by Naomi Clarke (Guest writer)
Natural breast health treatments can help individuals feel more proactive when it comes to managing and taking care of their health, and nutrition can be a particularly strong approach. The American Cancer Society emphasizes good nutrition since the treatment and illness itself changes the way the body functions and responds to the food you eat. Eating well while undergoing treatment contributes to improved weight, mood, strength, energy, and overall healing.
These are the best practices you can follow to integrate a nutritious diet into your care and treatment plan.
Know which foods to eat or avoid
While food cannot treat breast cancer by itself, there are certain foods that can reduce the risk of progression or recurrence. Regular intake of high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds, and nuts improves digestive health and aids weight management, which is often a challenge for breast cancer patients. Additionally, cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower contain phytochemicals that help inhibit cancer growth.
Since hydration is another essential component of your diet, swap out high-sugar beverages like soda with plain water. It’s also best to limit your fat intake by avoiding trans fats and saturated fats like butter and fatty meats; replace these instead with unsaturated fats found in olive oil and flaxseed oil.
Try out meal prep
To save time and energy when shopping for and cooking your meals, plan your meals ahead of time. Breastcancer.org’s helpful guide for meal planning encourages cooking large batches of food, then dividing it into smaller portions that you can just reheat later on. This sort of meat prep works well for soups, broths, or mixed vegetables. It also allows you to buy food in bulk so you don’t have to go to the grocery store as often. On days when you feel tired or not-so-good, you can also opt for healthy meal prep services that can be delivered straight to your doorstep. Of course, it never hurts to ask for help from family and loved ones. They can help you out with grocery shopping or meal requests.
Consult a medical professional
Specific nutritional needs can vary from person to person, so it’s also important to seek professional help, such as consulting your oncologist or nurse practitioner. Nurse practitioners are registered nurses with advanced training or specializations, so choosing one with a focus on nutrition can help you with identifying nutritional goals and developing a plan to meet those needs. The state you live in will determine the services available to you. Those looking for health and wellness treatments for sensitive issues can look for remote nurse practitioners in Wisconsin and 33 other states across the country. These telehealth options give you an accessible healthcare experience wherein you save both time and money. Rather than commuting to clinics or hospitals and having to wait for a doctor, you can easily schedule virtual appointments and receive nutrition consultations from the comfort of your own home.
Explore cancer-fighting recipes
It’s easier to follow a nutritious, well-balanced diet when you enjoy the food that you eat. The University of California San Francisco posts recipes which are both easy to follow and allow cancer patients to meet their nutritional needs. These recipes are often high in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamins, and minerals; they range from overnight oats and smoothies for breakfast, to chicken curry and vegetable wraps as entrees. Healthy options for sweets and snacks can also help you stay nutritious even when you have a poor appetite and prefer smaller portion sizes.
While it takes effort and responsibility to eat healthier, doing so can boost your treatment and overall quality of life. From a previous blog post titled ‘Prevention Is Better Than Cure’, we highlight how the health of the mind and the body can be approached holistically by pairing a healthy diet with exercise and lifestyle changes. Seeking support from the people around you can also make the journey toward healing and recovery a lot easier and more meaningful.