Healthy Eating Tips for the Cancer Patient

I have been a cancer nurse for over 12 years now. Nutrition for cancer patients has been of interest to me for several years. Many booklets address this situation. Treatment can cause painful mouth sores, nausea, and vomiting. All which interfere with the ability to eat. Certain food smells can also prevent a cancer patient from wanting to eat. Some chemotherapy causes a metal like taste to appear. This also decreases the ability to want to eat. Many articles I have read talk about how to increase the calorie intake. Much of what I have read, points to eating foods with rich gravies and eating calorie dense foods.

May I suggest a different approach? I approach eating with more nutritional dense foods verses calorie dense foods. Calorie dense foods would be gravies, breads, cakes, pies, puddings, and ice cream. I have actually read these suggestions in book form from highly recognized cancer resources. This has always disturbed me. Our cells are living entities. It is known that cancer cells like a sugar rich environment. When increasing calories in the diet, it is my belief those calories need to be nutrition dense versus calorie dense. Protein is also needed for healthy tissue repair, and to help our bodies fight disease. Let’s discuss a few ways to add nutritional, and healthy calorie dense foods to your diet.

Fats: Adding healthy oils to the diet, instead of using margarine and foods containing trans fats. Think of ways to add olive oil to the diet. I also have a recipe that makes a great topping that uses an organic coconut oil, flax seed oil, garlic and onion. This is great over round potatoes, and whole grain breads. Avocados are a great source of healthy fat.

Proteins: When you are nauseated or have a metal taste in your mouth, it is often difficult to get the amount of protein needed to build promote healthy muscle tissue, and healthy tissue repair. At times like this, I believe making a nutritional dense, high protein smoothie can help. These have little smell, and are usually cold. You can use fresh or frozen fruits, a few handfuls of spinach (you don’t taste the spinach), stevia to help with sweetness, and proteins such as tofu, plain greek yogurt, and healthy protein powders.

Carbohydrates: Carbohydrates are necessary for energy. Try to stay away from sugary puddings, and other sugar dense foods. Add fresh or frozen fruits to smoothies. Try finely chopped vegetables high in cancer fighting properties like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots. Try dipping in hummus instead of a commercially prepared salad dressing. Hummus is made from chick peas and can be prepared easily, or purchased at the grocery store in a variety of flavors.

Cold foods are usually better tolerated than hot foods. Avoid highly spiced foods. Salt and pepper can even sting the mouth when you have mouth soreness. Smoothies are my first choice to get nutrition when you just do not want to eat. I have a free smoothie recipe book available if you contact me.

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