HOW TO ADJUST YOUR DIET DURING CHEMOTHERAPY?

Centar za nutricionizam i dijetetiku inga markovic

A diet-therapy of people that suffer from malignant diseases and get treatment in the form of chemotherapy needs to be personalized, depending on which type of disease they are dealing with and based on the nutrition condition of the patient, taking into consideration their wishes and medical regulations or possibilities.

The basic diet for people that suffer from malignant diseases should be dense in healthy calories and full of nutrients, that is, rich in proteins, minerals, and vitamins. It needs to be easily digestible, low in fat, and without strong spices. The intake of sodium should be reduced to the minimum.

Caloric needs should be planned individually, based on the information if the patient is mobile and how much, and whether they have an appetite or some problems while eating. That being said, the basic diet can be easily modified by decreasing or increasing the intake of fat or carbohydrates from bread, kinds of pasta, and candy.

The selection of certain types of food gets done in collaboration with the patient if possible and according to their wishes if they have any.

Common side effects of chemo are throwing up, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating, so it is important to adjust the diet additionally if the patient is dealing with these conditions.

Throwing up and diarrhea are extremely common and unpleasant occurrences in treating cancer. They can be subdued by prescribing liquid diets, cold beverages that eliminate those issues in most patients, compotes, and fruit juices. Food rich in fat should be completely cut out from the diet. Diarrhea can be successfully treated with prescribing rice mucus, fresh carrot purees, apple purees, vegetable soups, and cooked or minced meat besides meds. Sugars should be eliminated from the patient’s diet completely.

When it comes to constipation, it is advised to drink more fluids and to consume more food rich in fibers if there are no other reasons for avoiding such a diet. Patients are advised to increase the intake of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, except in cases when this type of diet is undereffective.

Bloating is also a common occurrence. Patients should chew up the food well or blend it before consuming it. Legumes should not be consumed in such cases, while the increased intake of fluids is necessary. 

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