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Healthy Eating During Cancer Treatment

Well, I’m trying something new today–I have my first guest blogger! Her name is Kate Flaherty and she’s involved with the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance.  Here she shares some tips on healthy eating while undergoing treatment for cancer.

Chemotherapy and radiation are hard on a person’s system.
Often, they can make the cancer or mesothelioma
patient more uncomfortable than the actual disease. Proper diet and nutrition
can help ease the discomfort and symptoms of chemotherapy and radiation and
improve the cancer or mesothelioma prognosis.

While most people are familiar with the basic guidelines of eating healthy,
cancer can cause a whole new set of challenges. How do you get enough calories
in a day when your treatment is making you nauseated? Some treatments can
change the way you taste or smell food, making eating less pleasant. Additional
problems include constipation and diarrhea, fatigue and difficulty swallowing.

Prior to treatment, it is important to get your body in top shape so that it
can help the medications work and fight the cancer. The American Cancer Society has
several tips for getting your body nutritionally sound. Some tips include;

– Make plant-based foods a strong focus in your diet. Trade the meat for peas
and beans for a few meals each week.

– Try new and different foods. You never know what food might work for you
during treatment when nothing tastes the same.

– Choose a wide variety of fruits and vegetables every day. The more colorful
the fruit or veggie, the more powerful phytochemicals
it is likely to contain and these substances promote good health in a number of
ways.

– Limit fats. Stick to low-fat dairy and lean proteins. Bake or broil your
food instead of frying it.

– Avoid foods that are smoked, cured or pickled.

– Get plenty of exercise.

When cancer treatments have made eating feel like a chore, try some of these
tips to help:

– Don’t limit your favorite
foods
. Eat what you like, regardless of the time of day.

– Even if you don’t feel hungry, try eating a small meal every couple of
hours.

– Feel free to eat high calorie and high fat foods in moderation.

– You can increase your appetite with a little gentle exercise, like taking a
short walk.

– Try to maintain healthy eating habits as best you can. Incorporate fruits
and vegetables into your diet, eat whole grains and high quality proteins.
Keeping your body properly nourished will help fight the disease.

Good nutrition is important following your treatment as well. Your body is in
recovery mode and needs all the good nutrients it can get. Following many of
the tips for eating right before treatment starts will help. Asking for
assistance from a nutritionist or dietician who is familiar with cancer
treatment will also be incredibly helpful.

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