Cancer Patient Diet
Cancer patients should avoid stringent food restrictions
Since cancer treatments often cause side-effects like nausea and taste changes leading to a loss of appetite, it is important that patients don’t have too many dietary restrictions imposed on them.
“The strategy is to serve them their favourite foods without too much fuss on the finer aspects of a healthy diet. Yet, it is preferable to avoid excessive intake of salt, sugar and oil,” Ms Chang explains.
A good diet for a cancer patient contains a mix of vegetables and meat, and avoids extremely sweet and oily foods. Preferred cooking methods are steaming, boiling, and stir-frying rather than deep frying, grilling, barbequeing and baking.
A balanced diet should provide the body with proteins (to build tissues, prevent infection, heal wounds and maintain a healthy immune system), carbohydrates and fats (energy sources), vitamins and minerals (for proper growth, body functioning) and, most importantly, plenty of water and fluids to prevent dehydration.
Foods to include in your diet as a cancer patient:
Tomatoes, carrots, peas, pumpkin and turnips for vitamins and fibre
Tomatoes, tomato puree and parsley (especially good for prostate cancer patients)
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage contain plant chemicals that can convert bad oestrogen into good oestrogen, and hence reduce cancer risk as well as the risk of a relapse
Asparagus and Brussel sprouts for their rich antioxidants
Bitter gourd for lowering blood sugar levels
Green leafy vegetables for calcium and iron
Oranges provide vitamin C
Bananas, kiwi, peaches, mangoes, pears and strawberries for vitamins and fibre
Avocadoes, guava, apricots, figs, prunes and raisins for energy
Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, tauhu and taukwa
Dairy products, nuts, dried beans, dhals and chickpeas
Fish and soy foods (especially good for prostate cancer patients)
Rice, noodles, chapatti, wholegrain bread and pasta
Wholegrain crackers, oats, corn, potatoes, beans and dairy products
Honey, consumed in moderation for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which may help in preventing infections
Foods to avoid as a cancer patient
Deep fried, grilled, barbequed, baked meats since subjecting animal protein to high heat creates carcinogenic byproducts called heterocyclic amines
Excessive intake of salt, sugar, and oily foods
Red meat and processed meats such as bacon, ham, sausages
Preserved foods like pickles, jams, kiam chye (salted mustard green), and century eggs as they contain nitrites which are carcinogenic
Additionally, cancer patients should avoid excessive intake of vitamin supplements, as they act as antioxidants and can interfere with chemotherapy when taken in large doses.
Other diet tips for cancer patients
A healthy diet is even more important for cancer patients, so it is important to eat well even if you don’t always feel like it.
Be open to trying new foods. There may be a silver lining: Due to taste changes, foods you never liked before may taste good during treatment!
Source : Cancer Patient Diet
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