People with cancer often need to follow a different diet than what is considered healthy. Patients with breast cancer need to eat to maintain energy in order to overcome the side effects of treatment.
When health is good, it is usually not a problem to eat enough food. But, when faced with cancer and treatment, this can be a real challenge. It is for this reason that here we explain how diet should be for patients with breast cancer.
Breast cancer and feeding:
Breast cancer is a type of cancer that forms in the cells of the breast. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common type of cancer diagnosed in women in the United States. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it is much more frequent in women.
Significant support for raising awareness and providing funds for research helped generate advances in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. The survival rates of this disease have increased, and the number of deaths related to this disease is steadily decreasing.
Feeding well during breast cancer treatment
Eating well during breast cancer treatment can help you:
- Stay healthy
- Keep the energy
- Get the right nutrients
- Avoid unforeseen weight gain
While you are receiving chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or both, follow these tips:
- Drink at least 8 glasses of non-caloric (ie, water, tea) or low-calorie drinks every
day. Not drinking enough fluids can cause dizziness, nausea, constipation, fatigue and
urinary tract infection.
- Avoid skipping meals. Try to eat small meals, spaced regularly throughout the day.
- Limit alcohol consumption or stop drinking altogether. If you have any questions, talk with
your health care team.
In what proportion and what to eat?
The balance of food on your plate is important when you are trying to eat healthily. Keep in mind the image of the plate shown below. This can help you choose the right sizes of portions of different foods.
The protein can be vegetable or animal
The vegetable is obtained from quinoa, sprouts, wheat, vegetable stew and other sources. The animal of the white meats like fish, turkey, chicken and among others. You can consume red meat but only once or twice a week, because of the high cholesterol they have.
Fruits and vegetables of all colors are welcome
If patients are not taking chemotherapy they can be given raw fruits and vegetables. However, if they have taken chemotherapy and have entered a state of neutropenia (low defenses) they should be given all cooked foods.
What should be avoided?
Listening to a large series of “no” can be demotivating. Therefore, we recommend you not to think about “no” and instead pay attention to the reasons why to avoid these foods.
- A cancer patient should avoid canned foods, smoked foods and fried foods. Sausages are also not an option because they contain nitrite and nitrate, carcinogenic substances as indicated by the World Health Organization (WHO). Smoked, grilled and fried foods contain unhealthy saturated fats.
- It is recommended that in the case of breast cancer the consumption of soy and grapefruit be restricted. For a patient with another type of cancer, soy can be beneficial because of the proteins it has. However, for a patient who is receiving chemotherapy, this food should be restricted because it could cause some type of interaction with this treatment.
- In the case of grapefruit is because this fruit produces an enzyme that helps eliminate drugs from the body and also generates interaction with other drugs used in chemotherapy.
- If you are with low defenses or neutropenia it is better to avoid probiotics. These are good regenerators but in case of patients who are with low defenses it can cause an opposite effect, how for example: instead of defending the intestinal flora, it can cause a type of infection
Finally, just as patients with breast cancer should have an adequate diet, physical activity is also recommended. Light hikes, yoga or dance also helps generate endorphins.