Nutritious and Fit

Diet, Fitness, and a Healthy Attitude

The Fight Against Cancer

Hi everyone! It’s been a while, so I’ll begin with a mini-update. Last summer, I completed my dietetic internship and completed the registration exam so I’m officially a Registered Dietitian! In September, I began my first job in my new career as the Registered Dietitian in charge of clinical nutrition at a Long-Term Care Facility. So far, I love it!

In addition to my new job, I also signed up to run my first half-marathon in November! I’ve never done anything like this before, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge! I signed up for the race through a program called Team in Training (TNT) in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. They gave me a training plan, coaches, and a group to train with on weekends, and in return I’m raising a minimum of $2000 for their cause.

In support of this cause, I have a post from a guest blogger about the important role that nutrition plays when dealing with a cancer diagnosis. The proper nutrition can significantly affect your experience with treatment and your chances for remission.

The following post is written by Jillian McKee of mesothelomia.com. Revisions of the article were made by me, and please feel free to ask me any questions or for more details if needed.

Nutrition and Coping with Cancer

Dealing with a diagnosis of cancer isn’t easy. It requires acceptance and a strong determination. Part of that determination involves doing whatever is necessary to fight the cancer and heal your body. Whether you have recently been diagnosed, started treatments or completed them, adequate nutrition will help you feel well and give your body everything it needs. Although eating can often be challenging and difficult, especially on treatment days, eating nutritious food is what strengthens your both your body and your mental ability to cope.

When you’re tired or don’t feel well, it’s easy to slump into a depressive mood. Appetite fades, food loses its visual appeal and nothing tastes pleasurable anymore.  However it is essential to get pass these obstacles in order for you to get the nutrient-dense foods your body needs, especially when coping with cancer. When these needs go ignored, your body lacks the energy required to fight the disease.

Cancer treatments often harm the healthy cells that surround the cancer cells your physician is treating. These damaged cells need to be replaced, which the body does by breaking down proteins. This process requires extra calories, making requirements for both calories and protein significantly higher in cancer patients than for healthy individuals. In addition to the extra protein and calories your body needs to stay strong, adequate vitamins and minerals are also essential to coping with cancer. Even if you haven’t started treatment yet, these extra nutrients strengthen the immune system and prevent infection. The same holds true for those who have completed treatment. Good nutrition is essential no matter where you are in the process.

Improving your nutritional status can often help lessen the side effects, as well as significantly increase your chances of going into remission. It’s important to realize that this also means that poor nutritional status decreases your chances of going into remission, and consequently your chances of survival. This is why it is essential to find a way around any non-desire to eat.  Protein can be found in many foods other than meat. Cheese, eggs, yogurt, protein powder tucked into milk shakes, fruit smoothies made with milk and an instant breakfast powder can all give you extra protein and calories with often very little stomach upset. The key to better nutrition is to experiment and discover what you tolerate best.   

The cancer itself might have changed the way your body tolerates certain foods. In addition, the amount of nutrients you need to maintain your weight and help your body function at its best differs from person to person. Your doctor and dietitian can help you set appropriate nutritional goals and realistic ways of achieving them. 

For more information regarding healthy nutrition before, during and after cancer treatment please visit, The National Cancer Institute or www.mesothelioma.com.

I hope you found this article informative and eye-opening. I’m trying to raise both money and awareness for this worthy cause. Please join me in the fight against cancer by donating at  http://pages.teamintraining.org/nj/phil12/asajczuk

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05/28/2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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