Minimizing Cancer Treatment Side Effects Through Nutrition
When you are first diagnosed with cancer, you realize you are in for the fight of your life. Then come the treatments that can be very exhausting. When you are in such a serious fight, you will want all the weapons at your disposal. The doctors have done their part. But there are also some things you can be doing to make the process easier on yourself. Let’s have a look at a few ways to minimize cancer treatment side effects through nutrition.
A sometimes-overwhelming feeling of fatigue is a common complaint heard among cancer patients undergoing treatment. Many treatments like chemotherapy do not target only cancer cells — they affect even healthy cells. Fortunately, proper nutrition can help here. Sometimes, cancer treatments destroy blood cells. The resulting anemia, while often temporary, can cause fatigue. You can help rebuild your blood by supplementing with a multivitamin. Make sure it contains iron to help build red blood cells. Once your red blood cell count rebounds, you should have more energy since your body is getting more oxygen.
Sometimes, cancer treatments or the cancer itself can cause weight loss. This can be caused by muscle wasting or lack of appetite. It is important to maintain a healthy weight to give the treatments the best chance of success. Be sure that you are getting enough protein. You will want to eat lean meats like skinless chicken, turkey, and fish. If allowed, combining this with exercise should ensure that you maintain a healthy weight during and after treatment.
Mouth Sores and Ulcers
One common side effect from radiation is mouth sores and ulcers. These will heal in time, but you will want to minimize any irritation as they heal. Avoid foods that are very spicy. These foods often contain things like salt, red pepper, and other spices that can irritate inflamed tissue and gums. You also should avoid foods like chips and crackers. These snacks are loaded with salt and also tend to have sharp edges that can irritate a sensitive mouth. You could also focus on foods like smoothies, shakes, and juices that can be taken in through a straw.
Taken together, these tips should help minimize any side effects you may be experiencing. The sacrifices you make now will serve you well as you make a complete recovery from cancer.