healthy foods

Editor’s Note on Nutrition


by Dr Sharmin Yaqin

A very often asked question, from a lot of our patients, is ‘What do we Eat’?

Below are the current guidelines on what to eat during cancer treatment:

Good nutrition is important for cancer patients. Eating the right kinds of foods can help the patient feel better and stay stronger. A healthy diet includes eating and drinking enough of the foods and liquids that have important nutrients (vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, fat, and water) the body needs.

Overall, try to make food choices that provide you enough calories to maintain your weight, protein to help rebuild tissues that cancer treatment may harm, nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and fluids essential for your body’s functioning. Also, exercise can help with appetite and digestion issues related to treatment.

Eating small portions slowly and every few hours seem to work best.

Avoid skipping meals and eating fatty, greasy or spicy foods. Light, bland foods seem to work best. Some examples of choices are:
Plain or Fruited yogurt
Fresh fruit and cottage cheese (Paneer)
Boiled egg and toast
Toasted bread with a small amount of butter
Cereal and milk or Soy milk, if lactose intolerant
Vegetable or Chicken rice soup with saltine crackers.

  • Eat small meals and snacks throughout the day. Aim for 5-6 smaller meals rather than 3 large meals).
  • Eat lower fat, blander foods
  • Try colder or cool foods – these give off less odor and aroma and are especially important if you feel nauseous. Hot foods can have a more pronounced odor, therefore causing an aversion to certain foods.
  • Drink fluids frequently – this will prevent dehydration and remove some of the byproducts of the chemotherapy.
  • Water is the best but there are other sources of fluids such as juices, broth, clear soups, protein drinks, smoothies, herbal teas and sharbat.
  • Eat foods high in protein paneer, cheese, protein powder, eggs, beans and legumes, and meat like fish and chicken if you are a non-vegetarian.

A diet to protect against heart disease, stroke, and other common diseases is what we need to eat – with or without cancer. It consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, fish, and low-fat dairy products rather than refined or processed foods, red meats, high concentrated sweets, and unhealthy oils.

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