Leukaemia is a blood cancer that originates in the blood and bone marrow. It occurs when the body creates too many abnormal white blood cells and interferes with the bone marrow’s ability to make red blood cells and platelets. Diet plays an important part in coping with Leukaemia and its treatment. A good, well-balanced diet can help one feel stronger, have more energy, and recover more quickly.
Leukaemia treatment can make patients nauseated and reduce their appetites, interfering with their best intentions to eat well which makes it necessary for them to follow healthy eating guidelines.
Here are a few tips for preparing nutritious meals and eating a healthy diet.
1. Aim for 10 fruits and vegetables per day.
The vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals in fruits and vegetables are known to fight cancer cells. Sprinkle berries on top of cereal or whole-grain pancakes, bake apples and sprinkle them with cinnamon, and have an apple or banana as a snack during the day.
2. Steam your vegetables.
Steaming the vegetables helps to get the most nutrients out of them. Try a stir-fry made from a variety of peppers, mushrooms, broccoli, and carrots; add steamed sweet peas, and cauliflower to a salad; top a baked potato with broccoli or tomatoes; make vegetable soup with spinach, or mustard greens, and drink low-sodium vegetable juice.
3. Go for whole grain.
Every bite you take should have as much nutrition as possible. Choose 100% whole-wheat bread, brown rice instead of white rice, whole-grain cereal, and ancient grains such as quinoa.
4. Make protein a priority.
The side effects of chemotherapy can include nausea and vomiting, which takes away some people’s appetite for meat. But it’s very important for patients with leukaemia to get protein because it keeps them strong.
It may be easier to eat chicken or fish in soup. For vegetarians, good protein foods include nuts and seeds, soy products such as tofu or soy milk, wheat or oat cereals, and eggs.
5. Eat every two to four hours.
People with leukaemia tend to lose weight because of a loss of appetite and nausea, but it’s very important to maintain the weight to stay strong. If it’s hard to eat a big meal, eating small snacks or meals every two to four hours may help.
When you’re eating a healthful diet, getting enough exercise, managing stress, and getting enough sleep, you’ll know you’re doing everything you can to fight the disease.
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