Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Eating Healthy While Battling Cancer

Fighting any cancer proves to be a challenge that requires a person's full energy. If that individual is not eating right and not getting enough nutrients, he or she may lose their battle. In fact, eating right and getting a day's full amount of nutritional elements can improve ones life expectancy. Along with the medical treatments the patient is receiving from his or her doctors, a healthy diet sustains the patient's body and gives that person's immune system extra nutrients it needs to fight the cancerous cells.

In fact, many chemo patients feel drained of energy. This is because chemotherapy drains the body of iron. Iron works in the body to facilitate oxygenation of the body's muscles and tissues. Oxygen molecules bind themselves to iron molecules as iron travels throughout the body. A person with enough iron in his or her body has enough energy to carry out daily activities. Those without enough iron often feel tired and cannot carry out a day's routine. The medical condition for not having enough iron in the blood is known as anemia.

To combat anemia, physicians often recommend that patients eat a diet that is high in protein, particularly red meat. Red meat contains vast amounts of iron that can then be digested and used by the person's body. Most doctors recommend that people receiving treatment for cancer eat at least two meals that include red meat dishes. Popular protein dishes include steaks, hamburgers, stews, and even ethnic foods like tacos or enchiladas.

Protein and iron can also be found in foods like eggs and nuts. In fact, dieticians who help anemic patients strongly urge that they include peanut butter in their diets. Eating peanut butter can be as easy as making cookies out of the snack food, eating it on bagels or celery, or making sandwiches with peanut butter. Eggs also provide needed protein. Cancer patients can enjoy dishes like omelets, scrambled eggs, egg sandwiches, egg salad, or eggs Benedict to get their required iron intake for a single day.

As tempting as some of these dishes may seem to healthy people, cancer patients often do not have the appetite to eat regular meals. Chemotherapy makes people sick to their stomachs and leaves them without a desire to eat. As such, they must force themselves sometimes to sit down and take a meal. Family and friends prove to be vital in this battle. Doctors ask that friends and family members remind patients to eat, even if only a little bit at a time. Eating a healthy diet helps patients recover.

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