Having good nutrition is the basis of health for all stages of life. However, when faced with a diagnosis such as cancer, consuming the right foods can play a very important role in helping patients better cope with the disease.
According to Dr. Gabriel Gómez, Regional Medical Director for Latin America from Abbott, "maintaining a balanced nutritional intake after diagnosis can help effectively prevent weight loss and muscle loss. Maintain, and still increase, weight, muscle mass and strength are indicators of adequate evolution to maintain health. "
Adequate nutritional status, and the amount of muscle mass during a disease such as cancer will determine the beneficial facts for that person. Multimodal forms of treatment such as surgery, chemo, radio, immunotherapy or the union of several or all of these, require that the person has sufficient body composition so that care can be tolerated and fulfill its function in regaining health.
Unfortunately, staying well nourished can be a challenge, because some treatments, and the disease itself, can affect appetite and the ability to eat. It is important to ask the oncologist if he recommends a visit to a nutritionist who advises on eating plans during this critical moment. Here are five diet recommendations during cancer treatment.
1. Try to maintain the same calorie and protein intake: It is important to observe the consumption of protein and calories during treatment. Both nutritional components are very important to avoid losing weight and lean muscle mass, which is a common side effect in this case.
Although the number of calories and protein varies depending on the person, it is recommended to maintain an equal or slightly higher intake than before the diagnosis. However, if significant weight loss is observed before or during treatment, care must be taken to increase this amount further.
2. Loss of appetite: diseases and treatments often cause loss of appetite and food has a distorted, bitter or metallic taste, which can cause people to abandon their usual eating habits. Changes in this diet are only proven to be avoided and dangerous weight loss occurs. Independent weight before the diagnosis of the disease, this is not a sufficient period for weight loss or a strict diet.
To overcome the lack of appetite, it is recommended to try different foods at the beginning of the day which is the time when the body is more likely to receive food. In the face of the emergence of vomiting or inability to get complete nutrition through a normal or modified diet, it is recommended to add complete nutritional supplements designed to provide macro and micronutrients. Cancer patients who add oral supplements to their diet are better able to achieve their nutritional goals.
This supplement also has a higher amount of protein so people can maintain their muscle mass and regain strength and energy during treatment.
3. How to fight stomach disorders? In addition to changes in appetite, gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can inhibit the retention of nutrients needed during the treatment of this disease.
To deal with stomach problems, it is recommended to often eat food during the day rather than rely on three large meals. When choosing food, it is recommended to choose those with the highest calorie and protein content, such as sliced apples with peanut butter or apples and cheese.
4. About sugar: According to the United States Cancer Institute, sugar does not cause cancer, or accelerate cancer growth, or interfere with cancer treatment. Some diseased cells only have more glucose receptor channels in their membranes than healthy cells. From a scientific point of view, this only affects how researchers detect cancer cells, not how cells grow, multiply, or how diets affect them.
However, foods with high sugar content, often refined, do not have the nutrients needed to maintain a patient's health during treatment. This is what we call empty calories, which 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 giving as much as possible the small amount of sugar they may have.
5. What about soybeans? There are many myths about soybeans and their relationship to the possibility of hormone involvement in the body. However, products that contain soy protein have not been associated with cancer development or growth, as many people assume.
In fact, many studies have found that soy prevents cancer, such as premenopausal breast cancer. Soybeans are also high in protein, which means they can help prevent muscle waste and keep patients strong during treatment.