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19
Jan
Battle of the Fork

written by

Leukaemia Care, Charity

Nutrition is an important factor in dealing with cancer, as a good diet can give your body strength and support whilst undergoing treatment.

Especially after Christmas, eating more healthily is common and after some over-indulgence at Christmas this can seem like an easy thing to stick to. But with bad weather outside, busy lifestyles, family lives and the stress of a blood cancer, it’s easy to see why people may turn to comfort food.

Going through treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation, this can be hard on your body. By making healthy food choices, it can help you feel better and speed your recovery.

Whilst being on treatment it is essential to avoid extreme diets that may leave you short on key nutrients needed for growth and repair. There isn’t enough evidence around whether individual foods will affect cancer risk, however getting the right amounts of the food groups can hep you on your way to a healthier lifestyle and avoiding too much salt and processed foods high in saturated fats can also aid this.

Although there is a lot in the news about these super foods and healthy substitutes, it really doesn’t have to be overly complicated or expensive by trying to be healthy.

Wise choices of fruits and vegetables, will make it easier to get in your five a day and not be bored by the same choice of an apple a day. By expanding the variety of the fruits and vegetables to you this will allow you to experience a wide range of different flavours and combinations helping to keep you interested and sticking to a healthy routine.

It is better to opt for wholegrain alternatives to your normal starchy carbohydrates such as bread, pasta, flours and rice as they provide the vitamins, nutrients and minerals needed to keep you healthy and strong. Whole grains also contain dietary fibre, which may help reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other health complications.

It is highly important to have a diet with a good amount of protein in, as this is the primary source of the growth and repair function for the body. Proteins such as chicken and fish provide a healthy alternative to red and processed meat. Red meat doesn’t have to be avoided completely, however if currently you eat a large amount of this type of meat, cutting down on it and replacing it with white meat or bulking up other dishes with vegetables and pulses will have greater health benefits for you. Pulses such as lentils, chickpeas, beans and even soya etc. are a great source of fibre and protein without the animal fat.

An issue that can sometimes prevent people from eating more healthily is time, as meals some times require more cooking time and around a busy schedule and possible treatment this can be stressful. Because of this, people often opt or ready meals. These meals are often high in salt and saturated fats, so a healthy solution to this may be to devise a meal plan at the beginning of the week so that you know what you will be eating for each meal. From this you may be able to batch cook foods and freeze them or store in the fridge to reheat for the rest of the week, which can be especially helpful if cooking for a family. Although this method can be considered time consuming if this is done on an evening in one go, it can save you time throughout the week whilst providing you with these healthy alternatives.

Although avoiding certain foods and eating others won’t provide you with a cure, by knowing more about what you put into your body, you will be actively trying to provide support for you body whether you are undergoing treatment, in remission or are just trying to plan meals as a carer.

If you have any questions regarding nutrition please contact our CARE team at 08088 010 444

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