Malnutrition is very common among cancer patients, most especially those who are undergoing chemotherapy. It is something that can actually have an impact on the treatment’s outcome. Weight loss is said to contribute to the poor prognosis of cancer patients because it keeps them from regaining acceptable blood count just before undergoing chemotherapy, according to the National Cancer Institute. To avoid unnecessary reduction in weight that delays treatments, malnutrition has to be avoided or addressed so that the desired outcome may be achieved.
In order to keep malnutrition at bay or have it managed, it’s important for a cancer patient to have a healthy diet. The consumption of foods that are rich in calories and protein is essential in order to promote the repair of damaged cells and tissues as brought about by chemotherapy. The said nutrients are also vital for the proper functioning of the organs. Generally, the total calorie and protein needs of someone undergoing chemotherapy should be increased.
Supplying the body with vitamins and minerals should also be done. All of them work together to boost the individual’s immune system as well as promote the repair of all the cells damaged by chemotherapy, from muscle cells to the blood’s platelets. Read on to know some of the foods that should be eaten by someone undergoing cancer treatment.
As earlier mentioned, it is very important to have the body supplied with protein in order to help it bounce back from chemotherapy. However, it’s not a good idea for the individual to opt for red and processed meat products as they may increase cancer risk. It is recommended to focus on eggs, chicken, turkey and fish, as well as plant sources packed with protein. Some good examples include nuts, seeds and soy.
Whether a person is undergoing chemotherapy or not, whole grains are more suitable for daily consumption rather than products with refined grains. Adding whole grains into the diet provides the energy the body needs to get itself repaired. Also, whole grains are very good at managing some of the digestive tract-related side effects of chemotherapy, such as constipation and diarrhea. Having some handy sources of whole grains like crackers, pretzels and muffins is a great idea so that the person has a ready and constant source of energy, preventing weakness and weight loss.
Foods with Healthy Fats
It’s true that unnecessary weight loss should be avoided by a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy. However, this doesn’t mean that it is perfectly fine for the person to become obese. The consumption of healthy unsaturated fats such as nuts, avocados, olive oil and fatty fish like herring, mackerel, tuna and sardines can help ward off weight loss. Low-fat dairy also helps the individual get extra amounts of calories, protein and calcium.
Lots of Fluids
Someone who is undergoing chemotherapy is prone to ending up dehydrated. It’s for this reason why drinking lots of fluids is important. Guzzling down 8 to 12 glasses of water daily should be done. Sucking on ice chips is very good for a person who is suffering from mouth sores due to chemotherapy. Drinking coffee, tea and 100% fruit juices is also fine to make sure that the person is getting all the fluids he or she needs.
The platelet count of someone undergoing chemotherapy is greatly diminished. To help bring the count back to normal, the inclusion of platelet-boosting foods in the daily diet is highly recommended. Fruits that are rich in vitamin C such as oranges, cantaloupes, papaya, berries, kiwis and guavas should be eaten. The same is true with dark green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach and Swiss chard. Pumpkin and beetroot are also said to help boost platelet count.