GETTING READY FOR CHEMOTHERAPY
Adequate hydration and healthy eating are important patterns to follow before you begin chemotherapy, if possible. Anyone who has worked with me will tell you that I preach hydration! Hydration bathes the cells and removes the byproducts of cellular respiration, flushes chemotherapy through the body, and provides an environment for calories and protein to support the rebuilding of red and white blood cells. Cell regrowth is essential to keeping treatment on schedule. Your body is composed of approximately 60% water and uses water for proper cellular, organ, and tissue function. Dehydration increases chemotherapy and heightens side effects, causes nausea, fatigue, and taste changes, and increases the likelihood of constipation. It is often difficult to separate the effects of chemotherapy from symptoms of dehydration, therefore, getting adequately hydrated before and staying hydrated through treatment can head off many unpleasant side effects.
Healthy eating is another priority to focus on. Try to eat calories in small meals or large snacks, five to six times a day. This may make it easier for you to get your calories in and help support your current weight throughout treatment, and, it also fosters better bowel regularity. Try to include a protein source at all meals and snacks. Calories support protein, which supports the rebuilding and regrowth of cells between treatments. Also, aim for 5-10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. These are sometimes most appealing during treatment, build immunity, and will help prevent constipation.
Avoid foods higher in fat leading up to treatment as they can slow digestion and add to the symptoms associated with treatment. Constipation is an unpleasant common side-effect of the medications given to prevent nausea during treatment. Smaller amounts of food will process better than three larger meals. If you already deal with constipation discuss this with your dietitian, nurse, or doctor before starting treatment.
Establishing healthier eating patterns in the weeks and days leading up to and throughout chemotherapy treatments will provide for the best outcomes. Adequate hydration and frequent, smaller portions of healthy eating are your defense against chemotherapy and will help fight fatigue.
Phytochemicals, also called phytonutrients, are the potentially helpful compounds found in plant foods. They may help prevent chronic diseases, including cancer.
Aim for 5-10 servings per day of Phytonutrient-Rich Foods -
- One serving =
- 1 cup leafy greens, berries, or melon
- 1/2 cup of other fruits/vegetables
- 1 medium piece of fruit/vegetable (such as apple or tomato)
Apples / Cherries / Tomatoes / Beets / Red Peppers / Red Grapes / Raspberries / Strawberries / Pomegranate / Watermelon / Cranberries / Radishes
Yellow & Orange
Banana / Cantaloupe / Carrots / Lemon / Mango / Oranges / Papaya / Peaches / Pumpkin / Butternut or Acorn Squash / Spaghetti Squash / Sweet Potatoes / Tangerine / Turmeric
Asparagus / Avocados / Bok Choy / Broccoli / Brussels Sprouts / Cabbage / Cilantro / Collard Greens / Leafy Greens / Kale / Kiwi / Lettuce / Parsley / Peppers / Spinach / Artichokes
Blue & Purple
Blackberries / Blueberries / Eggplant / Plums
Cauliflower / Onions / Garlic / Ginger / Flaxseed
Teas / Legumes / Nuts / Beans / Soy Products / Whole Grains
*MORE HEALTHY TIPS TO COME - THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATIENCE*
“Good nutrition helps build the foundation for wellness. Nutrition extends beyond food, it is all the things that nourish our bodies. Nourishment comes from primary foods of life, including spirituality, career, physical activity, and relationships.”