Therapeutic nutrition

In our work with patients at LISOD we use an integrated personalized approach that takes into account the condition, symptoms, comorbidities, genetic features of metabolism, types and stages of treatment, and evidence-based nutrition founded on international practice. 

The disease on the one hand and treatment methods on the other hand can worsen the patient’s nutrition status, decrease the level of nutrients’ assimilation, provoke weight loss and, as a result, diminish the treatment effect. That is why adhering to the principles of proper nutrition is an important part of cancer prevention and treatment. When designing individual recommendations, general health condition is always evaluated, an objective assessment of the nutritional status is provided and, depending on patient’s needs, a decision is made regarding the necessary nutritional support. 

Patients usually have a lot of questions about nutrition. A dietologist will help to choose the best nutrition option considering the capabilities of your body at various stages of treatment and recovery, will answer all your questions based on the internationally recognized and scientifically proven recommendations. The doctor will help you navigate across the enormous volume of contradictory information from the Internet about the ‘magic’ diets and ‘curative’ biologically active additives. 

An abrupt weight loss limits the treatment options, while appropriate and timely nutritional correction can relieve the side effects caused by treatment and increases its efficacy. Depending on patient’s condition and the stage of treatment, dietary nutrition may be aiming at improving well-being, normalizing the function of organs and systems, slowing down the loss of weight and muscle, preventing the recurrence of the disease. That is why therapeutic nutrition accompanies the patient throughout their whole life. 

General approaches to therapeutic nutrition in breast cancer 

During the breast cancer treatment, the appetite may be blunted, for instance, because of chemotherapy. However, a healthy diet is a key to successful therapy and recovery. At the LISOD Breast Center a dietologist helps patients to design their own helpful menu in accordance with the stage of treatment, course of disease, patients’ preferences, season etc. 

Vitamins and nutrients

Focus on the calories. Calories are crucial to the body to support the energy balance. ‘Lose your weight’ later. 

To make sure that the products contain the vitamins and nutrients pay attention to information on the label. 

In addition to consuming the right number of calories, it is important to eat in a balanced manner, and to have natural (preferably seasonal) vegetables and fruit. 

At any stage of treatment (chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy or when they are combined) the body undergoes stress. So, to strengthen and recover the immune system, to heal the wounds the patient needs protein. Poultry, fish, meat are the best sources of protein. Beans, cheese, peanut butter, nuts, eggs, yogurt, and milkshakes will also come in handy.

A few examples of healthy food

Nuts and eggs are sources of protein, vitamin E, as well as a complex of B vitamins. You can come up with a useful and simple snack made of peanut butter and crackers.

Meat, cheese, fish, poultry, and milk are great sources of protein and B vitamins. If the smell of food causes nausea (happens during chemotherapy), a patient can eat these products chilled.

Protein and B vitamins can be found in beans. 

Citrus fruit contain C, A, P and B vitamins. As an alternative to citrus fruit (if chemotherapy causes wounds in the mouth) a patient can take fruit juices. Apple sauce, peaches, pear nectar also contain the necessary vitamins.

Pay attention! Some chemotherapy regimens prohibit the consumption of grapefruit and some other citrus fruits.

Leafy green vegetables: lettuce, sorrel, all kinds of cabbage, green onions, spinach, dill and parsley, celery, leeks are an amazing source of iron and K, A, and E vitamins. All of them, other than sorrel and spinach can be eaten both raw and boiled. 

Make sure the vegetables and fruit have been washed well. 

Do not forget about drinks

Radiation and chemotherapy can cause dehydration of the organism. Certain medications, if they are not excreted from the body, can even cause damage to the kidneys. That is why we suggest drinking enough water throughout the treatment. 

If water seems to have a strange taste under the influence of chemotherapy, we offer eating more soups. An important advantage of a chicken soup is that it increases the content of electrolytes (general term for potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, chloride) which may be excreted from the body as a side effect of the treatment. 

Eat a balanced and varied diet. Unfortunately, there are no unique magic drinks and products that will provide the body with all the necessary elements. 

More about the diet

Oily kids of fish are absolutely harmless in breast cancer (and in many cases they are even recommended). Fish oil contains easily digestible and useful acids. At the same time, we recommend limiting the consumption of sunflower oil and fried food. It is better to cook in high-quality olive or linseed oil.

The menu also has to include the products that limit the cholesterol rise: vegetables (carrots, garlic, onions), fruit (avocados, apples), greens, fish, buckwheat and oatmeal, walnuts.

One of the reasons why breast cancer develops is the hormonal balance disorders. To normalize it we need the products that are rich in choline, inosol and methionine. These can be seeds, nuts, unfermented bread, and red grapes. They can be complemented by any fruit and vegetables rich in fiber because fiber helps the gut function. Patients often need to take calcium to balance out the hormonal system.

Estrogen activity can be inhibited by some cereals – primarily soybeans and beans.

Patients can supplement and replace soy with sprouted grains of wheat, green vegetables, cabbage.

Cereals should make up half of the amount of food consumed. Patients can cook vegetable soup adding the buckwheat or millet, barley, rice. 

Caffeine-containing drinks such as coffee, black tea, cola are contraindicated. They provoke fluid accumulation in the tissues. Swelling, in turn, promotes the growth of scar tissue. Green tea, on the other hand, is extremely helpful. 

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