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The Relationship Between Nutrition and Blood Cancer Treatment

In the discussion of blood cancer, nutrition is a common topic that comes into play. Not surprisingly, nutrition plays a pivotal role during both periods of blood cancer treatment and survivorship. Healthy nutrition is key to maintaining a strong and healthy body, which aids recovery time and nixes treatment delays. 

Eat real food. 

When it comes to healthy nutrition, the most recommended diet is plant-based. Unlike vegans or vegetarians, a plant-based diet heavily emphasizes the importance of plant-based foods but does not necessarily exclude animal proteins. Instead, the diet encourages an intake of 25% or less of animal proteins, such as dairy, meat, eggs, and fish. But restricting animal proteins does not mean restricting proteins altogether. It is important to maintain a healthy intake of proteins by eating plant-based proteins such as nuts, tofu, and beans. 

A common misconception about adopting a plant-based diet is that it means having to embrace a holistic lifestyle, complete with herbal supplements. Many herbal products and supplements promise a variety of nutrients and energy, but the truth is, the best source of energy comes from real food. A nutrient is an essential substance your body needs to survive, but can not make on its own. Food provides humans with a variety of different nutrients, whereas herbal products only supply a single nutrient.   Blood cancer patients should exclude all herbal products from their diet unless they have been specially prescribed by a medical practitioner. 

Choose healthy foods.

Another important aspect to understand about this healthy lifestyle is real food does not mean greasy and fattening fast food. After treatments, it is crucial to fuel your body with nutrient-rich meals. Nutrients have been a proven tactic to helping ease the side effects of chemotherapy or transplants. Nutrient-rich foods also contain crucial components that aid in the replacement of blood cells and healthy tissues after damage from treatment. 

Drink water, coffee, and tea.

Follow the age-old rule: “Don’t drink your calories.” When undergoing cancer treatment, patients should nurture their body, not harm it. Blood cancer patients are strongly encouraged to steer clear of sugary drinks and soda. Instead, stick to water, coffee, and unsweetened tea. These drinks serve to keep patients hydrated after treatments and ward of nausea and constipation. Plus, drinking water or tea at meals will allow you to fill up on real food instead of wasted calories on sugar and fat. 

Practice food safety when preparing meals. 

Blood cancer treatments have a tendency to weaken the immune system and increase the risk of foodborne illnesses. To combat this, food safety is imperative. There are endless instructions to ensure food safety, but it is important to remember the four guidelines: Clean, Separate, Cook, Chill. 

Clean hands, counters, dishes, utensils, sinks, towels, sponges, fruits, and vegetables. 

Separate meat and vegetables, along with the utensils used to cook meats and vegetables. 

Cook meat to proper temperatures.

Chill all groceries immediately. 

If you would like more information about the relationship between blood cancer and nutrition or would like more information about blood cancer, please contact There Goes My Hero at 443-339-4375 or email us at stephanie.cupp@theregoesmyhero.org.