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Guest Blog: Cancer and Nutrition

Please welcome guest blogger Jillian McKee, a Complimentary Medicine Advocate, to discuss proper nutrition when undergoing cancer and cancer treatment.

Cancer is a difficult situation for individuals, their family members and friends. However, eating nutritious food can help improve the quality of life during treatment, alleviate some symptoms, and offer strength and energy.

Nutrition Priorities

Eating healthy under normal circumstances is a good idea. Eating well when you have cancer is a priority, regardless of the type of cancer you may have, such as mesothelioma or any other type of cancer. Frame your eating plan around the following priorities:
            – Maintain a healthy weight
            – Promote muscle mass, strength, and energy
            – Find appealing foods that fit changing tastes and appetite levels

Nutrition Tips

Cancer patients may want to consult a registered dietitian to help find foods that are healthy and also easy to chew and digest.

Consider adding beverages, such as protein shakes, if eating meals becomes difficult. However drinking liquids during meals may increase nausea. A Stanford article suggests that cancer patients take medications with high calorie liquids or shakes. If your appetite is low, light exercise can help stimulate your appetite.

Choose foods high in protein in order to increase energy and maintain weight. Recommended levels of protein for cancer patients are approximately 45 to 60 grams daily. Foods high in protein include cheese, meat, peanut butter, eggs, cottage cheese, yogurt, milk and dried beans.

Avoid spicy foods, overly hot or cold foods, and foods with strong odors. These can make food appear less appetizing and become more difficult to eat.

Nutrition Recommendations

Before beginning cancer treatment make sure that you have plenty of easy-to-eat foods available to you. When preparing food, make and store extras to be easily accessed later. The extras should also be easy to finish making, such as a few minutes in the microwave. If you are too tired to create food, ask friends or family to help cook and deliver meals to you while you are in treatment.

As always, remember to speak with your doctor to receive information on how to handle nutrition during and after cancer treatment.

 

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