Improving Quality of Life With Nutrition
A cancer diagnosis is always difficult for an individual and his or her loved ones. The individual who is diagnosed with cancer has a long road of treatments and procedures that will change the way food looks, smells and is absorbed by the body. Nutrition is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle and is particularly important during and after cancer treatments.
Problems with Nutrition:
Cancer and its treatments change the body and ultimately the way the body uses nutrients. According to the National Cancer Institute, certain cancers can change the absorption or usage of nutrients, resulting in malnutrition or vitamin deficiencies despite eating a healthy amount. Because of this, proper nutrition is vital.
It is important when making nutrition plans for mesothelioma, breast cancer or other forms of cancer to learn about the potential changes to the body that will alter nutrient absorption. The best course of action is discussing the particular situation with a medical doctor before making any changes to the diet.
Basics of Good Nutrition:
A healthy diet is an important part of good nutrition, but during cancer treatments dietary changes are a necessity. Without care, the treatments and cancer can result in complications like vitamin deficiencies, so it is important to take measures to ensure the diet has enough nutrition to maintain a quality lifestyle.
A healthy diet during cancer treatments will often differ between patients. As a general rule, the American Cancer Society suggests a diet that contains protein, primarily unsaturated fats, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and plenty of water. Vitamin and mineral supplements are sometimes a necessary part of the diet when the cancer changes nutrient absorption, but this will vary based on doctor recommendations.
When selecting protein sources, the best option is plant-based protein like nuts, lentils and beans because it is easier for the body to break down and use during treatments.
Benefits of Nutrition:
Proper nutrition has key benefits that make it a necessity for cancer patients. The American Cancer Society points out that it improves quality of life by increasing strength, maintaining body weight, improving the body’s ability to recover from treatments, lowering the risk of developing infections and making patients feel much healthier.
Due to the improved physical feeling and faster healing times, nutrition plays a vital role in maintaining an active lifestyle during and after treatments. The National Cancer Institute suggests that maintaining a healthy diet during cancer treatments will not only improve the overall quality of life, it also helps the body replace tissues and maintain overall good health despite the harsh treatments.
Cancer changes the way men, women and children choose what to eat and absorb nutrients. It is hard to maintain a strong appetite due to chemotherapy and other cancer treatments. While side effects like nausea make it hard to eat a healthy diet, fighting cancer starts with a healthy body. A healthy body requires nutrition and a diet that helps improve the body’s ability to keep fighting.
About the Author
Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.
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