Like so many others, we, too, have experienced the devastating effects of cancer among our family and friends.
Just recently, we lost Elizabeth’s uncle to colon cancer. We know, all too well, that cancer doesn’t discriminate.
And while the diagnosis is a crushing one, there are important factors when it comes to nutrition that can play such an integral part in your loved one’s health.
The following is a guest post by Jillian McKee (Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance) outlining key information to consider when fighting cancer.
When it comes to cancer, focusing on a nutritious diet may not be the first thing most patients think of in regards to getting healthy. In reality, switching to a specific nutritious diet can help immensely. Even if you’ve been diagnosed with a cancer such as mesothelioma, which pinpoints your internal organs, eating a well-balanced and healthy diet is nothing less than beneficial.
Even though healthy should be a daily priority for everyone, proper nutrition during cancer is essential. While enduring cancer, it may become difficult to handle certain foods. Sometimes tumors can change how your body makes use of certain foods and the nutrients that come with them. Also, having cancer can greatly affect your appetite, so it is even more important that when you eat, you eat the foods that will do the most for your body.
Protein is at the top of the list. Great proteins can be found by eating nuts, dairy products, and beans. Why is protein so important? Protein is used by your body to help repair body tissue, aid in growth, and keeps your immune system working as it should. All of these are highly necessary functions, especially if you are battling cancer, as your body needs even more protein to do its job. Whether you are undergoing radiation, chemo, or surgery, proteins help defend and fight off infection as well as repair body tissue.
Second on the list are carbohydrates and fats. It’s important to note that when we refer to fats here, we’re talking about good fats, which you can find in foods like oils, certain butters, nuts and seeds. Carbs can be obtained through foods such as pastas, breads, cereals, grains, and fruit. Both carbs and fats are necessary for introducing the calories you require into your body to keep your strength up. Additionally, when eating carbohydrates and fats it’s always good practice to keep in check how much you are eating of each. Balancing these out is just as important as eating them to begin with.
Next on the list are vitamins and minerals. When dealing with cancer, and even more if you’re going through radiation, chemo, or surgery for treatment, it can be hard to keep your energy levels where they should be. Being able to process the energy you get from foods is essential and that is where vitamins and minerals come in. It’s good practice to take a daily multi-vitamin or supplement if you can.
Lastly is water. While it is so simple, it is extremely beneficial. We’ve always heard a minimum of 8 glasses a day, and this is true. While enduring cancer, you may experience symptoms such as diarrhea and/or vomiting. If you aren’t introducing enough water into your system, dehydration can occur. Make sure to keep drinking water.
Your quality of life will improve immensely with a nutritious diet by helping you feel better, decreasing chance of infection, maintaining your energy levels, aiding in healing, and helping you to deal with treatments and side effects. It will also help in keeping your body weight closer to where it should be which can be a great concern to patients working with cancer.
Read Jillian’s June 14th post: Consume and Avoid: Nutrition During Cancer Treatments
Follow Jillian on Twitter
Email Jillian at firstname.lastname@example.org