Nutrition During Radiation
What is nutrition?
Nutrition is eating the right amount of the right food so your body will have enough energy to repair itself and grow properly.
Why is proper nutrition important during radiation therapy?
Normal cells as well as cancer cells are hurt during radiation therapy. Good nutrition helps your body repair the normal cells, gives you energy and helps your body fight infection.
What will happen if you are poorly nourished?
- You will lose weight (your body will use muscle and fat stored for energy if you do not eat enough).
- Wounds will not heal as quickly.
- You may not tolerate your therapy as well.
- You will become tired more easily.
Some ways to help make sure you are properly nourished during radiation therapy:
- When you feel well prepare meals ahead of time and place in the freezer.
- Eat foods that are your favorites.
- Try to eat even if you do not feel hungry.
- Try eating a big breakfast.
- Sometimes cancer patients are able to eat more in the morning.
- Food stored at room temperature or cold may taste better.
- Add butter or margarine to food.
- Drink very little liquids or no liquids at mealtimes. Liquids fill you up but have very little food value.
- Eat foods high in protein such as meat, dairy products (milk, ice cream, cheese), peanut butter and eggs.
- If you are having trouble with solid food, drink liquids with powdered milk, yogurt or honey added. You may also want to try a liquid supplement or an instant breakfast drink.
- If other people offer to cook for you, let them!
- Prepare canned cream soups with milk or half & half instead of water.
- Try to eat 3 well-balanced meals or 6 small snacks each day.
- Use soft lighting, quiet music or colored table settings to help you feel good while you are eating.
- Keep healthy snacks handy for nibbling.
To learn more about how to manage the side effects from Radiation, please click here.