March is National Nutrition Month, when the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics reminds everyone to return to the basics of healthy eating. It is also the time of year when the Academy celebrates expertise of registered dietitian nutritionists as the food and nutrition experts.
Food and nutrition are critical parts of any successful cancer treatment. Nutrients support the growth of healthy cells in your body; they also go a long way toward helping you keep your energy and strength.
Eating priorities during cancer treatment are to maintain weight and keep up your energy level and strength.
You need an individualized nutrition plan based on your likes, dislikes, lifestyle, symptoms and concerns. A registered dietitian nutritionist is a key resource for helping maximize your cancer treatment.
An RDN will:
- Help you find the best food choices and ways to eat based on how you feel and what you like. For example, small, frequent snacks may be easier to tolerate than large, daily meals. Food choices should be easy to chew, swallow, digest and absorb, even if high in fat.
- Help determine if supplements and nutrient-rich beverages and foods should be prescribed to help you get the nutrition you need.
- Help answer your questions about foods, supplements, nutrients and diet. There are an infinite number of sources of information about diet and cancer, and a registered dietitian can help you wade through what you’ve found and talk with you about what may be most beneficial to you.
Nutrition after Cancer Treatment
Once cancer treatment is complete, keeping a healthy diet will help your body heal and offer protective effects for the future.
Following a healthy eating plan is also good for your heart and can help reduce your risk of other chronic diseases.
For more information on nutrition during and after cancer treatment, visit the following sites: