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Monday, July 22, 2013

Nutrition: A Tool For Fighting the Side Effects of Cancer Treatment #Healthy Eating #Weekly Menu Plan

Yum

fruit collage


Back in April I wrote a post: Eating: Help Prevent Cancer by Eating Less Meat, David Haas The Director of Awareness Programs for Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance asked if he could share with my readers suggestions for foods that help support a person who is undergoing cancer treatment. The following are his suggestions. 

Being diagnosed with cancer can be overwhelming and to be frank, terrifying.  A patient can be bombarded with loads of new information about their cancer, including treatment plans for fighting it.  Among the treatment options, they will find the usual; surgery, chemotherapy, radiation treatments. Sometimes, the side effects of these treatments can sound worse than the cancer itself. While it is not to be mistaken as a cure-all, nutrition is definitely a tool, which can help patients feel their best while undergoing treatments.  
   
It is well known that chemotherapy carries common side effects along with it, and according to the Scott Hamilton CARES Initiative, severe fatigue is on the list.  While the fatigue can be caused by the chemo itself, it can also be due to anemia, pain, or even have an emotional component.  To battle fatigue drink plenty of fluids, making sure to stay away from caffeine or sugary drinks.  Aim for 8 cups per day.  Also, eating protein from lean meats, poultry and fish can keep energy levels up.  Taking a multivitamin is important as well.  Choose one that contains at least 100% of recommended daily allowances for most nutrients.  
   
Another motivation to keep hydrated, other than to help fatigue is to prevent vomiting.  Cancercenter.com states that chemotherapy has been known for causing patients to get physically sick.  Avoid this by taking small bites and chewing food slowly, and thoroughly while sitting upright. Also, try resting for about an hour after eating, without lying down.  One more tip, while sometimes unavoidable, is to stay away from strong, unpleasant odors. This will prevent nausea, which can lead to vomiting. 
   
According to the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance, radiation therapy has its fair share of side effects as well, including mouth sores or ulcers.  Radiation targets cells, which are growing at a high rate, like the ones in our mouths.  Unfortunately, it does not distinguish between cancerous cells and healthy ones, so they all die off.   To aid the sores in healing, avoid acidic or spicy foods.  Also, stay away from sharp or crunchy foods, such as chips. Try instead for softer foods.  Don’t forget to use a straw while drinking.  This can keep the liquids away from the sores. 
   
These are just some simple suggestions to help you along with your cancer treatments. Fighting cancer can be a daunting journey.  You can lessen the side effects by making a few small changes, allowing you to focus on the most important thing: getting better. 


Weekly Menu Plan:


Sunday: Trader Joe's Barbecue Ribs, Black Bean & Corn Salad along with French Green Bean Salad

Meatless Monday: Eggplant Parmesan with a Green Salad

Tuesday: Goya Taquitos with Guacomole and a Tomato Salad

Wednesday: Grilled Chicken with Whole Food's Chimichurri Rub, Wild Rice, and Zucchini



Saturday: Leftovers

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8 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Val it's a hard subject and David gives some great advice.

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  2. Yummy looking menu plan!

    I don't know much about chemotherapy and cancer since, knock on wood, I only know one person who has had cancer. I always think of nutrition as being a tool for a lot of things, and it's good to read that it's being emphasized in dealing with cancer.

    Thanks for sharing the info at Motivation Monday!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I see more and more people who are realizing the importance of nutrition to help support a person through therapy.
      Cancer treatment is so depleting of the body's nutrients.

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  3. This is awesome... It just annoys me when we go into the hospital and the food is just as horrible as everyone says it is, almost like fake food. This is a great menu, i'm going to share it!
    Cinella @ The Mami Blog

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    Replies
    1. I think some hospitals have improved but it is frustrating. When you need the most nutritious food you get the most overcooked, fake (lots of jello) food.. Thanks for coming by.

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