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Healthy Diet for Breast Cancer Patients

After being diagnosed with breast cancer, the primary question many patients ask is, “What are my treatment options?” It is important to work closely with your doctor to choose the best course of treatment. It is also very importance to talk with your doctor or nutritionist about maintaining a healthy diet. The treatment you and your doctor choose could have a major effect on your diet and overall health. Chemotherapy, radiation, and other cancer treatments can be hard on your body. Maintaining a well-balanced diet during breast cancer treatment can help patients better cope with side effects, regain strength, and rebuild tissues damaged by cancer. Your immune system can become weak during treatments, making it easy for you to pick-up germs from food that can make you very sick very fast during and after treatment. It is important to wash and cook food properly before eating.

Some patients have a hard time eating well during treatment, due to side effects like nausea or diarrhea, sore or dry mouth and dehydration. There are some foods that can help ease certain side effects experienced during treatment. Foods like rice, bananas and apples help with diarrhea. Eating beans, vegetables, and fresh or dried fruit can help with constipation. Eating soft foods like soups, yogurts and shakes will help manage sore mouth. Avoid eating greasy foods and foods with strong odors to ease nausea. Patients also have emotional stress after being diagnosis with breast cancer that can affect their diet and appetite. Eating smalls meals throughout the day can help to maintain your energy. Drinking plenty of water even if you are not thirsty will keep you hydrated and help with dry mouth.

Many patients often lose their appetite entirely during cancer treatment. Some treatments can make food taste unpleasant, bland or unwanted. Even though you don’t feel like eating, it’s important to eat to maintain proper nutrition during treatment. Eating healthy can help you feel better and speed up your recovery for good outcomes during and after breast cancer treatment. To help cope with lack of appetite Dr. Sarah Rafat, a senior dietitian at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center suggest the following things: eat small meals at certain times throughout your day, keep your favorite foods close at hand for snakes, make your meals look appealing by adding parsley, lemon slices, cherry tomatoes, and other colorful garnishes to your plate and choose high-calorie, nutrient-rich foods such as avocados, nuts, beans, seeds, puddings, and cooked cereals. The National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society recommend maintaining a mixed diet during cancer treatment. A mixed diet with daily servings of fruits and vegetables, proteins, grains, and dairy products.

Consult your doctor or nutritionist about changing your diet or taking any dietary supplement to make sure it does not interfere with your treatment. There are no specific food or dietary supplements that will act as “magic remedy” to prevent breast cancer from returning. However, the National Cancer Institute guidelines for cancer prevention can be used to decrease the chance of a breast cancer recurrence. The guidelines are listed below.
• Eat more fruits, vegetables and whole grains
• Eat a well-balance meal and drink plenty of water
• Decrease eating fatty foods high in calories
• Minimize eating cured, pickled and smoked foods
• Exercise to maintain a healthy weight
• Alcohol consumption should be done in moderation or none

Cokeitha Gaddist (67 Posts)