Nutrition and eating habits are an important aspect of staying healthy. During cancer treatment, many people are unable to eat a healthy diet and may even have negative reactions to food following months of nausea and vomiting. However, healthy eating is one of the best ways to regain health and restore the body’s lost nutrients.
The recommendations for a cancer survivor’s diet are very similar to the recommendations for the general public. The patient should eat a diet low in saturated fat, cholesterol, refined sugar, and artificial flavors, colors, and sweeteners. In addition, eating a diet free from chemicals and processed foods can offer further protection from the negative effects of the standard UK/ American diet.
Plant-based diets are shown to be imperative in lowering the risk of cancer, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. A whole grain, low sugar diet based on fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains is a healthy option. In addition, it is recommended that all people, and especially cancer survivors, research appropriate dietary supplements, including vitamin D and Omega-3 oils.
In addition to diet, an exercise regimen can help the patient regain lost muscle mass and lower the level of fatigue the survivor feels. Exercise can also improve cardiovascular functioning and lower the patient’s levels of anxiety and depression. Because the cancer patient may not have had the energy levels to exercise during treatment, beginning very slowly with even ten minutes a day of light walking can help. Gradually build up to daily exercise of at least thirty minutes each day. Be sure to make exercise fun and motivating by choosing a favorite activity and getting friends and family involved in daily workouts.
Every healthy lifestyle also involves reducing risk-taking behaviors. A cancer survivor should make every effort to quit smoking if he or she smokes, avoid illegal drugs, and lower the level of alcohol consumed. Avoiding exposures to smoke, chemicals, and toxins can also help to keep the body healthy.
Finally, the cancer survivor should make sure he or she has a strong emotional support system. Following cancer treatment, the patient may face depression, anxiety, and high levels of stress. Finding a support person or therapist to speak to, as well as learning stress management techniques can help the patient maintain positive mental health, as well as physical health.