Cancer treatment can sap your appetite. How to meet your nutrition needs… post #4

Don’t Lose Out on Liquids

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation can leave you dehydrated. Some drugs can also cause kidney damage if they’re not flushed out of your system, so during cancer treatment, it’s particularly important to get enough fluids. “Adequate hydration can’t be supplied by a healthy diet alone,” says Deng. “Along with drinking more water, patients should try sports drinks, like Gatorade, and other nutritional drinks.”

Some people find it hard to drink enough water (chemotherapy can even make water taste strange), so Deng suggests getting some of your fluid intake through soups. “For some people, the added flavor of something like chicken noodle soup may make it easier to get the liquid down,” he says.

Chicken soup has another benefit: It boosts your electrolytes (the collective term for the minerals sodium, potassium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium), which can often be depleted by the side effects of treatment. “It’s very important to make sure that you have adequate electrolyte intake,” Deng says. Gatorade and other sports drinks also help maintain your electrolyte balance.

The bottom line, according to Deng: “Don’t get fixated on any one particular substance. There’s no magic food or magic supplement,” he says. “Nothing beats a well-balanced, diverse diet.”

SOURCES: Gary Deng, MD, assistant attending and assistant member, Integrative Medicine Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. Sally Scroggs, MS, RD, LD, senior health education coordinator, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston. American Cancer Society.


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