There are few things in life more terrifying than a cancer diagnosis. It affects not only the patients, but their loved ones who often feel powerless in the face of such a medical nightmare. While treatment ultimately lies in the hands of doctors at an institution, there are ways you can help your loved one through their diagnosis all the way to recovery. One of the most powerful ways to do this is through effective nutrition.
Diet’s primary role in fighting cancer is essentially threefold. Food helps patients to maintain a healthy weight and body tissue, provides energy to fight the cancer, and supplies the nutrients to stave off infection during treatment. Cancer treatments take a significant toll on the body, so proper nutrition is essential for combating both the cancer itself and the side effects of chemotherapy.
Cancer of any type has repercussions throughout the body and this includes digestion. It can affect the ability of the body to properly obtain nutrients from food, especially in cases of stomach cancer. Many patients struggle to eat while dealing with cancer, so finding foods that are both easy to digest and provide a complex supply of vitamins and nutrients is essential.
To help combat weight loss and maintain lean muscle mass, focus on lean proteins with healthy fats. This includes meat like chicken or plant sources like beans. Peanut butter is also a valuable source of protein and contains useful dietary fiber as well. Red meat is difficult to digest and over-consumption leads to a host of medical problems, including cancer, so eat it sparingly, if at all.
Since cancer can affect bowel function, it’s also important to incorporate healthy amounts of fiber. Stick to fibrous foods that also provide significant nutrients. Rather than wheat or cereals, stick to vegetables as they offer a more varied vitamin profile. If using wheat products, stick to whole grains since they are less processed and therefore retain their nutritional value. Healthy servings of fruit are also recommended. Stick to fruits with a high water content, such as any from the melon family, since dehydration is often an issue for cancer patients.
Since cancer treatments can negatively impact the immune system, it is vital to practice cleanliness in the kitchen. Learn the basics of safe handling of food for cancer patients. Clean vegetables thoroughly, maintain healthy practices when thawing meat, and thoroughly clean all cutlery and other utensils, since they can be breeding grounds for dangerous bacteria.
Doing Your Part
While you can’t fight your loved one’s battle for them, you can do your part by providing them with the nutrition they need. Healthy meats, fibrous vegetables, and water-rich fruits have the nutrients those with cancer need to maintain their strength and improve their prognosis. Assisting with your loved one’s diet after a cancer diagnosis will not only help to improve their condition, but will also show that you’re willing to do everything within your power to support them.
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband. If you want to learn more about cancer treatment, Dixie recommends visiting a site like Silver Cancer Institute.