessarily a low-calorie food and high-calorie foods can cause overweight and obesity which are the causative of cancer related mortality on a higher percentage. Eating disorders with cancer – Patients who undergo cancer therapy could face multiple eating disorders and its recommended to discuss the issues with a health care professional or a nutritionist to plan and schedule for a daily diet. Some of the issues faced are – Loss of appetite – It is very common to face this problem during the treatment. The timing and duration of loss of appetite should help patients with managing it. Patients should eat a large meal regardless of the time, taking liquid replacements, eating multiple smaller meals are some of the ways to help over come this problem. A regular exercise can also improve appetite. Nausea – As the rule goes, if some one feels nauseous, its good to eat something because empty stomach makes that feeling much worse. Best foods during this time would be toast with plain yogurt. Patients should avoid drinking water during the meal time as it could make them bloated. Diarrhoea – Drinking lots of fluids will help replace the lost ones. Salts should be regained when patients have diarrhoea and foods with high content of sodium and potassium should also be consumed. Eat at regular time – Eating at mealtimes even if the patient does not feel hungry can help boost the system to build the appetite when it is the mealtime. Foods high in calories like peanut butter, can be added to the diet to boost some energy into the system.
Fightbonetumors - About the Author:
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