Nutrition for chemotherapy
What to eat while doing chemotherapy and the end of the chemotherapy sessions
NUTRITIONAL SUPPORT DURING AND AFTER CANCER TREATMENT
Feeding patterns between sessions of chemotherapy
Usually chemotherapy is performed in sessions with breaks of 2-3 weeks for the body to recover and to tolerate chemotherapy treatment better.
Chemotherapy treatment can be responsible for digestive symptoms such as:
- Anorexia, loss of appetite, nervous stomach
- Dry mouth (xerostomia)
- Stomach pain or bellyache
GENERAL GUIDELINES FOR CHEMOTHERAPY DIET
Drink at least 2 litters of liquid
Dinking very much is VERY IMPORTANT throughout the chemotherapy treatment because all toxins must be removed by the kidneys. There have been cases of renal failure because of not drinking enough fluids.
Beverages that are recommended:
- Apple or pear juice
- Carrot juice
- Apple-Carrot juice
- (Not too hot) warm vegetable broth
- Vegetable drinks organic soy type
Maintain so much hygiene as possible
The immune system is depressed, so avoid possible infection through food or environmental sources. The basic precautions are:
- Clean hands before cooking and clean utensils well (in the dishwasher).
- Buy canned or frozen vegetables (packaged vegetables are usually prewashed). Wash vegetables before peeling.
- Do not eat food that has fallen to the ground, but "clean it up" with water.
- Keep food in the fridge. Do not eat food that has been out of the fridge for long. Thaw frozen food from the fridge.
- Do not eat home-canned "vacuum packed" food.
Keep a proper diet
A proper diet is suitable for the digestive organs to tolerate the chemotherapy treatment so as to diminish its side effects. All dietary changes should always be consulted with a doctor. Recommended foods are:
- Oil or extra virgin olive oil with low acidity (0.2 °)
- White fish (monkfish, hake, cod, etc., frozen or fresh), egg, cheese (or low-fat cheeses)
- Consult your doctor if you can take yogurt (if tolerated) or yogurt with bifidus if constipation. In some cancers like leukemia it is not convenient to take this food because the lactic bacteria of yogurt increase immunity.
Consult with your doctor
Walking In Sunshine 10 minutes a day to make vitamin D.
DIET AFTER A SESSION OF CHEMOTHERAPY
Soft diet high in calories
Soft foods improve swallowing problems so chemotherapy patients can ingest more calories. A soft diet is easier to swallow, and it must be very rich in nutrients. It must include such nutritious foods as:
- Apple juice: Apple juice stimulates the production of saliva. (Drink natural apple juice during meals).
Turmeric to strengthen the body
Turmeric is one of the most recommended spices. It contains curcumin and curcuminoids, yellow pigments with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and hepatoprotective properties.
Scientific studies have shown that turmeric helps improve the health of the body and repair the damage caused by cancer medication.
Specifically, it could help correct the damage to the heart and kidneys caused by doxorubicin in chemotherapy .
DIET BETWEEN CHEMOTHERAPY SESSIONS
After the chemotherapy sessions and once starting to relax, chemotherapy treatment symptoms are decreasing. We already can introduce some foods that have had to be avoided during the period of chemotherapy.
Food should be introduced gradually, observing at all times the patient's tolerance. The following advice should be taken into account:
Follow the basic diet, gradually adding these foods:
- Whole egg (not fried)
- Vegetables cooked and very small portions (chickpeas, lentils,...)
- Salads: raw fruits and vegetables.
- Dairy: First enter if tolerated yogurt and milk. (Some patients can be lactose intolerant)
Three days before the next session of chemotherapy, a diet for gastritis is recommended.
DIET AFTER CHEMOTHERAPY
The food patterns at the end of chemotherapy treatment are those of a balanced diet, if possible for cancer prevention.
- Avoid obesity
- Decrease saturated animal fats or industrial products
- Increase antioxidant foods (fresh fruits, juices, vegetables, grains, beans, all vegetables)
- Reduce consumption of smoked meats, pates and salt-cured foods.
More information on cancer and food in the listing above.
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.