How to Stay Healthy During Chemo

A lot of research has led to innovative and newer cancer treatments.

For example, the need for breast cancer chemotherapy has gone down, and people can often receive targeted treatments. Chemotherapy uses powerful chemicals to kill fast-growing cells in the body. Cancer cells often grow and multiply a lot faster than normal cells. While doctors are often looking for less toxic treatment options for cancer patients, some do still need chemotherapy.

When you’re undergoing chemotherapy, the side effects can be significant, but there are certain things you can do to stay healthier and feel better when you go through treatments.

The following are tips that you can use to stay strong during chemo but remember to talk to your doctor about anything you’re planning to do or with questions you may have.

Focus on Eating Well

When you’re going through chemo, it can be hard to eat well because you may have reduced appetite, nausea, and other symptoms that make it difficult to eat.

While it’s not necessarily easy to eat well on chemo, it can be beneficial. You want to make sure you’re getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. You want to avoid meats that are highly processed and cut back on sugar.

Good nutrition during cancer treatment can help you build up your strength and stay more energetic.

Protein is especially important during chemo because your body needs it for immune system function and to repair body tissue. People with cancer often have higher protein needs than normal, and getting plenty of protein will help your body combat infections and heal your tissues.

If you don’t have much of an appetite, nutrient-dense foods like bone broth can help you get what your body needs.

Healthy fats are also critical when you’re going through chemo because they help keep up your energy levels.

If you’re not able to eat very much, you should talk to your doctor about taking vitamin or mineral supplements to keep up with your body’s nutrition needs and fill in gaps.

Stay Hydrated

Our bodies are around 60% water. Water is what helps our bodies move oxygen and nutrients around, it regulates our heart rate and blood pressure, and it protects our organs.

You need to stay hydrated no matter what’s going on with your health, especially during cancer treatment.

Staying hydrated helps reduce the side effects of treatment, like nausea, fatigue, and constipation. It can also help flush toxins out of your body.

If you don’t like plain water, you can add things like ginger or lemon to it, or you can stay hydrated with tea, sparkling water, smoothies, and juices.

You should also consider having drinks with electrolytes because you may need to replace what you lose through diarrhea, sweating, fever, or vomiting. Electrolytes are minerals that help your body function optimally.

Support Your Liver

Chemotherapy can have significant effects on the liver.

Chemotherapy can cause liver damage and can affect its ability to function properly. Chemical or medication-induced liver damage is known as hepatotoxicity.

There are things you can do to support the health of your liver, which will help your body’s natural detoxification pathways.

Avoiding alcohol is important for liver health, as is eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

Some people use supplements like milk thistle as well. Milk thistle has something in it called silymarin, which in some research, has shown protective effects on the liver and kidneys during chemotherapy. You should talk to your healthcare provider before you try any supplements during chemo. Some can interact poorly with chemotherapy or can even reduce its effectiveness.

Coffee has benefits for liver health and can protect it from disease, and tea can also help liver health. Green tea and black tea have shown beneficial effects on the liver.

Stay Physically Active

Finally, you might not be able to do intense workouts during chemo, nor should you, but if you can get in some regular physical activity, it’ll help you stay stronger, and it may prevent some side effects.

If you’re going through chemo, start slow and build up your activity very gradually. Listen to your body and avoid gyms and places where there are a lot of germs.

You might be able to do light strength training, gentle aerobic exercise like walking a few times a week, or maybe yoga will help you feel your best and also stay mentally healthy as you go through your treatment.

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David
David is a 28-year-old struggling artist who enjoys planking, upcycling and binge-watching boxed sets.