Tips For Staying Healthy During Radiation Treatment
Radiation therapy can be taxing on your body in more ways than one, so it is vital that you take care of your body during radiation. Here at Rejuvaskin we’ve spent years trying to help improve the radiation process for patients through our Skin Recovery Cream, which provides relief from the damaging skin effects many patients experience throughout the course of their treatment, and we know just how important a role overall health plays in your ability to fight cancer and improve your body’s response to radiation treatment.
While healthy diets are always essential to keeping your body going long term, radiation can leave your body feeling much more depleted than normal. Nutrient-dense foods will give you the tools you need to recover as well as possible, unlike low nutrient foods which can slow down the recovery process.
We’ve put together a few tips on how to have a healthy body throughout radiation:
Tip #1: Make Sure To Stay Hydrated
Hydrating is a vital form of maintaining health during radiation treatment. Treatments can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and increased rates of dehydration. However, you don’t have to rely solely on water for your means of hydration. Drinking things like tea, soup broth, or smoothies can provide alternative methods of hydration for when you are sick of water. It might be helpful for you to keep a bottle of whatever you prefer right beside you, so that you remind yourself to hydrate throughout the day.
Tip #2: Eat Meals More Frequently
Many resources suggest that you eat smaller meals throughout the day, at a much more frequent rate. It may be hard to maintain energy throughout your treatment schedule, so it’s good to eat something about every two to three hours. In addition, if you take your time eating during mealtimes, it can allow your body more time to digest your food properly and may help avoid nausea. It is okay for you to go against the norms when going through this.
Tip #3: Consume Nutrient-Dense Foods
As radiation tends to drain energy, it becomes increasingly important for you to eat foods that are high in nutrients to try to keep your energy up. A rule of thumb is that the more color in your diet, the better. Basically, you want to try your hardest to make fruits and vegetables the majority of your meals as they can assist with proper bowel movements during your treatment.
In addition, if you have intense carb cravings, you should substitute them for carbs found in whole grains. If you enjoy quinoa, you can swap your white rice for a nice serving of quinoa and increase your protein intake while you’re at it. While you might be tempted to eat lots of steak to gather all of the necessary proteins for your diet, it is more important for you to get more of your proteins from lean proteins. That does not just mean fish (although fish is a great source of protein!), but it can be things like nuts, beans, eggs, and more. Eating all of these foods in the proper amounts can give you the energy you need to fight the cancer to the best of your ability.
Tip #4: Ensure Consistent Consumption Of Vitamins
If you are eating a balanced diet full of plenty of vegetables and fruits, you should be able to get most of the vitamins you need. However, if your doctor thinks that you need more than what your food can give you, they might recommend daily supplements. Make sure to not take more than the doctor recommends, as it is possible to take too many vitamins. Large does of some vitamins can be linked to lessening the effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatment, so stick with the amounts and plan provided by your doctor.
Tip #5: Avoid Processed Foods
Since so much energy is depleted during treatment, it is essential that you consume foods that only give you more energy. Foods high in added sugars, sodium, and saturated fats are notorious for providing little to no nutrients, so try to stay away from processed foods. You may also want to avoid too many spicy foods in your diet. These can upset your stomach and lead to unwanted cramps. This is especially important for patients undergoing therapy for head and neck cancer. Radiation treatment may cause your throat to become hypersensitive of any irritation, so try to steer clear of your favorite hot sauce for a while.
Having cancer might seem like a big dance of what you can and can’t have in order to try to keep your health up as much as you can. However, this time of strict monitoring is hopefully only for a season and you can still have plenty of amazing foods. This part of your journey does not have to be difficult as long as you incorporate some of these things in your daily life.
Always remember that you have an incredible support system at home, in your care team, and here at Rejuvaskin that are rooting for you!