Nutritional Advice by Dr. Marina Augusto Estêvão
Lack of appetite is a symptom common to most cancer patients, which during treatment increases the risk of malnutrition. If this is not contradicted, it can lead to a decrease in body weight and muscle mass.
A good diet increases well-being and allows for the continuation of treatments, as well as helping to deal with associated complications such as changes in taste and gastrointestinal disturbances. Furthermore, it helps to restore the body's defences to deal with the treatment.
Here are some tips to help mitigate the effects of treatments and thus contribute to an improvement in nutritional status:
- Make several simple meals throughout the day, not bulky and not very spicy;
- Choose a calm and relaxing environment for meals, preferably accompanied;
- Avoid foods with inflammatory potential, such as foods high in sugar (sodas, sugary desserts, biscuits, breakfast cereals, pastries) and foods high in saturated fat (deli products, fried foods, pre-cooked foods, snacks) ;
- Try to include in your daily diet foods rich in antioxidants such as fruits (especially soft fruits and mangoes), vegetables (carrots, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin), spices such as turmeric and ginger, nuts and pulses;
- Don't forget protein sources with high biological value to maintain muscle mass, such as fish, meat, eggs, unsweetened natural yoghurt;
- In case of nausea, opt for foods made with little fat, at room temperature, low sugar liquids, dry ginger biscuits, toast, toasts, or jellies. Also, avoid lying down after a meal;
- If you notice changes in taste, choose to marinate meat/fish in lemon, orange or natural fruit juice, consume mint/lemon candies between meals, accompany meals with natural lemonade;
- In situations of diarrhoea, reinforce the intake of water and natural infusions, choose cooked fruit or ripe bananas, avoid dairy products, coffee, black tea, green vegetables, legumes, fried and spiced foods;