Summertime Eating for Cancer Patients
Cancer patients often try to maintain a healthy diet. But, the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation can make it challenging to do so.
Appetite changes are common when you are getting cancer treatments. Your body might crave unhealthy foods or reject those good for you. Your body might not be able to handle certain textures or nutrients because of surgeries, mouth sores, or taste sensitivities.
If you are getting cancer treatments, consider speaking to your doctor about what a healthy diet might look like in your particular situation.
For many people, summer offers a perfect opportunity to indulge in outdoor dining with friends and family. It is a great time to fuel up on the bounty of healthy foods that come into season during warmer months.
Fred Hutch Cook For Your Life, an organization with a mission to “empower people with cancer to achieve better health through nutrition,” offers tips on what cancer patients might eat this summer to maximize their health and wellness.
Summer Veggies Help Support a Healthy Immune System
Phytonutrients in vegetables can provide an important boost to your immune system. A healthy immune system can help lower our risk of cancer and other chronic diseases. Cook for Life suggests three cups of vegetables per day to maximize their benefits.
Summer vegetables to dive into include zucchini, squash, corn, and peppers.
Indulge in Fresh Herbs for Extra Vitamins
You can buy fresh herbs at the supermarket all year long, but getting them during the summer at your local farmer’s market or even in your own garden makes them even better. Some popular summer herbs include mint, oregano, and basil. These herbs add wonderful flavor to just about everything, but they also contain properties that can provide real health benefits.
Mint, for example, contains antioxidants that help fend off cancer. Mint can also aid digestion. It can help reduce heartburn and nausea associated with chemotherapy.
Mint tea and mint water taste great and can actually make you feel better.
Basil is an herb that tastes great on just about everything (especially paired with summer-ripe tomatoes!) Basil also contains ample amounts of cancer-fighting antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids. Basil acts as an anti-inflammatory and contains folate, vitamin K, vitamin A, and vitamin C. This herb also contains eugenol, which has anti-bacterial properties. Basil packs a lot of punch for a little herb!
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
Staying hydrated is important for your overall health, especially as the weather gets warmer. For cancer patients, hydration is critical to negating some of the side effects of chemotherapy. Drinking water can help you avoid malnutrition, constipation, and of course, dehydration.
Cancer patients often struggle to drink enough water, especially because their treatments can change their taste buds. Water usually takes on an unpleasant metallic flavor. Adding fruits, herbs, or vegetables to water can mask the metallic taste. Consider trying mint, pomegranate seeds, cucumber, or berries.
Frozen Treats Can Soothe the Palate
Ice pops and similar frozen treats can be soothing to people getting cancer treatments.
Sucking on a refreshing ice pop made with fresh fruit can ease nausea and soothe mouth sores. Desserts like ices or granita made with fruit like watermelon and herbs like mint are delicious, easy to digest, and can provide a nice boost of hydration too.
Summer Foods Can Help Cancer Patients Stay Healthy! So Can a Gift Basket From Rock the Treatment.
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