Diet for cancer patients is a very important component of treatment. The body needs enough calories and nutrients to stay strong and be better equipped to treat the cancer. Malnutrition and the loss of muscle mass can lead to a weaker body and immune system, which can in turn lower a cancer patient’s ability to recover from treatment. PubMed estimates that eating the optimal diet for cancer may reduce your cancer risk by up to 70% and can aid in recovery as well.
What are the Best Diets for Cancer Patients Before and After Treatment?
Before treatment it is important to eat healthy foods, since it is unknown how the body will react to treatment and what side effects may result. Therefore preparing the body with the right nutrients is essential.
Diet during treatment is also very important because treatment may cause side effects such as weight loss or loss of appetite. It is important to prevent these effects by getting the proper nutrition to remain strong for treatment and to continue fighting the cancer. Eating foods that are high in protein is a good way to help repair any damage from treatment and maintain necessary muscle mass.
High protein foods include:
- Lean meats
What Diets to Follow to Avoid Side Effects?
To better manage certain effects from treatment, there are specific diets you can follow to prevent or relieve these effects.
- For nausea: it is best to avoid high-fat, greasy or spicy foods.
- When having issues to do with the mouth such as sores, pain, or issues swallowing: it is best to eat lukewarm, soft foods and avoid rough, spicy, or acidic foods that are too hot or too cold.
- When dealing with diarrhea or constipation: it is important to stay hydrated and manage the percentage of high fiber foods depending on which condition experienced.
It is important to remember that no diet can directly cure cancer and there is no substantial research to back up a claim that a specific diet, like vegetarian or vegan, is best for cancer treatment. It is best to stick with your regular balanced diet of lean proteins, veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Limiting sugar, caffeine, salt, and alcohol is also recommended. Before making any drastic changes to your diet, always consult with your doctor.