According to Dr. Richard Nahas, people with cancer need to go through a certain type of diet. That way, they can maintain their strength to recover from chemotherapy and other treatments.
Let’s check out how to maintain a healthy diet during chemotherapy.
1. Eating before chemotherapy – Before the chemotherapy begins, you need to eat healthily and maintain a moderate weight for your age and height. Your diet should include a lot of whole grains, lean proteins, fruits and veggies, healthy fats and legumes. It’s best to avoid excessively processed food, added sugars and refined carbohydrates during this time since they can lead to fluctuating blood sugar levels and make you gain weight more easily.
You can reduce the risk of infection and cope with the side effects of chemotherapy better if you maintain a healthy diet and moderate weight before the chemotherapy. You’ll also increase the chances of receiving treatment without unplanned breaks. Motivate yourself to eat healthy by getting rid of processed and unhealthy items from the pantry and the fridge.
Instead, stock them with healthier options. If you like to cook, get fresh ingredients. Otherwise, consider frozen meals made from healthy ingredients or choose meals that take little to no preparation and can be cooked quickly. You can also cook food in big batches and freeze it in meal-sized portions. The goal is to eat healthily and not order processed unhealthy fast food out of laziness.
2. Eating during chemotherapy – When the treatment starts, your body will need a lot of proteins and carbs to recover from the treatment. During this period, your appetite would change and food that you may start to like food that you didn’t enjoy before. It’s the best time for experimenting and trying out new healthy food.
During this time, you need to pump your body with a lot of phytonutrients. These are plant compounds like carotenoids, lycopene, phytosterols and more. Research shows that they have health-protecting properties, and you can get them in abundance from brightly coloured and green veggies and fruits. If you feel like snacking, choose protein-rich options like seeds and nuts, Greek yoghurt, or hard-boiled egg whites.
3. Eating after chemotherapy – After going through chemotherapy, you need to check up with the cancer care team to find out about food and other restrictions. During this period, avoid raw nuts, raw fish and seafood like sushi and oysters, and foods that are fried, spicy or sugary. It’s also important to not be thrifty during this period and avoid perishable foods that have sat outside the fridge for more than two hours. Get a lot of protein, whole grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables and avoid alcohol as much as possible.
Dr. Richard Nahas suggests that you use the above-mentioned tips to make sure that you stay on a healthy diet during your chemotherapy. Eat food that is rich in protein, fibre and phytonutrients. If you feel a loss of appetite, snack in small portions and drink a lot of liquid.