How Does Cancer Affect Your Diet? 3 Nutrition Tips For Cancer Patients

A cancer diagnosis may change the way that you eat. You may be aware that cancer care treatments, like chemotherapy, can affect your appetite. You may not realize that both the treatments and the cancer itself may change the way that your body processes and reacts to certain foods. It can be difficult to maintain a healthy diet with all of these changes to your appetite and your body's ability to process food, but good nutrition is important to your recovery. No diet can cure cancer, but good nutrition certainly can help you fight it and aid in your recovery. Take a look at some important nutrition tips for cancer patients.

Consider Smaller, More Frequent Meals

Nausea and bloating are common side effects of cancer treatment and can be symptoms of the cancer itself. Large meals – especially those that consist of rich or fried foods, empty from the stomach slowly, which can exacerbate the problem.

Consider changing your eating habits to facilitate faster emptying from the stomach, which will decrease nausea and bloating. You can do this by eating smaller portions more frequently throughout the day. Avoid or cut down on heavy fried or rich foods in favor of more easily digestible foods like whole grains and fresh fruits and vegetables.

Cook Your Vegetables

Vegetables are good for you, and you should eat them. But raw veggies tend to be high in fiber, and too much fiber can also cause gastrointestinal upset when you're undergoing cancer treatment. Your best bet is to avoid eating raw vegetables.

Instead, cook your vegetables and add them to soups, stews, and other meals. Make sure to remove the skins from potatoes and sweet potatoes. Vegetable juices, like tomato and carrot juice, can also be a good way to get in a serving of vegetables. Just remember to strain the juices to get rid of pulp and seeds.

Minimize High-Fructose Fruits

Fructose is a type of sugar that naturally occurs in fruits. While some fructose is fine, there's a limit to how much of it your small intestine can absorb daily, and you may be more sensitive to it when you're undergoing cancer treatments.

Be aware of which fruits are especially high in fructose, like pears, papayas, apples, and mangoes. You can eat these fruits, but only in moderation. You can eat more of low-fructose fruits, like bananas, plums, citrus fruits, and peaches.

Don't be surprised to find that your tastes change while you're undergoing cancer treatment. Don't force yourself to eat things you hate. Choose foods that you like and that make you feel better, and don't be afraid to treat yourself to a less-than-healthy dessert or snack now and then. Make sure to discuss your diet with your doctor so that they can help you make treatment-friendly meal choices.