Undergoing rounds of chemotherapy can take a toll on your nutritional health. Whether you've experienced rapid weight loss, nausea or a suppressed appetite, it's important to eat a diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants.
According to the American Cancer Society, cancer survivors should consume at least five servings of a variety of vegetables and fruits each day. If you're planning your diet around chemotherapy, follow these nutritional tips to ensure optimal health:
- Eat more protein. While your diet plan may vary depending on your type of cancer and ongoing treatment, physicians often recommend high-protein diets for chemotherapy patients. Eating cheese, eggs, chicken, ice cream, beans and other high-protein foods may help you rebuild damaged skin tissue and maintain strength.
- Eat when you feel most hungry. Regardless of when you have the strongest appetite, it's important to eat. Whether it's late at night or extremely early in the morning, never ignore food cravings.
- Properly prepare food. Before you eat vegetables, fruits or meat, ensure all food is handled hygienically. Eating improperly cooked meats or unclean vegetables and fruits increases your risk of developing infections or contracting illness. While it's important for all people to ensure hygienic food preparation, it's vital to chemotherapy patients due to their weakened immune system.
Although chemotherapy can positively alter the course of cancer, it often causes extreme fatigue. Killing malignant cancer cells and healthy ones simultaneously, chemotherapy causes extensive side effects that affect the entire body. Whether your chemotherapy fatigue is acute or chronic, its side effects can drastically impact your daily life.
According to the British Medical Journal, supervised exercise programs that involve high- and low-intensity cardiovascular and resistance training can help reduce fatigue among patients undergoing chemotherapy. While exercise may help you manage fatigue, it's also important to avoid stressful situations, participate in activities during times you are less fatigued and engage in regular relaxation habits. If your fatigue continues to worsen, talk to your physician about the possibility of depression.
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