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Diet & Exercise
diet-and-exercise
As you embark on your chemotherapy journey, there are several things to take into consideration, what you eat is one of them.

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This page will give you a guideline of what foods to eat and what foods to avoid. As every human being is different, so every chemotherapy journey is different: you may lose your appetite or you may crave food.

There is no special diet for chemotherapy. You should follow a healthy, balanced and clean diet and there are a few things that one should avoid.

What to eat
Eat a variety of food, as opposed to focusing on one type of food.
All meals should contain all the necessary nutrients, as a balanced meal is very important.

What happens when you lose your appetite?
Loss of appetite is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatments. Here are a few tips for family members who are assisting in one’s journey: as a family member or close friend, it is understandable that you are concerned about their health, but forcing them to eat will not make the journey easier.

Preparing meals
As opposed to preparing a big meal, which you might see as a challenge, prepare more frequent, small, nutritional meals.

Supplements
There are a few supplements which chemo patients are allowed to take. They are Fresbine, Ensure and Forti Care. These are available in a bottle and need to be taken two to three times a day. They come in different flavours and there are options for patients who are diabetic or who have special dietary requirements.

What happens when you gain weight?
We all do not like gaining weight whether we are sick or healthy. Most of the chemotherapy regimes work in conjunction with steroids which are administered pre- and post-medication and can effect your weight. The best advice would be to try and control the type of food one eats, by keeping it clean and healthy and not allow the anxiety to dictate your meals.

Home-cooked meals versus takeaways
Chemotherapy patients are prone to infections. The best option to remain healthy and know what ingredients are used in meal preparations would be to have all your meals prepared at home. With restaurant or takeaway meals, we are never sure if the ingredients are fresh, frozen, recooked or how long they have been sitting stagnant.

What foods to avoid
As much as I have said that you should eat what you want, there are a few key items that chemotherapy patients should avoid:

Spicy/chilly foods
Chemotherapy patients suffer from severe issues and sensitivity in their gums, mouth, tongue and stomach. Eating spicy foods will cause infections such as sores in the mouth cavity. The acid from the chilli could cause acid reflux, thus causing heartburn and stomach ulcers. As it is, the treatment is uncomfortable and it is essential that patients do not create additional discomfort.

Oily foods
Oily foods should be avoided in general but in the case of chemotherapy patients, oily foods can trigger nausea and vomiting.

Water and alcohol
Chemotherapy is toxic; it has been referred to as poison. Granted, this poison is needed to kill the cancer cells, but the remaining poison should not stay in the body, especially the kidneys. It is essential to flush out the poison with as much water as possible. It is recommended that chemotherapy patients drink at least 2 litres of water a day.

Exercise

Chemotherapy takes a major strain on one’s body, so when exercising it is best to listen to your body when you are feeling strained or fatigued. Slow, moderate exercise is recommended, such as walks or yoga. The gym, weight lifting and cardio should be avoided at all times.

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