Eating healthy may play a role in cancer prevention. Many cancers are linked to excess weight. Healthy eating also helps people during cancer treatment and recovery. Chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy and other cancer treatments can take a toll on the body. They may affect taste, smell, appetite and the ability to absorb nutrients from food.
If you or someone you love is dealing with cancer, talk with your doctor or care team about what is best to eat and drink during cancer treatments. They may refer you to a dietitian who can help you with your diet during and after treatments.
Here are some living healthy basics you can apply:
Your body needs a certain amount of liquid to function well. This is called hydration. Water, fruits, vegetables, smoothies, some soups, decaffeinated tea and unsweetened drinks are some examples for how to keep hydrated.
When choosing foods, try reaching for whole fruits, vegetables, legumes (like peas or beans) and other low-calorie options. Consider eating whole grains instead of refined grains. For example, choose whole-grain bread, pasta and cereal instead of refined foods like pastries, white rice or sugary cereals.
Check Nutrition Labels
Learn what to look for on the label. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires food companies to provide certain information on the nutrition labels printed on food packages. Nutrition labels can be filled with useful clues. When you eat something from a box, bag or fast food restaurant, look for options with less sugar, salt and calories.
Commit to Exercise
A doctor-approved workout may strengthen your body, improve your hormone levels and the way your immune system works. Even a little exercise to keep active can make a difference.
Stop Tobacco Use
Tobacco can cause cancer. There are benefits to stopping tobacco use at any age. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble quitting the use of tobacco.
Plan Ahead for Travel
Pack healthy snacks for long trips or doctor visits. Try packing a small cooler with hummus and vegetables or apples and peanut butter. Or keep it simple with whole-grain crackers or trail mix. When you eat out, try to choose salads or grilled items instead of fried foods. When grocery shopping on the road, look for low-fat prepared meals, salads or rotisserie chicken options.
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