Having proper diet and stellar nutritional intake is important. This is especially true for someone with a disease such as lung cancer. However, lack of appetite, difficulty swallowing and pain in the throat can keep a person with the condition from eating and nourishing the body properly.
Every person with lung cancer has different nutritional needs. They are based on the individual’s height, weight, current treatment plan and complications brought about by the disease. Generally speaking, there is really no prescribed diet plan for someone who is suffering from lung cancer. Certain nutritional goals, however, have to be met. They include:
- Maintenance of ideal weight
- Elimination of excess pounds for an overweight individual
- Providing the body with carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and fluids
- Keep the side effects of lung cancer treatment from worsening
Talking with the doctor, nutritionist or dietician is the best way to determine the proper diet for someone afflicted with lung cancer. Below are some really helpful tips on how to ensure that the individual gets all the nutrients he or she needs:
- Steam vegetables to make them soft. Because of the difficulty swallowing experienced by someone with lung cancer, it’s important to serve him or her foods that are easy to chew and swallow. By steaming fresh produce, it will be easier for the person to consume vegetables and enjoy the variety of nutrients they offer.
- Provide small frequent meals throughout the day. Rather than give the lung cancer sufferer three square meals on a daily basis, it’s a better idea to offer small servings of food more frequently. This helps make sure that the person is getting sufficient amounts of carbohydrates, protein and other nutrients despite of the lack of appetite.
- Refrain from serving foods with rough textures and pointed edges. Having mouth sores is very likely for someone who is being treated for lung cancer. Additional mouth sores can be prevented from developing by offering the person soft or semi-soft foods. The likes of crackers, chips and even some raw fruits and vegetables should be avoided.
- Steer clear of offering spicy and acidic foods. Anything that’s hot, tart and sour can irritate mouth sores and make it more difficult for the individual to eat. It is generally a good idea to avoid serving acidic fruits to the person, as well as anything that contains tomato and tomato-based ingredients.
- Thick liquids are easier to swallow. Shakes and smoothies are excellent for a person with lung cancer as they won’t give him or her a hard time swallowing them. In addition, they also provide a soothing effect on painful and swollen throat. Serving shakes and smoothies help the person boost his or her intake of fluids.
- Allow the individual to drink lots of water. Keeping the body hydrated is important whether or not lung cancer is present. It’s highly recommended for the individual suffering from the disease to take lots of water in between and not during meals to ensure he or she will be able to eat sufficiently.
- Garnish food with herbs and spices. Lack of appetite may keep someone with lung cancer from getting all the vital nutrients he or she needs for strength and recovery. Make food more visually delightful and palatable by garnishing them, although the use of herbs, spices and condiments which may irritate the mouth and throat should be avoided.
- Offer bland foods to avoid stomach upset. Undergoing treatment for lung cancer may leave the individual with an upset stomach most of the time. Such can be kept to a minimum by serving bland foods only. It’s a good idea to instruct the person to eat while sitting and not lying down to keep upset stomach at bay.
- Make mint or ginger tea to ease an upset stomach. Soothing the gut is one of the most frequent dietary goals for someone with lung cancer. An upset stomach can be relieved quickly by allowing the person to slowly sip a cup of mint or ginger tea. Ensure that the beverage isn’t too hot to sear the mouth and throat of the individual.
- Serve high-fiber foods. Because of the treatment and lack of physical activity, a person with lung cancer may suffer from constipation. Regular bowel movement can be promoted by including in the daily diet foods that are high in fiber such as oatmeal and whole-grain products. Vegetables should be steamed for trouble-free consumption.