Nutrition for cancer patients is a helping factor in overcoming this disease, but of course, it never replaces the cancer treatment decided by the physician. In view of the importance of peaceful nutrition for cancer patients, we present in this article forms of nutrition for cancer patients, as well as list of prohibited and non-prohibited foods, and Nutrition for cancer patients during chemotherapy.
The importance of proper nutrition
A healthy and balanced diet is an invaluable part of maintaining health and improving the condition of people. Proper nutrition has many benefits for people, like:
- Choosing a balanced and varied diet is a practical step toward achieving a healthy lifestyle.
- A healthy diet is a rich source of vitamins and minerals that are essential for boosting immunity and healthy growth.
- A healthy diet can reduce the risk of some diseases.
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Proper nutrition to prevent cancer
A healthy diet plays an important role in preventing cancer. Everyone should follow dietary habits that reduce their risk of developing cancer later in life, and this is especially relevant for cancer survivors.
Healthy eating habits can help reduce the risk of obesity and thus reduce the risk of some types of cancer for adults. The following are recommendations for diet, weight, and physical activity to prevent cancer:
- Eat more plant foods such as grains, vegetables, fruits, and legumes.
- Eat less red meat and avoid processed meat.
- Stay away from high-calorie foods and sugary drinks.
- Avoid preservatives and eat less salt.
- Avoid consuming alcohol.
- Stay within a healthy weight range.
- Doing physical activity on a regular basis.
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Forms of nutrition for cancer patients
Healthy nutrition is important when suffering from cancer, as the body needs sufficient calories and important nutrients to stay strong during treatment. The patient should also stay away from poor nutrition. It is also necessary to adhere to the cancer treatments prescribed by the doctor. Below we will learn about the types of food that are prohibited for cancer patients (For all patients with cancer, such as: breast cancer, lung cancer and other types of cancer), as well as the food that is allowed for them to explain Forms of nutrition for cancer patients.
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Food prohibited for cancer patients
There are some foods that cancer patients should avoid, and among the forbidden foods for cancer patients, we mention the following about Nutrition for cancer patients:
Cooked and curried meat using high heat
Meat cooked using high heat includes red meat, grilled meat on sticks, deep-fried meat, and baked meat. When meat proteins are heated to high temperatures, they produce carcinogens called heterocyclic amines, and this is the case with bacon and sausage.
Nitrates and nitrites are carcinogens. But they are usually used in preserved foods such as pickles and jams as a preservative.
Undercooked meat, poultry, and fish are prohibited foods for cancer patients. Among these types we mention: Sushi, cold cuts, and meats cooked with dry processing, such as salami and mortadella.
Unpasteurized dairy products and moldy cheeses
Unpasteurized milk and dairy products should be avoided, as should moldy cheeses, due to the inability of the immune system in cancer patients to deal with cheese mold normally.
Some vegetables and fruits
Some types of vegetables and fruits may be difficult to clean, such as lettuce, strawberries, and raspberries, so it is preferable to avoid eating them in case of neutropenia.
Grapefruit is known for its ability to interact with many medications, such as heart medications. Therefore, it is preferable for cancer patients to avoid it.
Green tea is generally considered safe, but it may reduce the effectiveness of some types of chemotherapy for leukemia.
Raw honey products contain botulism, which may cause illness and fatigue. Therefore, they are among the prohibited foods for cancer patients.
Taking nutritional supplements, such as vitamins, may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy in killing cancer cells. Because it contains a large number of antioxidants.
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Food allowed for cancer patients
After identifying the forbidden food for cancer patients, we note that the body needs many foods when suffering from cancer, and among the types of food allowed for cancer patients, we mention about Nutrition for cancer patients 4 types of foods allowed:
Proteins from nutrition during cancer
Cancer patients need more protein. Among the most beneficial sources of protein for cancer patients are low-fat meat, fish, chicken, and low-fat pasteurized dairy products.
Carbohydrates is one of nutrition in cancer patients
Carbohydrates provide the body with energy and can be obtained from vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, such as cauliflower and oats.
Fats are among the types of food allowed for cancer patients, but you should focus on eating monounsaturated fats, such as:
- Olive oil.
- Peanut oil.
- Canola oil.
- Polyunsaturated fats, such as flaxseed oil and corn oil.
Fiber is one of the types of food allowed for cancer patients. It helps control both constipation and diarrhea. Among the soluble fibers allowed for cancer patients, we mention oats and white rice, and among the insoluble fibers, we mention nuts, seeds, and bran.
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Nutrition for cancer patients during chemotherapy
When it comes to feeding cancer patients during chemotherapy, foods that are light in flavor, easy on the stomach, and rich in nutrients are the preferred options. Here are some foods that are beneficial for Nutrition for cancer patients:
Oats from nutrition during cancer treatment
Oats provide many nutrients that help the body during chemotherapy, as oats contain large amounts of carbohydrates, protein, and antioxidants, in addition to healthy fats. It also helps in regulating the intestines because it contains beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that feeds the healthy bacteria in the intestines.
Oatmeal’s neutral flavor and creamy texture are especially useful for reducing common side effects of chemotherapy such as dry mouth or mouth ulcers. To make a simple oatmeal dish, oats can be soaked in milk and refrigerated overnight. And in the morning you can add fresh berries, honey, and nuts.
Avocado from nutrition in cancer
Avocado is a suitable food in case of anorexia, as it contains calories and essential nutrients for the diet. It is a smart choice for people suffering from dry mouth, constipation, mouth ulcers, or losing weight, as it is filling, light and versatile at the same time. To eat, it can be mashed and spread on a piece of toast, or cut into slices and placed on top of a salad or soup.
Eggs is one of oncology nutrition
General fatigue is a common side effect of chemotherapy, and nutritional advice for better chemotherapy results urges eating eggs to combat fatigue due to their supply of protein and fat (one medium-sized egg contains approximately 6g of protein and 4g of fat). While fat provides the body with energy, protein helps maintain and build muscle mass, which is important during chemotherapy. Eggs can be prepared boiled or fried, as the soft texture of eggs makes them suitable if the patient suffers from mouth ulcers.
Taste changes are normal during chemotherapy, and in some cases, patients experience a change in the taste of water as well. It is a healthy alternative to keep your body hydrated and prevent dehydration in these situations. This boiling process makes the broth rich in sodium, potassium, chloride, and calcium which help the body perform its functions well. And eating broth can be useful in the event of loss of salt through vomiting due to chemicals, diarrhea, or heavy sweating.
It can be prepared by boiling water with vegetables and herbs, and poultry or meat can be added in addition to the bones. And to add more nutrients, especially in the case of dry mouth or decreased appetite, a spoonful of flavorless protein, such as collagen powder, can be consumed.
Almonds and nuts
Doctors and nutritionists encourage eating nuts a lot, such as almonds and cashews, to get better results from chemotherapy. This is because they can be eaten easily and at any time, in addition to containing abundant amounts of protein, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals.
Nuts contain powerful antioxidants that help fight free radicals that damage cells. Nuts can be added to oatmeal or other dishes. In the case of a dry mouth, it may be difficult to eat nuts. In such cases, one can choose nut butter instead.
Pumpkin seeds are a healthy option to eat as a snack for cancer patients between treatment appointments. They are rich in fats, protein, and antioxidants like vitamin E, which can help fight inflammation.
It should be noted that some treatments, such as a blood transfusion, may increase the risk of high iron in the blood, and in such a case, one should be careful not to eat pumpkin seeds and other iron-rich foods.
Broccoli contains a large amount of vitamin C, which is essential for the immune system. Research has shown that sulforaphane in broccoli helps reduce inflammation and protects cells from damage, which is especially significant when undergoing chemotherapy.
Broccoli can be cooked or grilled with olive oil and a bit of salt. Lemon juice can be squeezed over it if you suffer from changes in your sense of taste.
Fish from diet during and after cancer treatment
It is healthy to eat two servings of fish per week during the chemotherapy period, as it contains protein and omega-3 fatty acids. With regard to the nutrition of cancer patients during the period of chemotherapy, it is extremely crucial that their diet includes omega-3 acids, which are characterized by their anti-inflammatory properties.
Throughout this article, we have learned about the best practices in nutrition for cancer patients and Forms of nutrition for cancer patients, discussed foods that a cancer patient prefers to eat, as well as foods that he should avoid, and Nutrition for cancer patients during chemotherapy.