Guest post by Jillian Mckee: Healthy Eating Options for Cancer Patients

Healthy eating is something that comes to the forefront when going through cancer, whether the person has just received the diagnosis, is in treatment, or is in remission. Increasing the consumption of the food that the medical community has determined is best for people provides many benefits, especially for those who must meet the challenge of cancer.

The National Cancer Institute recommends that people in any stage of cancer eat more fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and cereals and less processed food. Limiting the amount of meat and dairy products helps, along eating small amounts of food with high fat, sugar, and salt content.

Although it can be a challenge to change a diet to incorporate more healthy food versus convenient food, it should be done to improve energy levels and overall wellbeing, both mental and physical. Going by the color of fruit and vegetables helps people choose the most rewarding food to eat. Food with dark or bright colors pack more nutrition, ounce for ounce, than lighter-colored food. Sometimes cancer treatment interferes with appetite and digestion. However, almost all fruit and vegetables can be cooked to improve the digestibility in most cases.

Removing the skin from peppers by peeling when raw or roasting in the oven or broiler also increases their digestibility. Peppers contain high amounts of vitamin C, something that the human body requires on a daily basis. Greens like spinach, kale, collard, and romaine lettuce can be cooked to make them easier for the stomach to process.

Increasing whole grains in a diet is not the challenge some think it is. Eating pasta made from whole grains or spinach is a simple way to increase vitamin intake along with fiber. Even white bread lovers can satisfy cravings by choosing bread products made with a specific strain of wheat that is white and has a mild flavor.

Satisfying a sweet tooth can be done in a healthy and natural way. The stevia plant is widely available as a powdered or liquid sweetener. Molasses has nutritional value, as does honey. Olive oil is a healthy food and some mills produce extra-virgin oils with a mild to buttery flavor.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a database useful for determining the nutritional contents of food. This may be helpful for mesothelioma patients or for those suffering from any other kind of cancer. It has thousands of entries for all kinds of food and gives complete information about the nutritional value of fresh, cooked, and commercially prepared food.

Thanks to a greater awareness among food scientists and nutritionists, cancer patients can eat better because more choices are available that contribute to better nutrition. Taking advantage of them has never been easier.

Meet Jillian:

Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.

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