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HOW to Plan a Good Diet for Recovery from Cancer
Good nutrition is crucial for recovery from illnesses, especially serious illnesses that attack the body's immunity. But how true is this for health altering circumstances like cancer rehabilitation? Dr. Amit Bhargava Consultant at the Moolchand Cancer Hospital in New Delhi reveals, “Cancer increases metabolism thus it is essential that the tissues must be rebuilt and the nutrients lost must be replaced. Proper management of weight and increase of appetite helps in fastening the pace of recovery and increases the chances of survival.”
Dr. Amit also points out, “Most cancer patients suffer majorly from anorexia. This is largely due to the fact that patients develop strong food aversions, thought to be caused by the side effects of chemotherapy. Diet plans for cancer patients requires special attention. However, the calorie intake of a cancer patient may vary depending upon the medical history and state of the patient. But ideally 45-50 calories per kilogram of body weight is recommended for the patient.”
Dr. J.B. Sharma, Senior Medical Oncologist from Action Cancer Hospital, New Delhi, sheds some light on what to include in your diet to help you back on your feet and kick-start a new life.
During the Cancer Treatment: Patients who are undergoing chemotherapy should avoid all thin skinned fruits like grapes, pomegranates, chikoo etc. One must also avoid using all fresh garnishes like dhaniya, pudina, raw vegetable salads, legumes and pulses sprouts, raw or rare-cooked meat and fish, pickled fish and raworundercooked eggs, home made chutneys, etc. Junk food is just not acceptable, even spicy and fried food. Cancer patients should make sure the food they eat is well cooked as this destroys the bacteria.
Post Treatment: After chemotherapy treatment, one must continue the same dietary precautions that are taken during chemotherapy for another month. Gradually the patient should introduce raw fruits and vegetables in small quantities and wait for any side effects like indigestion/diarrhea. Once a small quantity is accepted well by the body, then the patient can start eating a full diet.
Food that help in regeneration of cells: For rapid regeneration of cells, a well balanced diet is recommended during chemotherapy. Food supplements including predigested protein powders are helpful. Supportive treatment and a positive attitude post chemotherapy prevents nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, indigestion and helps to maintain a good appetite.
Diet to follow when the person is cured of cancer: High protein and high calorie diet helps the body to tolerate the side effects of therapy and high doses of drugs.
Apart from adequate care in what a patient recovering from cancer eats, it is imperative that proper hygiene is followed during meal preparation and storage. Make sure to wash your hands properly before cooking and eating. Keep raw food away from cooked food as this prevents contamination by harmful bacteria. Refrigerate food in suitable temperatures, and remember to time the meals well. A patient undergoing cancer rehabilitation has many physical and mental abilities to rebuild - and a healthy, well planned diet helps make the path smoother.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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