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 maintain energy and strength.
A personalized nutrition plan based on an individual's likes, dislikes, lifestyle, symptoms and concerns is an integral part of cancer treatment. A registered dietitian nutritionist trained in oncology nutrition is a key part of the medical team that works with people with cancer.
An oncology RDN will:
- Help find the best food choices and ways to eat based on how patients feel and what they 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 patients get the nutrition they need.
- Help answer questions about foods, supplements, nutrients and diet. There are an infinite number of sources of information about diet and cancer, and a registered dietitian nutritionist can help patients wade through what they've found and discuss options that may be most beneficial.
Nutrition after Cancer Treatment
Once cancer treatment is complete, maintaining a nutritious diet helps the body heal and offers protective effects for the future. A diet comprised mainly of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans, peas, lentils, nuts and plant-based fats is best for people with a history of cancer. Limiting refined grains, added sugars, red meat and alcohol offers additional protection.
This type of diet also is good for heart health and can help reduce risk of other chronic diseases.
For more information on nutrition during and after cancer treatment, visit the following sites: