Nutrition during cancer treatment

Follow these recommendations to maintain good health and reduce potential side effects during cancer treatment.

If you suffer from cancer, you are not alone. Millions of people today suffer from this disease. Living with cancer is very challenging. However, there are some easy tips that can help you learn to manage your health in order to do and eat the things you have always enjoyed.

There is vast research that provides support for the idea that adopting healthy lifestyle habits can help reduce the risk of developing serious illnesses such as cancer. But what guidelines should a person follow if they have already been diagnosed with cancer and will need to undergo treatment?

The American Cancer Society has resources for making healthy lifestyle choices that not only help people prevent cancer but also learn to cope with it after diagnosis. Following these healthy lifestyle guidelines from the ACS can help you reduce the risk of cancer and stay healthy during treatments:

  • Choose foods and beverages in amounts that help achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
  • Adopt a physically active lifestyle .
  • Consume a healthy diet, with an emphasis on plant sources. Choose whole grains in preference to processed (refined) grains. To learn more about healthy lifestyles in general, visit USDA’s My Plate website and check out Michigan State University Extension for free nutrition education programs in your community.
  • Limit consumption of processed and red meats.
  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, limit your consumption.

To learn more about these guidelines, visit the American Cancer Society website.

Just as healthy choices related to physical activity and diet can help reduce the risk of cancer, they can be of equal or greater importance for a person dealing with the effects of cancer and its treatment.

A healthy diet and physical activity during the treatment and recovery from cancer can benefit a patient in many ways, including:

  • Decreasing the side effects of cancer treatments
  • Supporting the immune system as it fights infections
  • Helping tissues recover and heal
  • Maintaining the patient’s strength and energy
  • Preventing muscle and bone loss

These simple tips are meant to provide some generalized health action steps for patients who are undergoing cancer treatment. You should always check with your health care provider before following any health recommendation.

If you would like to learn more about ways to maintain good health during cancer treatment, visit Michigan State University Extension and search for the key words “cancer” and “nutrition.” MSU Extension offers various educational programs for adults, families, and children that focus on lifestyle changes to promote healthy eating.

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Nutrition during cancer treatment: Part 2

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