Monday, May 28, 2012

Eat Well to Improve Quality of Life During Cancer

Thanks Guest Blogger Jillian McKee for this great article!

Patients with cancer usually have one thing on their minds—they want the cancer out of their bodies. Treatments for mesothelioma, skin cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer are all examples of plans that can cause appetite losses. Even cancer patients in remission often don’t feel up to preparing or eating nutritional foods because they are simply exhausted. Although adequate nutrition might be the furthest thing from your mind when you are battling cancer, healthy foods will not only give you the right kind of energy, but they can also improve your overall quality of life.

Nutrition and Cancer
Proper nutrition gives your body the energy it needs to carry out everyday tasks. Having adequate energy is critical in fighting cancer. You will undergo treatments, some of which can be painful and will subsequently zap your energy levels. It is important to maintain strength from nourishing foods to improve the outcome of your cancer treatments.

Eating good foods throughout your life reduces the chances of getting cancer. However, once you are diagnosed, these types of meals will not reverse your condition. There are no miracle foods to cure cancer. On the flip side, eating nutritious foods can improve your odds of remission. If you instead continue to eat unhealthy foods, then you could decrease your chances of improvement. At this point, you shouldn’t be concerned with excess calories, but rather eating foods that taste good to you, and provide you with energy.

Back to the Basics
When choosing the right foods to eat during cancer, you should get back to the basics of nutrition. Remember that you need a healthy mix of carbohydrates, protein and fat to have adequate energy. Healthy carbohydrates are found in whole grains, as well as fruits and vegetables.

Many cancer patients lack protein in their diets because they cannot stomach cow’s milk and red meats. Instead, choose lighter sources of protein that you will actually enjoy. Chicken, turkey and fish are great alternatives to meat, as well as eggs and tofu. Concentrate on healthy fats, such as fish, olive oil and nuts.

For the best results, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you eat small meals throughout the day. During times in which you actually have an appetite, feel free to eat just a bit more while you have the chance. This will help to ensure that you have enough calories to energize you.

Nutritional Alternatives
Advanced stages of cancer can wipe out your energy for several days at a time. Some people who are first diagnosed with cancer also temporarily lose their appetites from succumbing to the high stress involved with their conditions. With your doctor’s consent, you might consider taking a multivitamin to ensure that you are getting the essential nutrients you need. Keep in mind that this kind of supplement is a temporary solution for nutritional gaps, and you should not intentionally trade in food for a vitamin.

Stay Hydrated
Not only is it important to nourish your body with healthy foods during cancer treatments, but you also need to make sure that you drink plenty of water. The Mayo Clinic recommends a minimum daily fluid intake of 64 oz, unless your oncologist instructs you otherwise. If you are rapidly losing weight, you might consider beverage choices with some calories, such as fruit juice or lightly sweetened tea. Dehydration can make you feel weak, and it can actually hinder any positive treatment results.

Visit Jillian McKee's Blog for more information.

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