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Nutrition is an important part of life, cancer treatment, recovery, and prevention. Food is one of the few things you can be in control of during your treatment. The oncology certified registered dietitians at the Stanford Cancer Center are here to help you make informed choices about nutrition, answer your nutrition-related questions, and help you to achieve and maintain good health.
Eating well before cancer treatment begins may help to increase your energy and improve your sleeping patterns. If you have lost weight before starting treatment due to your cancer, you may be encouraged to follow a high-protein, high-calorie diet. To prepare yourself and your home for your nutritional needs during cancer therapy, consider the following suggestions:
Stock the refrigerator with plenty of your favorite foods so that you will not have to shop as often. Make sure these are foods you can eat when you are not feeling well.
Cook large portions of your favorite dishes in advance and freeze them in meal-sized portions.
So that you can save your energy, buy foods that are easy to prepare, such as peanut butter, pudding, frozen dinners, soup, canned fish or chicken, cheese, and eggs.
Ask family and friends to help you cook and shop.
Talk to a registered dietitian about meal planning, grocery shopping, and reducing side effects of treatment, such as nausea and diarrhea.
Talk to your doctor or registered dietitian about whether you should take a multivitamin.
By planning ahead, you will have foods on hand that you like to eat, which will be beneficial to you later. You will have good things to choose from in your kitchen even if you do not feel well enough to prepare an elaborate meal. You may also come to think differently about your weight. If you have been concerned in the past about weight gain, your focus will likely change to eating enough to keep your weight constant.
Before treatment begins, a cancer tumor itself can cause problems that may result in eating problems or weight loss. It is not uncommon to have lactose intolerance (intolerance to milk sugar), nausea, vomiting, poor digestion, or a feeling of early fullness, sleepiness, and forgetfulness even before treatment for cancer.
Broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are all cruciferous vegetables. This vegetable family contains powerful phytochemicals, including carotenoids, indoles and glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which have been studied and shown to slow the growth of many cancers.