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Preparing Yourself For Treatment

Eating Well

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© American Cancer Society 2010

Your body needs a healthy diet to function at its best. It is even more important if you have cancer. With a healthy diet, you'll go into treatment with reserves to help keep up your strength, prevent body tissue from breaking down, rebuild tissue, and maintain your defenses against infection. People who eat well are better able to cope with side effects of treatment. And you may even be able to handle higher doses of certain drugs. In fact, some cancer treatments are more effective in people who are well-nourished and are getting enough calories and protein.

  • Don't be afraid to try new foods. Some things you may never have liked before may taste good to you during treatment.
  • Choose a diet with many types of plant-based food. Try substituting dried beans and peas for meat at a few meals each week.
  • Try to eat at least 5 colorful servings a day of fruits and vegetables, including citrus fruits and dark-green and deep-yellow vegetables. Colorful vegetables and fruits and plant-based foods contain natural health-promoting substances called phytochemicals.
  • Limit high-fat foods, especially those from animal sources. Choose lower-fat milk and dairy products. Reduce the amount of fat in your meals by choosing a lower-fat cooking method such as baking or broiling.
  • Limit the amount of salt-cured, smoked, and pickled foods that you eat.
  • Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all.
  • Try to maintain a healthy weight and be physically active.
  • If you are not able to do any of the above during this time, do not worry about it.

NOTE FROM SURVIVORSHIP A TO Z: You can learn about nutrition from the United States Department of Agriculture at:  offsite link, including a personalized plan. You can keep track of food intake and activity levels at www.My offsite link


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