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What to Eat During Cancer Treatment- March Cancer Demystified

One of the most common questions asked by a newly diagnosed cancer patient who is beginning treatment is, “What should I eat during my treatment?”

Cancer and cancer treatments may affect taste, smell, appetite, and the ability to eat enough food or to absorb the nutrients from food. But, good nutrition remains critical to help patients maintain their body weight and strength during treatment.

Many foods can help a cancer patient maintain good nutrition during treatment.  Concentrated liquid supplements such as Boost and Ensure are good sources for calories. A great source of nutrients and proteins are eggs, which tend to be easy to swallow. Beans and legumes are also rich in protein. Dark green leafy vegetables are packed with vitamins and iron. To help ward off dehydration are the electrolytes found in broth and sports drinks.  Additionally, milk and dairy products add vitamin D and protein to your diet.

Other items may improve conditions for the patient. For example, ginger and peppermint can help decrease nausea and vomiting, while eating yogurt can help control diarrhea.  If food begins to taste bland, seasoning it with flavorful spices such as garlic, cayenne, dill, or rosemary may help.

Finally, eating several small meals throughout the day instead of trying to eat large amounts of food at one time is often beneficial.

Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after cancer treatment can help the patient feel better and stay stronger. Many patients find that after their diagnosis, they are determined to eat better and live a healthier life.

Posted In: Cancer Demystified by Dr. Kris Gast
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