A proper diet makes the difference when it comes to effectiveness of chemotherapy for cancer cure. In this article, we will stress on the dietary guidelines, i.e., the foods to eat and avoid, to be followed during chemotherapy to get the desired results in quick time.
Generally, the process of treating any disease by using chemicals, especially to kill microorganisms or cancerous cells, is known as chemotherapy. The term though, has become synonymous to the process of using antineoplastic drugs to treat cancer. Cancerous cells keep multiplying rapidly and chemotherapy helps in curbing the growth of these cells. In simple words, it is a drug therapy which stops the growth of cancerous cells in the body.
Although it’s beneficial in treating cancer, chemotherapy can also have some side effects on the person’s body. The treatment generally interferes with the person’s immune system, thus making him vulnerable to various infections. This can lead to furthermore complications and hence, it’s necessary for the person undergoing this treatment process, to take a nutrient-rich diet which will help in strengthening his immune system and make his body respond to treatment.
Cancer Chemotherapy and Your Diet
A nutritious diet during chemotherapy decreases the severity of its side effects. It also increases the effectiveness of this process and decreases the time taken, as a well-nourished body responds well to cancer treatment. A strong body will also help the patient withstand high doses of drugs with ease. Including essential nutrients in the diet will help the body rebuild normal tissues which are affected during this process. Being overweight, or underweight may hamper the treatment process, therefore it’s wise to follow a proper diet and be strong in order to see the desired effects at the earliest.
The diet of a person on chemotherapy should ideally include foods which provide adequate calories to suffice the energy requirements of the body and enough proteins to facilitate tissue growth and repair. At the same time, it should also include foods rich in vitamins, fats, minerals, and fluids.
Foods to Eat
Ideally, the person should resort to foods high in proteins, such as eggs, nuts, dairy, and beans. Vegetables, like pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and carrots; fruits, such as papaya and cranberries; and other foods that are high in antioxidants prove to be beneficial during chemotherapy. Carbohydrate-rich foods, such as potatoes and dairy, should also be included in the diet. Last, but the most important constituent, is water. The person should drink a lot of water and keep himself hydrated. Water shortage in the body can further damage the tissues, thus making the situation worse.
Foods to Avoid
Then there are some foods which should be strictly avoided during the process. Hot spicy food can aggravate the sensitive tissues in mouth and worsen the sores and hence, should be avoided. Fried foods and foods high in sugar, which affect the body metabolism negatively and lead to weight gain, should also be left out. Even if it’s high in nutrition content, the person should not take food in large quantities. During chemotherapy, it’s very difficult to keep food in the stomach. Though rich in proteins, meat should also be avoided as it may trigger nausea.
Chemotherapy often leads to side effects such as mouth sores, which make it difficult for the person to eat. Ideally, in such circumstances, the person should be given soft foods like fresh crust-less bread or bananas. Nutritional supplements can also provide the much-needed calories and nutrients. It’s important to eat food, even if one doesn’t feel like eating, so as to keep the body healthy and strong. One can also consult the doctor to know about the various foods which can be eaten.
Small meals throughout the day help in tackling the side effects of chemotherapy. It is very important to keep the body healthy in the battle against cancer. Malnutrition can lead to adverse effects on the health, further deteriorating it to an extent from where it cannot be reversed. Good health is the most important element of successful chemotherapy, and diet is the most important element of good health.