Good nutrition is the foundation of health at all stages of life. However, when facing a diagnosis like cancer, eating the right foods can play a very important role in helping the patient better deal with his illness.
According to Dr. Gabriel Gomez, Regional Director of Latin America for Abbott, "Maintaining a balanced nutritional income after diagnosis can effectively prevent weight loss and loss of muscle." Keeping and enhancing, weight, muscle mass and strength are an indicator of reasonable development to maintain health.
Adequate nutritional status and amount of muscle mass during illness, such as cancer, is a beneficial reality for a person. Multimodal forms of treatment, such as surgery, chemotherapy, radio, immunotherapy, or the combination of some or all, require a person to have the appropriate body composition in order for the treatment to be tolerated and to fulfill his function of restoring health.
Unfortunately, maintaining good nutrition can be a challenge because some treatments and the disease itself can affect the appetite and eating ability. It is important to ask the oncologist to recommend a visit to a nutritionist who advises on the eating plan at this critical time. Here are five diet recommendations during cancer treatment.
1. Try to maintain the same intake of calories and proteins: It is important to monitor the consumption of protein and calories during treatment. Both nutrients are necessary to prevent weight loss and muscle mass, which in these cases are often side effects.
Although the amount of calories and protein varies depending on the person, it is recommended to maintain a similar or slightly higher intake than before the diagnosis. However, if significant weight loss is observed before or during treatment, care should be taken to increase this value further.
2. Loss of appetite: Disease and its treatment often cause a loss of appetite, and food has a distorted, bitter or metallic taste that can lead to people leaving their usual eating habits. These changes in the diet are evident until exclusion and harmful weight loss occur. Irrespective of the weight before diagnosis of the disease, it is not an adequate time to lose weight or reduce dieting.
To combat lack of appetite, it is recommended to try different foods at the beginning of the day, which is the time the body receives food. Due to the occurrence of vomiting or inability to get complete nutrition through normal or modified diet, it is recommended to complete a complete nutritional supplement that is designed to provide macro and micronutrients. Patients with oncological diseases who add oral supplements are better able to achieve their nutritional goals.
These supplements also have higher amounts of protein so people can maintain muscle mass and regain power and energy during treatment.
3. How to fight stomachs? In addition to changes in appetite, problems with the gastrointestinal tract, such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, may prevent the retention of nutrients needed to treat this disease.
To combat stomach problems, it is recommended to eat frequent foods during the day instead of relying on three large meals. When choosing a meal, we recommend choosing the ones that have the highest calorie and protein content, such as apple slices with peanut butter or apples and cheeses.
4. About sugar: According to the United States Cancer Institute, sugar does not cause cancer or accelerates the growth of cancer, nor does it interfere with cancer treatment. Some diseased cells have multiple channels of glucose receptor in their membranes compared to healthy cells. From a scientific point of view, it only affects how researchers detect cancer cells, not how they grow, multiply, or how the diet affects their cells.
High-sugar foods, often refined, lack the necessary nutrition to keep patients healthy during treatment. This is what we call empty calories that should be avoided because they only provide carbohydrates and not other important nutrients. It is important to focus on eating healthy and balanced foods and not paying attention to the small amount of sugar they may have.
5. What about soy? There are many myths surrounding soy and its relationship to the possible involvement of hormones in the body. However, products containing soy protein have not been associated with the development or growth of cancer, as many people expect.
Even many studies have found that soy prevented cancer, such as premenopausal breast cancer. Soy has a high protein content, which means it can help prevent muscle loss and keep patients strong during treatment.