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Importance of a Healthy Diet for Cancer Patients

| Date Posted: 1/21/2013 | Author: Mandy McCue

Cancer and cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation, can take a toll on the body often leaving patients feeling sick or weak. That is why it is more important than ever to transition to a healthy diet. There are many foods out there that are packed full of cancer fighting antioxidants as well as cook books with recipes designed specifically for chemotherapy and radiation side effects such as nausea and fatigue.Cancer Nutrition

Foods Proper foods provide extra vitamins and nutrients important for cancer patients to regain strength and health. Some food categories that are important in a cancer patient’s diet are:

  • Protein
    • Keeps the immune system healthy and it facilitates growth.
    • It also helps repair body tissues such as skin, bone and muscles.
  • Fruits and vegetables
    • A great source of vitamins, nutrients and carbohydrates.
    • It’s important for patients with neutropenia to only consume fully cooked fruits or vegetables, as raw fruits and vegetables may have some bacteria that may cause problems because of the compromised immune system associated with it.
  • Moderate whole grains
    • Whole grains are a great source of carbs that give the body energy.
    • Cancer patients should stay away from bakery breads or any food prepared in a store or deli due to the risk of certain bacteria’s.
  • Low-fat dairy
    • Hard cheeses, low-fat pasteurized milk, and low-fat yogurt at the best choices for dairy consumption.
    • Imported cheeses, Mexican cheese, Cheese sliced in a deli or moldy cheeses like brie or feta, are not good choices for cancer patients due to increased bacteria.

Recipes When someone you know is going through cancer treatment, naturally you want help. Many times support comes in the form of comfort food. But for patients suffering from treatment side effects such as nausea, upset stomach or diarrhea heavy food is far from comforting.  There are recipes and cookbooks out there designed specifically for cancer patients and side effects they may be having. For example, cookbooks like Betty Crocker’s Living With Cancer Cookbook and American Cancer Society’s What to Eat During Cancer Treatment: 100 Great-Tasting, Family-Friendly Recipes to Help You Cope have several recipes all categorized by common symptoms to help patients and caregivers with symptom management.

If you or someone you know is being treated for cancer, keep those cookbooks in mind and for more information regarding nutrition and diets for cancer patients please visit our Pinterest page or call (910) 715-3500. FirstHealth’s FirstHealth Cancer Services treats patients in the Pinehurst, Raeford, Sanford, Laurinburg, Lumberton, Rockingham, and Troy regions of North Carolina and beyond.

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