Importance of Balanced Diet for Cancer Patients
Cancer is a dreaded disease and its treatment can be hard on a patient’s body. Certain cancers are caused directly or indirectly by food. This makes it extremely important to maintain nutritious diet for cancer patients.
Requirement for Balanced Diet
As a cancer patient has to go through chemotherapy, radiation and other forms of severe treatments, it can be very difficult for the patient as these treatments have an extreme effect on the body; hence the patient requires extra care. A cancer patient should be given nutritious food not only for strength but to speed up the recovery process also.
Food items like whole grains, fruit and vegetable juice, lean meat like fish and chicken and dried fruits provide nutrition and strength for a cancer patient. Diet for cancer patients should include various kinds of wholegrain bread and cereal drink only fruit or vegetable juice, eat lots of vegetables and fruits and take as much as vegetarian food as possible. Their diet must include green leafy salads and they must eat at short intervals.
How often & What food items to be included?
Dr. Vinod Raina, a renowned oncologist says
Often a cancer patient looses appetite and the food tastes unpleasant to him. But it is necessary to eat at short intervals whether there is appetite or not. This is because strength is needed to cope with the treatment. High calorie nutrient rich food such as nuts, beans, puddings and cereals if eaten at short intervals are easily digestible due to high fiber content and provide adequate strength to the patient. A cancer patient should never wait to feel hungry but should take food regularly to avoid more medicines.
Tomatoes, carrots, peas and turnips are good sources of vitamins. Tomatoes and parsley have proven to be very good for prostate cancer patients. Broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage should be added in a meal as they reduce further risk of cancer. Bitter gourd and green leafy vegetables are good sources of calcium and iron. Asparagus and brussels sprouts detoxify the body of the patient.
Diet for cancer patients should include fruits like orange, banana, kiwi, peach, mango, pear, strawberry, apricot, guava, avocado, fig, prune and raisin that very good for providing energy. The protein required by a cancer patient can be taken in by adding lean meat like fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, nuts, dried beans, chickpeas and soy to the diet. Carbohydrates can be taken in the form of rice, grains, oats and corn. Honey taken in a moderate quantity has proved to be very good for healing cancer.
Easing Side Effects with Food
A cancer patient often becomes constipated which can be overcome by drinking lots of water and eating food with high fiber content like beans, lentils, vegetables and dry fruits.
Certain treatments can cause diarrhea, hence diet for cancer patients should include rice, bananas and apples along with drinking lots of water.
Mouth sores can be avoided by eating boiled food and drinking soups and fruit shakes.
Food to Avoid
Diet for cancer patients should not include oily and greasy food, heavy meals and partially cooked food. It has been found that red meat like bacon, ham and sausages are sources of cancer so they should be avoided as much as possible. Intake of sugar and salt should be very limited and preserved food items like pickles and jams should be avoided altogether. High intake of saturated fat increases the risk of prostate cancer hence food with fatty acids are a strict no- no for cancer patients. According to a research, increased meat intake increases the risk of colon cancer. Hence, as far as possible vegetarian diet should be followed by the cancer patient.
Studies indicate that alcohol causes cancer of the mouth, throat, pharynx and esophagus as it has a direct effect on the tissues thus it should be avoided by cancer patients. Excessive intake of vitamin supplements should also be avoided as they act as anti oxidants.
According to a top oncologist in Mumbai,
During cancer treatment the patient’s immune system becomes very weak, thus special care should be taken that the food consumed is non-contaminated. Diet for cancer patients should not be partially cooked. Fruits and vegetables consumed by the patient should be washed thoroughly. Fruits like berries and grapes should be avoided as they are impossible to wash properly leading to high pesticide content. Drinking water should be either filtered or boiled or mineral.
This write-up was contributed by Credihealth content team:
Credihealth is India’s No.1 Medical Assistance company. Credihealth gives guidance to a patient from the first consultation through the entire hospitalization process. A team of in-house doctors and medical experts helps the patient find the right doctor, book appointment, request cost estimate for procedures and manage admission & discharge processes.
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