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Managing a healthy diet, with health concerns. - Part 2 - Cancer. - Group Talk - Week Comm 24/10/22.


After receiving a diagnosis of Cancer, many look to addressing their diet, recognising their whole health and well-being are paramount.

This often resorts to asking lots of questions of the Doctors, reading books, researching the internet and reading media. In addition friends and family also making recommendations.

All this information can be overwhelming and perplexing.


So how should we nourish our bodies after receiving a Cancer diagnosis to move forward positively, knowing we are addressing our whole health and well-being.


Although there are many extreme diets that claim to benefit cancer patients, the most up-to-date evidence show that dietary recommendations do not drastically change from before a diagnosis and afterwards.


Eating a balanced diet with proper nutrition can help heal our bodies from Cancer treatments and their side effects. (Mouth sores, low appetite, nausea and vomiting)


A healthy diet will support you to maintain health y body tissue, reduce Cancer symptom's and some side effects caused by treatment, support a healthy immune system, maintain your strength and reduce lethargy, improving your life quality.


If you are diagnosed with Cancer your healthcare team will include a registered dietitian who specialises in oncology nutrition and if appropriate will devise a specific eating plan for your personal overall health needs.

This is not always required and the following is based on general recommendations to maintain overall health and well-being whilst living with Cancer.


Eating a diet consisting of whole, nutrient-dense foods:-

  • Fruit

  • vegetables

  • Whole grains

  • Legumes (Beans)

  • Chicken/Turkey

  • Fatty Fish (Trout/Salmon)

  • Lentils

  • Nuts

  • Eggs

Foods to avoid

  • Alcohol - as could interact with the cancer drugs being taken

  • Spicy, crunchy or Acidic Foods - these can acerbate mouth soreness, a common side effect of chemotherapy.

  • Uncooked food - due to having a higher risk of infection avoid uncooked foods (Sushi/Oysters). Make sure your meats and poultry are fully cooked before consumption. also avoid foods that are out of date or been left in the fridge a while after a previous meal.

  • Processed meats - linked with lower dietary quality

  • Sugar-sweetened drinks - helps maintain a health weight

  • Highly processed foods and refined grains - are generically bad for our overall health.


Tips for eating healthy.


  • Reducing meal sizes - Symptoms caused by treatment af nausea, bloating and constipation, can make it hard to eat three meals a day meeting our calorie and nutritional needs, so eat smaller portions more regularly or graze to meet those needs.

  • Utensils - Chemotherapy can sometimes leave a bad taste/metallic taste in our mouths making food taste unpleasant. Swap metal utensils and cooking implements, to plastic/wooden cutlery or glass pots/pans instead.

  • Solid foods - If eating solid foods hurt, make soups or stews, so of a softer consistency.


Nutrients to focus on.


Protein - It is important to maintain muscle strength, and when we fight Cancer our bodies can become catabolic, which means it breaks down muscle strength, so we need eat protein rich foods:

  • fish

  • eggs

  • beans

  • lentils

  • meat

On average a person needs 1g of protein per 1kg of body weight daily, but if fighting Cancer the recommendation is to eat three times that, 3g per 1kg of body weight.


Vitamins and Minerals - Iron helps manage fatigue often a side effect of fighting Cancer, eating green leafy vegetables, eggs, chickpeas, lentils and red meat can boost your iron levels.


Fibre - Unfortunately Cancer treatment affects our guts hard, especially with chemotherapy or immunotherapies, causing nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhoea and loss of appetite. By eating nutrient rich fruit and vegetables during treatment we can nourish our guts, and the fibre helps reduce constipation. However eating your fruit and vegetables cooked not raw as they can be hard to digest when undergoing treatment.


Eating a well balanced nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight through out our Cancer treatment nourishes our body to aid recovery.


Resources:-


https://www.cancernutrition.org/resources/after-a-cancer-diagnosis-what-should-I-be-eating/


Good Housekeeping - October 2022 - No Appetite. What to eat when you have Cancer.


https://www.healthline.com/health/metastatic-breast-cancer/nutrition#foods-to-eat


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