Diet for pancreatic cancer: what’s really helpful?


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Diet is critical for pancreatic cancer patients to increase their well-being and tolerability to treatment. Learn more in this article.

Last update: July 05, 2023

diet plays an important role in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. These patients often experience nutritional deficiencies, weight loss, and side effects from treatments (including dehydration, nausea, vomiting) that reduce their quality of life.

In addition, as research in Frontiers in oncology exposed, About 50% of cases of this type of cancer are related to an unhealthy diet, which can be avoided. Therefore, to prevent and treat the disease, there are several guidelines that focus on improved nutrition.

The importance of a healthy diet in pancreatic cancer

The pancreas helps break down carbohydrates. In addition, enzymes are released that support the digestion of proteins and fats.

There are several reasons for dieting requires special attention in patients with pancreatic cancer. To better understand this, a brief overview of the functions of this organ is in order. The pancreas is located in the abdomen, just behind the stomach, near the intestines, gallbladder, and duodenum.

Since it is involved in the digestion of food and in the regulation of blood sugar levels, the deterioration of its health due to diseases such as cancer brings with it complications at the nutritional level. This leads to the breakdown of muscle and fat, leading to weight loss and fatigue.

In a review of the literature reported in Cancer Management and Research, Researchers have found that A diet high in sugar, fat, and red and processed meat can increase your risk of pancreatic cancer.

Meanwhile, including fruits, vegetables, and other sources of fiber, antioxidants, and polyphenols can help prevent and treat it. Although diet should be tailored to the individual needs of each patient, there are some tips that can be implemented universally. Let’s take a closer look.

Diet for pancreatic cancer

Once pancreatic cancer has been diagnosed, The health team works with nutritionists To try to minimize the negative impact of treatments and the disease itself on nutritional status. Some recommendations are as follows.

Consume water and healthy drinks

Some of the treatments used for pancreatic cancer can lead to a state of dehydration. For this reason, it is important to ensure an optimal daily water intake of at least 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women.

In addition, it is recommended to drink fluids one hour before and one hour after each main meal. Drinks with electrolytes and nutrients are good choices. In addition, caffeinated and alcoholic beverages should be avoided as much as possible.

We think you will also enjoy reading this article: Juices to Relieve Inflammation of the Liver, Pancreas and Kidneys

Eat small meals

Because the pancreas’s ability to participate in the digestive process is limited, it is important to minimize the stress it receives from meals. In this context Keep in mind that small meals eaten several times a day (5 or 6) are better tolerated than very large meals.

A publication under Pearl Point Nutrition Services points out that eating small meals also helps reduce side effects of cancer treatment, such as nausea.

Consume plenty of healthy sources of protein

Foods that contain high biological value proteins are essential for maintaining muscle health and weight. This macronutrient helps repair damaged cells and also supports the body’s defenses.

In fact, the research announced Clinical Nutrition found that improving dietary protein intake helps improve the prognosis of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer who are receiving chemotherapy.

Recommended sources include the following:

  • Chicken
  • Turkey
  • Fish
  • eggs
  • nuts
  • yogurt and cheese

Sometimes patients have difficulty eating the above foods. If so, liquid protein supplements, either dissolved in water or in shakes, can be considered. Other liquid proteins include bone broths, pureed soups, and Greek yogurt.

Choose easily digestible foods

Pancreatic cancer treatment often affects your ability to support the digestive process. Therefore, it is important to choose foods that are not heavy and can be digested more easily.

Red meat, pork and raw vegetables are not recommended. It is also recommended to finely chop, soak and cook the food for easier digestion.

Consume whole foods

whole food play a dual role in the diet of patients with pancreatic cancer. On the one hand, their contribution to fiber supply interacts with the digestive process. On the other hand, Their complex carbohydrates help maintain good energy levels.

The recommended products are the following:

  • oatmeal
  • Whole grain bread
  • Brown rice
  • whole wheat pasta
  • barley
  • millet

Choose sources of healthy fats

While fried foods and trans fats impede digestion and adversely affect the health of pancreatic cancer patients, healthy fats are a good source of energy that also helps fight inflammation on the side.

They are found in the following foods:

  • olive oil
  • rapeseed oil
  • avocado
  • nuts and seeds
  • fat fish

Increase your antioxidant intake

Antioxidants are usually found in large amounts in foods like fruits and vegetables. For optimal amounts, it is recommended to consume at least five servings per day. Berries, citrus fruits, and green leafy vegetables are excellent choices.

A study reported in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that eating fruit and vegetables may protect against pancreatic cancer.

Avoid sweets and sugar

As mentioned above, the pancreas is involved in regulating blood sugar. Since its function is limited by cancer, Sweets and sugar cannot be digested optimally. This not only leads to an increase glucose but also to other metabolic complications.

These foods should be avoided. The same applies to desserts, soft drinks, cakes or other sweets; These must not be part of the treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer.

Do you like this article? You may also want to read: Is There a Natural Way to “Detoxify” the Pancreas?

Taking pancreatic enzyme preparations

Your doctor may suggest supplementing your diet with a pancreatic enzyme Addition. Its function is to work in tandem with the functionality of this organ so that it can continue to intervene in digestion. It even Helps alleviate the symptoms associated with indigestion.

What should be considered when it comes to diet for pancreatic cancer?

Proper nutrition is key to treating pancreatic cancer. The aim is to reduce the state of malnutrition, help you maintain a healthy weight, increase muscle strength and reduce some of the side effects of treatments. It also helps support the digestive function of this organ.

It is recommended to prioritize the consumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein and healthy fats. In addition, it is necessary to make Make sure your eating habits are not too heavy for good digestion.

Eating slowly and in smaller amounts is usually a good idea. Ditto for plenty of water and exercise.

In any case, Each patient should receive individual nutritional treatment from a professional. The nutritionist can be more specific about what meals should look like and what nutrients should be prioritized as needed.

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