Blog Archives

High Calorie/High Protein Diet for Children with Cancer

calorie-protein-pyramidNutrition is an important part of the health of all children, but it is especially important for Children with Cancer, who often have poor appetites as a result of the cancer itself, or due to the side-effects of the cancer treatments.

Both cancer and its treatments may affect a child’s appetite, tolerance to foods, and their body’s ability to use nutrients. Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after treatment can help a child feel better and stay stronger.

For parents of Children with Cancer, the challenges of enticing children to eat nutritious, healthy foods are even greater than those faced by parents of healthy children, and require untold levels of patience and creativity to overcome.

Cancer and cancer treatments can also affect the way your child’s body tolerates certain foods and its ability to process, store and appropriately use nutrients at a time when your child’s body needs the energy and nutrients from a healthy diet more than ever.

The nutrient needs of Children with Cancer vary from child to child. Your child’s doctor, nurses, and a registered dietitian can help identify nutrition goals and plan ways to help your child meet them.

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Cooking for Healing: Beet Hummus

beet-hummusEating healthily when one has cancer is vital as the body needs all the help it can to fight the cancer, and vegetables, especially dark coloured  veggies are excellent sources of nutrition.

There’s a major misconception though that eating healthy is boring – and that couldn’t be further from the truth!

A nutritious diet does not need to be repetitive or bland. In fact, when you put the right ingredients to use, a nutritious diet can be flavourful and enjoyable, and this beet hummus is a delicious example.

While this recipe calls for the beet root (that’s the red-purple taproot portion,  originally it was the beet greens that were consumed. The sweet red root that most of us visualise as a beet wasn’t cultivated until ancient Rome. By the 19th century, the natural sweetness of beets came to be appreciated.

Beets are nutritional powerhouses; like other dark coloured vegetables, beets deliver phytonutrients which are essential for a strong, healthy body. While beets have the highest sugar content of all vegetables, and we recommend minimising sugar in your diet, most people can safely enjoy beets a few times a week.

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Methods Your Child with Cancer Can Take in Nutrients

antioxidant foodsAs discussed in previous posts, it is vital that a Child with Cancer gets sufficient nutrients before, during, and after treatment in order to feel better and stay stronger, as well as to cope with treatment side effects.

Treatments for cancer such as Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy take their toll on little bodies and these treatments as well as the cancer itself strip the child of vitality and severely impair their immune systems.

Children with Cancer need protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals. Unfortunately it is not always possible for them to get these purely from food, due to various side-effects of the cancer treatment.

There are many ways to help your child get the nutrients he or she needs.

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The Importance of Nutrition for Children with Cancer

cancer fighting foodsNutrition is an important part of the health of all children, but it is especially important for Children with Cancer. It is therefore of vital importance that you learn about your child’s nutritional needs and how cancer and its treatment may affect them.

Eating the right kinds of foods before, during, and after treatment can help a child feel better and stay stronger. It is also important so that the Child with Cancer can cope with treatment side effects that might affect how well they can eat.

Children with Cancer need protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals. A dietitian can help you understand your child’s specific needs and develop an eating plan.

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Childhood Cancer Survivors with Poor Diet at Risk of Chronic Illness

plate-of-foodA new study suggests that survivors of childhood cancer tend to have a poor diet in their adult life; a diet lacking essential nutrients might increase the risk of chronic disease for survivors of childhood cancer, as they are already more prone to developing serious illnesses.

The study was carried out by researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, in collaboration with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee.

The team examined whether there was a connection between childhood cancer treatment and the survivors’ nutritional intake.

Using a self-administered Block Food Frequency questionnaire, the study looked at the diets of 2,570 adult survivors of childhood cancer to see if they met the requirements of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The results were recently published in The Journal of Nutrition.

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Basic Food Price Increases in South Africa Impacting Health of Children with Cancer

shopping trolleyThe price of basic foods eaten by low-income households in South Africa has increased by 15% in the past year, and many households can no longer get through the month on the household earnings, according to the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PACSA).

PACSA, upon releasing its annual Food Price Barometer on the 13th October, which tracks the prices of 36 basic foods, warned of “greater levels of social instability” as people faced hunger and desperation.

The reason for this post is to give you all just an idea of what we are faced with when our Childhood Cancer Families come to us for help, and why we are struggling so much more this year to be able to help them (apart from all other projects and various other kinds of help, LFCT currently provides in excess of 130 Families with groceries every month).

With one of the parents having had to give up their job to care for their Child with Cancer these families are REALLY struggling to make ends meet for the whole family due to less income and all the added financial costs that come with having a Child with Cancer in the household (added travel costs, added medical costs, special dietary requirements, special personal hygiene requirements, etc. etc.)

Households with no savings to draw on cannot absorb shocks by spending more money,” said PACSA’s Mervyn Abrahams and Julie Smith.

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Nutrition Vital for People with Cancer

cancer fighting foodsGood nutrition plays a vital role during cancer treatment and must therefore play an important part in any overall treatment plan. The food we eat has daily impact on our health; increasing our energy levels and supporting our immune system among other benefits.

Eating a healthy, minimally processed, plant-based diet not only benefits your overall health, but can also help you manage symptoms during treatment and promote survivorship.

While many individuals with cancer find it difficult to source nutritious, tasty food while experiencing chemo-related side effects, there are oodles of ways to keep your body healthy and your immune system supported by eating the right foods during treatment.

It is common to experience a loss of appetite, taste changes, or other symptoms that make it difficult or less desirable to eat while undergoing treatment for cancer. Most individuals lose weight either as a result of their particular cancer or as a result of the harsh cancer treatments and are worried about how to regain the weight.

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