Today instead of a regular recipe I bring you my first guest post by Jillian Mckee. She recently approached me, asking if I’d be interested in a guest post centered around the benefits of healthy eating during cancer. I happily share this post with you today, because though I don’t write on this matter myself I have done my own research and know the importance and effects of an altered diet during times of healing. I recently tailored my blog to include more diet friendly recipes, including whole sections with gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free and vegetarian recipes, to show you that even with those restrictions you can still make delicious recipes for everyone to enjoy.
Guest Post by Jillian Mckee
Maintaining adequate nutrition may be challenging for people experiencing cancer diagnosis and treatment. Unintentional weight loss related to anxiety, medical interventions, changes in taste and smell, and digestive upset may cause a nutritional deficit. As dietary needs change in different stages for cancer patients, preventing malnutrition and maintaining energy through a healthy diet is paramount.
Carbs are the primary fuel for the body and are used by all the cells in the body. Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains provide energy for the healing, movement, and wellbeing of the body. For extra calories, include starchy veggies in the diet for increased taste and add unsaturated oils to boost health. Avoid commercially prepared or white-processed foods with high levels of sugar content. Over processed foods cause blood sugar to become unstable and drain the body of energy.
The plant family offers nutrition and protection in many ways. Natural plant compounds contain antioxidants that protect and repair body tissues. Research suggests antioxidants slow certain cancer cells and decrease their ability to spread. Fruit and veggies contain flavonoids that reduce inflammation and help repair tissue damage from medical interventions and surgical procedures.
Cancer patient receiving chemotherapies and other medical interventions frequently experience a diminished appetite. Side effects of toxic drug therapies interrupt the absorption of food in the gastrointestinal tract and patients feel full after a few bites of food. Adding healthy fats to the diet can provide a higher caloric need without consuming unhealthy foods. Good fat sources contain Omega 3s and unsaturated fats. Unhealthy fats increase artery-clogging cholesterol and hinder the body from clearing toxic chemicals from the blood. Healthy Omega 3 fats include sardines, catfish, salmon, pumpkin seeds, sesame and canola oils, and macadamia nuts.
Due to treatments and medical therapies, cancer patients may find themselves with some periods of immobility. A brief time of inactivity can cause the body to lose muscle mass and strength. Protein consumption is important to reduce the loss of muscle tissues and enhance the immune system. Legumes contain the highest amount of protein sources of all the vegetables. Pinto, kidney, soybeans, and garbanzo beans are excellent and easily digestible sources of proteins. Vegetables with protein include watercress, cauliflower, artichokes, and sweet corn.
Cancer medications may cause mal absorption of food in the intestine and cause a sluggish bowel. In addition, inactivity and dehydration may contribute to constipation, gas, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. Including a diet high in fiber can help the digestive system to adjust and work correctly. Drink plenty of water and add fiber on a regular basis. As with any change, consult your doctor before making dietary changes because mesothelioma cancer needs may vary from breast or colon cancer needs.