The importance of food in the treatment of cancer

Having cancer often affects a person’s ability to eat, but at the same time it is so important, for management of the disease, to eat the right foods.

At fitnaturally we work with cancer patients, not as a cure, we’re not qualified to do that and the research is up in the air anyway, but as a palliative support measure. We work alongside advice from medical experts, helping the patient and carers to apply, and add value to, the advice given by the hospital and GP. We keep in touch on a daily basis to provide up-to-the-minute support.

Aside from nausea brought on by treatment there are other factors that influence a cancer patient’s ability to eat. Not least the psychological effect of the disease. People are often in shock and that affects their appetite; they sometimes suffer depression and anger which further suppress their desire to eat. They can worry they are a burden to their loved ones, and don’t like to ask for help with shopping for and preparing food. This all happens at a time when it is so important to maintain a robust weight and nutrition status, to help withstand treatment and the effects of disease progression. It’s such an important area of support, vital in fact, and can make a difference to the person’s comfort and long-term survival.

Nausea, brought about by treatment or location of cancer, can be worked around to help the person look at sickness patterns and to time their food intake and type to help alleviate effects. Imagine someone feels sick at evening meal time, that wipes out a whole opportunity to eat good calorific, wholesome food. They can soon start to lose weight and lose robustness and energy along with it. Additionally, the cancer might be in a place that affects digestion or metabolism, or treatment may affect taste, further compromising nutrition.

Whilst there is little definitive evidence of food curing cancer it doesn’t hurt to work on some general principles, and eating a healthy diet has to be better than eating junk, doing the best you can is better than muddling along with poor quality eating. Optimising nutrient intake, limiting sugar, using spices such as turmeric, which are starting to get airtime from organisations such as Cancer Research, are some approaches that can do no harm and may do a lot of good. We help people to look at those ideas and decide whether they have value; we show them how to apply the research to an everyday diet.

If you have cancer or are caring for someone who does, we can support you with nutrition and will work with the information given to you by doctors and medics. This works best using our eatnaturally bespoke plan where suggest food strategies and changes and work with you to deal with your changing circumstances.

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