Although it is always important to focus on having healthy eating habits, nutrition becomes even more vital during cancer treatment. Both the disease and the therapy can take a toll on the body and mind, increasing a patient’s requirements for the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed to stay strong. Cindy Collins, PhD, RD with South Florida Radiation Oncology posts regularly about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle during and after cancer treatment. Below are a few tips that can help you to become aware of proper cancer nutrition and how to maintain a healthy diet during your treatment and recovery.
- Make sure that you are eating enough protein. Cancer, chemotherapy, and radiation treatment can all increase the body’s demand for protein. Increasing the amount of protein in your diet before and during your treatment can help you to fight fatigue and heal faster. Poultry and fish are excellent sources of protein and are packed with helpful nutrients, but if you find these difficult to digest, eggs, dairy products, and nut butters are also great protein sources.
- Watch your weight and ingest more calories if needed. Radiation and chemotherapy can affect the cells lining the digestive tract, resulting in reduced appetite and nausea. If you appear to be losing weight, eat foods that are calorie and protein dense or ask your physician what is best for your situation.
- Stay hydrated. According to the American Cancer Society, drinking enough fluids is a key element of cancer nutrition. Moreover, many side effects of treatment can actually result from dehydration. Try to drink eight to ten glasses of water a day or the volume recommended by your cancer specialist.
Would you like more information about eating a healthy, balanced diet during your cancer treatment? Cindy Collins, PhD, RD of South Florida Radiation Oncology provides our patients with expert advice on staying well and managing any ill side effects through the power of a healthy diet. If you are interested in learning more about Cindy or the variety of support services we offer to the families affected by cancer in our community, simply call us at (888) 823-9162.