For cancer patients receiving chemotherapy, eating is not always a pleasure. With nausea, mouth ulcers, modification, or loss of taste due to treatment side effects, many patients eat less during this painful period. Consequence: one third of them lose weight during chemotherapy and some even suffer from malnutrition. So how not to lose the appetite during chemotherapy? Can specially prepared meals like that of Nutrisystem be the answer?
Weight loss or malnutrition force oncologists to reduce the length of chemotherapy courses, which also impacts the patient’s chances of recovery. It is therefore essential to find ways to help patients maintain a good diet, like those designed by Nutrisystem, during their treatments.
What is chemotherapy?
Chemotherapy comprises a wide range of anti-cancer medicine cells. Some of these drugs are administered orally, intravenously, or directly into the tumor. The variety of these drugs has increased considerably, with some more toxic than others.
It combines increasingly supportive treatments to reduce side effects. That’s because even if chemotherapy mainly attacks cancer cells, it can also destroy healthy cells, including rapidly dividing cells, some of which are found in the digestive tract. We often note of nausea, vomiting, and inflammation of the mouth, as well as mucositis or mouth ulcers, diarrhea or constipation, not to mention loss of appetite, taste, and the smell.
The effects are temporary and vary from one patient to another but is reduced, thanks to medication and food tips similar to those from Nutrisystem. The menus and nutrient intakes should of course be adapted to the patient.
Finding the pleasure of eating nutritious food during chemo
With dishes appropriate to the sensitivity of their taste buds, patients get to appreciate the taste of food.
To fight against side effects of chemotherapy, the health research center Polytechnic LaSalle Beauvais offers nutrition workshops to help patients find their way to their kitchen.
During these workshops, cancer patients learn to cook recipes, some of which may be similar to regimens like Nutrisystem’s, specially designed to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
Researchers have developed appropriate interventions that address the painful experience of patients. The first aim is restoring the taste of food. “For these recipes, we will base on two, three relatively simple principles: freshness, smoothness, speed. We need the recipes to provide the most nutritional qualities, We do not talk about diet in these workshops,” explained Cécile Foissy, food and health engineer at the Polytechnic Institute of LaSalle Beauvais.
Adding herbs or spices is very effective against nausea and encourages a desire to eat. And if patients eat properly, they will bear their treatments better. Philippe Pouillart, a food and health research professor, said, “We do not work alone. We are accompanied by doctors, oncologists, and pharmacists, but it is with them that we validate recipes, suggestions, as well as use spices, herbs, and different cooking options. Medicine does not give enough priority to nutrition. ”
This apparently goes against the grain of health-focused entities like Nutrisystem.
This is why dieticians of Beauvais hospital assembled at the Polytechnic Institute LaSalle to find recipes and thus be able to give cooking advice to patients. Cook quickly, split meals, eat whatever is desired, reduce odor flavor, among others. But the major guiding point is providing recipes that make patients want to eat.
Healthy recipe ideas for chemotherapy patients
On the menu: beef yakitori (appetizer) and the eastern hummus.
The workshop kitchen in Beauvais offers two recipes: one (beef bites so yakitori) to fight against the metallic taste of meat, and another (Eastern hummus) that is easier to swallow when you have mouth ulcers or gingivitis during chemotherapy.
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