As you get over your battle with the big C, you may be concerned about the possible side effects of chemotherapy; you are not alone. Many people worry about how chemotherapy will affect their bodies, but there are things you can do to stay healthy and reduce these issues.
Chemotherapy can change the way your body uses food. Eating well can make you feel better and keep you strong for the remainder of your treatments. Different types of nutrition can help with various parts of chemotherapy.
As a food consultant specialising in plant based diets working across the UK and around the globe (mainly the USA, Europe and UAE), I am here to help you on your road to recovery through the right types of food.
If you have any questions or would like to learn more, feel free to get in touch, I’m here to help. In the meantime, feel free to take a look at how each type of food can help you stay healthy.
Proteins help repair your body tissues and keep your immune system strong. As such, protein is especially important for those who are battling cancer. With this in mind, it is important to improve your protein intake to better meet the increased demands that your body requires while on chemo, radiation and/or immuno-therapies.
Here I advocate for a plant-based diet. This does not necessarily mean vegetarian, but it does reduce our reliance on meat and animal based products. The reason is because large intakes of animal products and red meat may result in elevations in a hormone, called IGF-1 that leads to inflammation.
Vegetarian proteins are hands-down the healthiest and least expensive sources. of protein.
Beans and lentils- Legumes are powerhouses of nutrition, indeed that we simply just do not eat enough of! They're healthy for our guts, reduce risk of chronic disease, promote healthy weight, maintain energy and heart health.
Nuts and seeds- Nuts and seeds are not only healthy sources of good protein, but they're also loaded with essential minerals and healthy fats. Don’t forget because they are so nutrient-dense, you only need a small portion. Loaded with fibre, antioxidants and phytochemicals, nuts and seeds are so simple to add to every day dishes. But that’s not it, they can help to reduce heart disease risk and also reduce inflammation too!
Meat- For those meat lovers out there, when purchasing meat, try to find ethically-sourced, humanely-raised, 100 percent grass-fed or at least pasture-raised beef. Also, be conscious of portion size. If you are struggling, talk to your local butchers; what animals eat affect the quality of their meat. Alternatively, get in touch and I’ll be happy to offer a personal chef service to suit your individual needs.
Also, processed meats should be avoided as much as possible since they have been announced to be carcinogenic per the World Health Organisation. What’s more, they are loaded with preservatives which are not necessary to your diet so steer clear of these!
Other sources include dairy products as well as fish. Fish and seafood are good sources of protein and are typically low in fat. While slightly higher in fat than other varieties, salmon packs in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids which can reduce joint stiffness and inflammation.
Eating during treatment can be incredibly difficult. Some cancer patients suffer from taste changes, food aversions, nausea and odour sensitivities. If it's hard to eat natural sources of protein, you may opt for protein powders. This is fine to help supplement the diet. Here I generally recommend protein powders that do not have a lot of added ingredients. You don't need lots of added vitamins, minerals and amino acids. You don't need anything marketed to body-builders either.
Opt for vegan protein sources, like pea or hemp protein, or try whey protein, which is usually also lactose-free. Go for unflavored powders or try a bone broth. While not loaded with protein necessarily, one client of mine claimed my homemade broths had super-healing properties like collagen. Bone broth can also be hydrating and tasty so what’s there not to love?
Healthy fats, like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat, help you keep up your energy levels.
Water is the body’s natural first aid. It keeps all of your vital vitamins and minerals in balance, and it keeps every cell in your body functioning properly.
Vitamins and minerals are found in many healthy foods like fruits and vegetables. If your food intake has been altered, get in touch to discuss ways to get a balanced diet back.
Got a question or need some help in creating nutritional yet tasty post cancer treatment dishes? Get in touch to find out more. Alternatively, if you are interested in following a plant based diet and would like to explore this more, feel free to pop me an email and I’ll be in touch very soon!