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Chemotherapy Diet Restrictions  

Many kinds of cancer require aggressive treatments, especially if the cancer has progressed beyond the earliest stages.  However even in these early stages, most doctors feel it is very important to administer aggressive treatments to remove all traces of the disease and reduce the risk of a reoccurrence.  Chemotherapy is a popular treatment option and can be very effective at reducing the size of a tumor to make surgical removal more successful; treatment of the cancerous tissue itself; and additional treatment to kill any remaining cells in order to minimize the risk of reoccurrence.  Chemotherapy entails the use of powerful anti-cancer drugs to search out and destroy as many cancer cells as possible.  However it can also destroy healthy cells which act in a similar fashion to cancer cells.  This can cause damage and weaken a patient significantly.  In order to remain as healthy as possible during the treatment and recover with minimal problems there are some chemotherapy diet restrictions which need to be followed carefully. 

So as indicated earlier, chemotherapy has great potential in treating and destroying cancer cells.  But it also affects healthy cells which can lead to a number of undesirable and difficult side effects and complications.  In the first place the body becomes weakened and the immune system is not as effective.  So infection is an ever present risk.  Other side effects can include:  hair loss; nausea and vomiting; loss of appetite; mouth ulcers; constipation or diarrhea; damage to the stomach; problems swallowing; and unexpected weight loss. 

Given the difficult side effects which can occur, it is very important to try to maintain good health and proper nutrition to support this.   

Since the immune system and digestive system are most often directly affected, there are a number of chemotherapy diet restrictions which should be followed to help minimize these problems and support the patient’s good health. 

Since many patients experience mouth ulcers or stomach problems, it may be difficult to eat regular food.  In addition foods which are rich in carbohydrates and fat can be very difficult for a chemotherapy patient to digest.  The ingestion of solid foods can also cause vomiting due to the sensitive nature of the digestive system. 

So try to stick with nutritious foods which are high in protein.  These foods are very important in rebuilding cells and providing strength.  During the chemotherapy treatment, patients should begin to eat soft foods which are high in nutrients and protein like banana, oatmeal or granola.  If you do eat carbohydrates, stick with complex carbohydrates and not simple ones.  Complex carbohydrates provide good nutrients and make the patient feel satisfied for a longer period of time.  Include fiber in the diet to help to improve the digestive system and strengthen the immune system. 

Avoid drinking beverages which are carbonated or which contain caffeine.  Stick with liquids like tea, vegetable juice, and fruit juice.  For a special treat, low fat milk or milkshakes can be taken. 

Try to avoid processed foods which are high in preservative, sugar, fats, and salt.  And be careful if you eat fresh fruit since it may contain bacteria or contaminants which can affect your immune system. 

If you stick with healthy and nutritious foods which are high in protein and fiber and low in fat, preservatives and sugar you are supporting good health during treatment and help to minimize side effects which can result from chemotherapy.