Maintaining a Healthy Diet During Radiation Therapy
The battle against cancer is a big challenge, which is why staying healthy and keeping your strength up as much as possible is crucial for a fast recovery. At Southeast Radiation Oncology Center, we want our patients and others undergoing treatment to maintain a healthy diet and know about the best foods to support the recovery process. Fortunately, there are plenty of options, which we’ve outlined below.
Planning Your Meals
As your body changes and reacts to the treatment, you may need to experiment with different foods that you can eat regularly to stay healthy, that are both still appetizing and doesn’t cause a strong reaction. For your meals, you should be eating healthy, organic foods. We also recommend planning ahead for your meals, since it will make eating easier after you’re feeling a little drained from treatment. If you need any help planning your meals, just ask our staff at Southeast Radiation Oncology Center, and we’ll be happy to help you.
What To Eat During Radiation Therapy
When it comes to the actual food that you should be eating while you’re going through radiation therapy, you need a lot of nutrient-dense meals to provide your body with vitamins and nutrients that will revitalize your body and recover your energy. Avoid high-calorie meals as much as possible, since they don’t provide you with those essential nutrients, which can slow down your recovery time. Here are some of the foods that you should have in your diet:
- Fruits and Vegetables - These should be a main part of every meal since fruits and vegetables have many of the essentials in them.
Virtually no preparation necessary, but if you would prefer, you can steam your veggies for a simple, hot meal.
- Whole Grain - Things like whole grain bread, oatmeal, brown rice, and quinoa are all rich in protein, which your body needs to repair itself. Also another group of foods that are extremely easy to prepare so you can eat when you need to.
- Fat-free Milk and Other Dairy Products - Dairy products have that high calcium content that will keep your body strong, as well as potassium and other beneficial nutrients. If you have any issues with processing dairy, you can opt for substitutes like soy, coconut, or almost milk that are still delicious
- Lean Proteins - protein is essential for recovery, and you can get it from many different sources that are also low in fat. Things like seafood, poultry, eggs, beans, and various nuts provide you with plenty of protein. Soy products also have protein, but avoid ones that are highly processed, since they won’t be as healthy for you.
- Water - you need to stay hydrated, so make sure you drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Foods To Avoid
During your treatment, you need to focus on being as healthy as possible to promote recovery. This means reducing some unhealthy substances such as solid fats, salt, alcohol, and things with added sugars. However, some salt is necessary in all diets, so you need to ask your doctor or dietician about how much salt you can have in your diet while you undergo treatment.
Try Smaller Meals
Since radiation therapy can have an effect on your appetite, you may find that you may not be hungry enough to eat a big meal during normal breakfast, lunch, and dinner times. What may help is changing your eating schedule to have 5 small meals throughout the day. If you feel hungry, eat as much as you can, and do your best to fit in enough food to keep your body energized by the end of the day. Eat whatever you like at any time throughout the day as long as it’s healthy!
If you have any questions about radiation treatment, diet during therapy, or about scheduling an appointment with us, just contact us and our team will connect with you to get you on the path to recovery!