How to feed cancer patients is one of the most discussed topics today. As in many chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, nutrition is of great importance in cancer. Adequate and balanced nutrition programs, which contribute to the prevention of weight loss in cancer patients, reduction of susceptibility to infection and shortening of hospital stay, increase the patient’s quality of life and make the recovery process more comfortable. Memorial Ankara Hospital Nutrition and Diet Specialist Dyt. Ceyda Nur Çakın gave information about how patients should be fed during the cancer week.
Nutrition and cancer are closely related.
Nutrition; It is the intake of nutrients into the body for growth, development, protection and improvement of health and increasing the quality of life. At the same time, diet is of great importance in the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. Cancer; It is a disease closely related to nutrition because of the changes in nutrient needs due to physiological changes caused by the disease and the effect of food intake due to treatment-related side effects.
Proper nutrition improves the quality of life of cancer patients
Ensuring adequate energy and protein intake in cancer patients; It prevents the involuntary loss of body weight and improves the quality of life of the person. The susceptibility to infections decreases in patients who take adequate nutrients and the length of hospital stay is shortened. A balanced diet program suitable for the diagnosis, the side effects of the treatment and the daily needs of the person is an important part of the cancer treatment and positively affects the treatment process. For this reason, nutritional deficiencies due to side effects such as mouth ulcers, difficulty in swallowing, loss of appetite, diarrhea and constipation that may occur depending on the type of treatment received should be corrected with an appropriate nutrition program in the early period.
Mediterranean diet is important
One of the most ideal diets with positive effects for cancer patients is the Mediterranean diet. It was observed that the patients on the Mediterranean type diet tolerated the side effects of the treatment better. Mediterranean diet; It is a diet that includes quality carbohydrates such as whole grain products, vegetables and fruits of different colors, and healthy sources of fats such as olive oil and raw nuts. At the same time, this diet recommends that animal protein sources, especially red meat, be limited and vegetable protein sources such as chickpeas and lentils should be included. In addition, it is recommended to consume dairy products without fat.
Some foods can cause digestive difficulties
The Mediterranean type diet is a suitable diet for cancer patients because it is rich in antioxidants, which are necessary for cell renewal and strengthening of the immune system, and dietary fiber that supports intestinal health. However, some foods in this form of nutrition; It can cause digestive difficulties in patients with certain types of cancer. For this reason, it will be useful to get support from a nutritionist for the diet and individual planning to be applied after the diagnosis.
General recommendations for cancer patients:
- Consumption of fresh vegetables and fruits, cereals, legumes, nuts, fish and olive oil is dominant, and whole grain breads are preferred; adopt a diet that keeps the consumption of trans fats, animal fats, red meat, poultry, milk and dairy products low.
- Divide your meals into small portions and consume fluids between meals to prevent the feeling of early satiety.
- Avoid processed, packaged and sweetened products.
- Do not skip fluid consumption. If you have trouble drinking water, get support from liquids such as sugar-free compote, milk / kefir / ayran and soup.
- Include vegetables and fruits of different colors on your plates. A colorful diet supports adequate intake of different vitamins and minerals.
- If there is a wound in the mouth, stay away from hard, spicy, tomato paste foods and carbonated drinks. Do not consume very hot or very cold foods.
- If you have difficulty swallowing, it will be easier to consume pureed foods. The use of thickening supplements may be beneficial, as very fluid liquids such as water and fruit juice may escape into the respiratory tract and cause coughing and infection.
- Do not consume grapefruit, kiwi and pomegranate during the treatment period, as they may change the effectiveness of chemotherapy drugs.
- Set one day of the week as the weighing day. Do not delay consulting your doctor and nutritionist for significant weight loss.
- Along with all this, try to stay physically active. Light walks help preserve your muscle mass and increase your appetite.