Guidelines For Eating High Protein Foods During Cancer Treatment
Each individual’s calorie and protein requirements will vary. For a rough estimate of calorie needs, plan on consuming 25 to 35 calories for each kilogram of weight . The current recommended daily allowance for protein is 45 to 60 grams per day. It is important to discuss your individual calorie and protein requirements with your physician or registered dietitian. With some cancers, the metabolic processes can cause a situation known as hypermetabolism that affects how the body uses proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. With hypermetabolism you may need to increase your calorie and protein intake. Discuss this with your physician or registered dietitian.
To avoid the risk of food poisoning, do not use raw eggs in uncooked items. Egg substitutes may be used in uncooked items, such as milkshakes or eggnog. Egg Beaters® add 25 calories per 1/4 cup and 5 grams protein per 1/4 cup.
What foods are high in protein?
Foods that are high in protein include:
- Meats beef, chicken, fish, turkey, and lamb
- Milk and cheese yogurt, cottage cheese, and cream cheese
- Peanut butter
- Dried beans and peas
Listed below are some suggestions for adding calories and protein to your meals and snacks:
- Add powdered milk :
- to foods and beverages.
- to puddings, potatoes, soups, ground meats, vegetables, cooked cereal, milkshakes, yogurt, and pancake batter.
What If I Am Lactose Intolerant
Low lactose milks , cheeses, and ice cream are available. Individuals who are mildly lactose intolerant can often tolerate yogurt and fattier dairy foods such as cheese and ice cream. Milk alternates can be used instead of milk but it is important to note that protein content of these products varies and may not be the same as that of cows milk. Lactaid® pills, which contain the enzyme that digests milk, can also be taken before eating a dairy food and are available at most pharmacies.
Types Of Protein For Cancer Patients
While many people make the decision to restrict their intake of animal proteins when dealing with cancer, there are other plant-based sources of protein to choose from such as raw nuts and seeds, spirulina, pea protein, and hemp protein.
While it is possible to get enough protein in the diet through plant-based protein sources, it can take more effort. Most plant-based proteins are incomplete proteins, meaning they dont contain all the necessary essential amino acids in the right combination. Therefore, plant-based proteins must be taken in combination with other plant-based proteins to get a complete protein. But plant proteins require less digestive energy to extract and dont require cooking.
Animal-based proteins, on the other hand, are complete proteins, meaning that they contain all the necessary essential amino acids in the correct format that body needs. But they do require more digestive effort to process and cooking meat reduces some of its protein content.
When eating animal-based proteins, always choose high quality lean sources which are raised without antibiotics or added hormones. If avoiding red meat, choose other animal-based proteins such as organic chicken and turkey, wild-caught fish, game meats, or farm-fresh eggs.
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What To Do When Your Mouth Betrays You
Treatments for cancer fight the disease by targeting fast-growing cancer cells unfortunately, those same techniques can kill off similar healthy cells, especially those in the mouth and digestive system. This is the cause of another common side effect during cancer treatments: mucositis, a condition characterized by sores in the mouth and throat that can make eating an unpleasant task. Those undergoing treatment for cancer of the mouth or throat often experience further pain while chewing or swallowing, and changes in a persons sense of taste or smell are not uncommon.
In all, this collection of symptoms only makes weight management even more trying, at a time when many patients feel they have larger concerns than the readout on their bathroom scale. However, the importance of maintaining a healthy diet is only heightened by the bodys weakened state you need to take in enough fuel to keep your strength up. Meal replacement shakes especially those that offer a significant number of calories and natural, healthy ingredients can offer a smooth, tasty way to sustain you without forcing you to chew, plan, or otherwise struggle with meals.
The Function Of Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy may be given as an injection, drip or pill, and exerts its effects on cancer by inducing oxidative stress -mainly superoxide and hydrogen peroxide to all cells, both normal and cancerous.
Due to the toxic action of chemotherapy, the heart, kidneys, bone marrow, liver and digestive system are highly susceptible to injury. This makes the synergistic support with diet and the best supplementation for chemotherapy a crucial part of a cancer treatment program. Immunotherapy is becoming a superior option to chemotherapy because it uses substances either made by the body or in a lab to improve or restore immune system function. This is exactly what diet and supplementation can also do.
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Health Halo Is A Concept Based On Perception If You Perceive A Certain Food To Be Healthier You May Believe It Has Nutritional Benefits It Doesnt
Breast cancer survivors are particularly susceptible to health halo marketing, and why not?
Finding a food that ensures no recurrence or otherwise benefits breast cancer is the holy grail.
Which of course, doesnt exist.
Turns out, theres nothing magical about protein supplements theyre all about convenience.
What could be more appealing than a portable way to get 20-30 grams of protein on the run?
Protein supplements are perfect for busy lifestyles.
Not that Im an advocate of eating as you run out the door, but you get my point.
Sometimes you need a little convenience to get your nutrition done.
Lets say you decide to get your protein in actual food form.
Pretend its breakfast, and you have time to eat ONE food only. To get that 20-30 grams of protein by eating only ONE of the foods below, notice how much youd need to consume:
- 4 5 eggs
- 1.5 2 cups plain Greek yogurt
- 1 1.25 cups cottage cheese
- 1.25 1.75 cups cooked lentils
- 2.5 3.75 cups cooked quinoa
- .33 .75 cups peanut butter
Of course, youd likely never eat only ONE food at breakfast to meet that level of protein. Youd combine foods, like toast with avocado + two eggs, which gets you close to 20 grams of protein.
Note, Im using 20-30 grams of protein as a reference example. Not everyone needs that much protein at breakfast Your protein requirements are unique to you alone keep reading to figure out how much you need.
Weight Changes Can Jeopardize Health And Recovery
One of the many challenges that often come with cancer treatments is maintaining weight while battling the symptoms of both disease and cure. The loss of body mass tends to go hand in hand with a drop in energy levels, which only makes dealing with illness more difficult. A patient who is not getting the appropriate level of nutrients can become malnourished and further jeopardize their health, which may in turn cause their treatments to stop for a period of time.
Imagine having to contend with a cancer diagnosis, then with the side effects of medication and radiation treatments, only to find yourself forced to pause your treatments and delay your recovery from a life-threatening condition. Few developments are as frustrating as having to stop treating your disease taking stock of your options can help prevent this, however.
The simplest and most effective method of preventing a decline in strength is to consistently consume nutrients especially carbohydrates, fats, and proteins that will keep you fueled in your fight against cancer. For many patients, nutrition shakes offer a unique opportunity to keep up with their bodys needs without having to plan meals or chew and swallow through pain and nausea. Depending on the composition, these beverages can provide most of the calories and macronutrients you need to stay at a healthy weight during treatment.
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Protein Types And Uses
Whey protein isone of the most commonly used proteins and is best for day-to-day use. Itcontains all of the essential amino acids and is easily digested. It helpsboost energy and can reduce stress levels.
Whey isolates and concentrates are best to use after aworkout.
Soy protein isanother common choice. It helps reduce high cholesterol and can ease symptomsof menopause for some women. It can also help with osteoporosis by helpingbuild bone mass.
Other types of protein include:
- Eggprotein, released more slowly than whey, can be taken throughout the day.
- Milkproteins help support immune function and enhance muscle growth.
- Brown Riceprotein, which is 100% plant-based, is a good choice for vegetarians or forpeople who dont consume dairy products. Its also gluten-free.
- Peaprotein is highly digestible, hypo-allergenic and economical.
- Hempprotein is also 100% plant-based. Its a good source of omega-3 fattyacids.
Why Are Smoothies Good If You Have Cancer
Smoothies are easy to sip especially on days that you dont feel like eating. Theyre full of nutrients, vitamins, and healthy fruits and vegetables. If you choose ingredients with healthy fats and protein, your smoothie will keep you feeling full longer, too. This will help you to fight off nausea.
Basically, smoothies are a fast and convenient way to get a lot of healthy food into your body. You can use almost anything you have on-hand, and still end up with a tasty, convenient meal.
Hormel Solution Dry Mixes
Hormel Solutions has created a line of nutritional soft food products that have protein or calorie enhancements. For example, the No Bake Custard Dry Mix is available and gets added to water or milk for use as a soft food. This is important for cancer patients that exhibit swallowing problems or experience mouth sores from cancer treatments of the head and neck. This product delivers 8 g of protein, 230 calories and provides 25 percent of the daily recommended amounts of 18 vitamins and minerals.
Antioxidants And Chemotherapy: Is There Evidence To Avoid Antioxidants
A primary mechanism of many chemotherapy drugs against cancer cells is the formation of pro-oxidants or free radicals. The standard protocol for chemotherapy is to discontinue the use of antioxidants with the logic that it may interfere with the pro-oxidant effect of chemotherapy. Chemotherapy generates high amounts of oxidative stress, and therefore it would appear that antioxidants could attenuate the effectiveness of the oxidative stress to kill cancer cells. This, however, is just a theory and has not sufficiently been proven.
Whether to avoid antioxidants or use them during chemotherapy is still considered controversial. The problem is that to avoid all antioxidants during chemotherapy would mean to avoid all meat, fish, whey, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and herbs. Antioxidants are ubiquitous through endogenous production in our body and in our entire whole food supply. It is also to misunderstand the pro-oxidative effect that some of these compounds have on cancerous cells through oxidative stress without harming healthy cells.
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Best Protein For Cancer Patients
Of all of these protein sources, hemp protein is the most highly recommended. Hemp protein, unlike most other plant-based proteins, is a complete protein, containing all 8 essential amino acids.
Why hemp protein? Hemp protein is vegan, gluten-free, kosher, non-genetically modified, grown organically, pesticide-free, herbicide-free, no saturated fatty acids, no trans fats, no cholesterol, non-allergenic, 3:1 omega-3 to omega-6 ratio, 20 amino acids, 8 essential amino acids, soy-free, whey-free. Why not?
Drink Wholesome Is The Best Protein Powder For Cancer Patients
Protein is important.
When you are undergoing cancer treatments, your protein needs are higher. This is because one of the side effects of treatment is reduced appetite. Reduced appetite can cause weight and strength loss and as your body starts to break down muscle for energy. Eating enough protein can stop or slow this process. It can also help your body fight infections, heal wounds, and recover.
The amount of protein you need to eat depends upon your body weight, but most people will need between 1 and 2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Although many cancer patients can meet their protein goals with normal food, some cannot due to reduced appetite, difficulty swallowing, etc. Protein supplements are a great option for these people.
There are two types of protein supplements, ready-to-drink protein shakes and protein powder. I recommend protein powder because almost all liquid protein supplements contain food additives. Moreover, any type of protein powder can help you meet your protein goals, but not all protein powders are good for you. Here are a few things to avoid for when choosing a protein powder.
Dairy-based protein powders can cause side effects like bloating, constipation, cramps, diarrhea, gas, and stomach pain, especially for people with lactose intolerance or irritable bowel syndrome . Common dairy-based protein powders include casein and whey protein powder, both of which are byproducts of cheese and yogurt production.
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Quick Fun And Easy Recipes For You To Try At Home
It is important that cancer patients are more cautious, than the average person, when creating their own diet menus. One must not blindly follow unproven high-protein diet methods, and quality protein should be the only kind of proteins readily available in your pantry. With the help of our clinics dietitian, we have provided the following 3 quick and easy high-protein meals for chemo patients!
Are You Using The Product Short Or Long
- Short-term: You occasionally dont feel like preparing or eating a meal. You want a convenient way to boost protein on those days you whip up a smoothie.
- Long-term: You like the taste and convenience and intend to make the product part of your daily diet. Youre struggling to get enough from whole food sources.
Protein supplements like protein powders, bars, and shakes can be part of your breast cancer diet. If you feel youre relying on protein supplements to meet most or all of your daily protein needs, get some guidance on other ways to accomplish that.
To choose the best protein supplement for you, think about how youre going to use the product, whether or not it fits your budget and lifestyle, what nutritional benefits youre looking for, and how taste and convenience stack up.
Whether you choose to use a protein supplement or to get your protein from whole foods, try to have a source of protein at each meal to keep you feeling satisfied until your next meal or snack.
Whats your favorite protein supplement or high protein food recipe? Share with me in the comments!
Thanks for reading my blog post!
Im Cathy Leman. I help survivors of ER/PR+ breast cancer conquer their fear of phytoestrogen foods, eat without stress and guilt, and confidently rebuild their health after treatment.
and schedule a call to discuss your nutrition and lifestyle challenges and to learn how I can help YOU.
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Protein Powder For Cancer Patients
Protein shakes for cancer patients are convenient and easily consumed, but protein powders may also help you get the additional protein your body needs. You can add protein powder to your juice or milk, hot cereal or soup, or mix in with your mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. Adding the powder can also up the protein content in your protein shake.
Protein supplements for chemo patients may improve nutritional status and immune function, according to a small June 2018 randomized double-blind control study published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods. The participants in the study received a whey protein supplement with zinc and selenium or a maltodextrin powder and snack every day for 12 weeks.
The researchers found a significant improvement in nutritional status and immune health in the group supplemented with the whey compared to the control group. However, this was a small study and more research is needed before claims can be made.
However, it’s important to note that protein powders are a dietary supplement. According to the Food and Drug Administration, with a dietary supplement it’s up to the manufacturer of the product to ensure safety. In 2018, the Clean Label Project evaluated 134 protein powders for toxins, heavy metals, BPA and pesticides. Many popular brands, even those made from organic ingredients, were found to contain high levels of lead, cadmium, arsenic and BPA.
Increasing Superoxide Dismutase And Catalase Activity
Increasing superoxide dismutase and catalase activity will help you protect healthy cells from the elevated superoxide and hydrogen peroxide generated by chemotherapy. Superoxide dismutase requires zinc and copper in the right ratios for the cell membrane, while intracellular SOD requires manganese. Cordyceps, reishi, and black cumin seed oil have all been found in studies to protect against and scavenge superoxide. You will also find some of the most impressive anti-cancer research with these three.
Flavonoids, iron , selenium, ginger, cumin, anise, fennel, caraway, and cardamom all assist catalase. Ginger consumption has been reported to decrease lipid peroxidation and normalizes the activities of superoxide dismutase and catalase, as well as GSH and glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase, and glutathione-S-transferase. Ginger is also one of the most effective herbs for nausea, common during chemotherapy. All of these have strong antioxidant and anticancer activity.
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Protein Needs For Cancer
As noted earlier, cachexia is a common coexisting condition in cancer patients. The weight and muscle loss may play a significant role in your fatigue and weakness. According to the European Society for Clinical Nutrition and Metabolism clinical guidelines for cancer patients published in the September 2017 issue of Clinical Nutrition, cancer patients require 0.45 grams to 0.68 grams of protein per pound of body weight.
By comparison, the Recommended Dietary Allowance â the average amount sufficient to meet the needs of most healthy people â for protein is 0.36 grams, according to the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine.
For perspective, if you have cancer and weigh 160 pounds, ideally you should be consuming 72 to 109 grams of protein a day. By comparison, a 160-pound person without cancer only needs 58 grams of protein a day.
Many of the diet strategies recommended by the NCI include ways to increase protein, such as eating your protein foods first, adding extra protein to your food and to eat foods that are high in protein and calories .