Nutrition Planning for Chemotherapy Neuropathy Patients

For better or worse, a rapidly growing patient population is the chemotherapy and post chemotherapy patient.

Patient education and patient compliance are key to success.

While dealing with the emotional issues involved in a cancer diagnosis, they can also be dealing with side effects of chemotherapy like

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and other digestive issues
  • Post chemotherapy peripheral neuropathy
  • Dry mouth

In addition to counseling them on taking their medications properly and physical therapy or massage therapy for muscle, joint and nerve pain, offering nutrition counseling and diet planning is a great way to ensure that your post chemotherapy neuropathy patients are doing everything they possibly can to heal.

Study after study is confirming that proper nutrition is a vital piece in the treatment puzzle for a successful recovery from chemotherapy and other cancer treatments, as well as recovering from the cancer itself.

Just like any other treatment program, patient education and patient compliance are key to success.  Here are some things to think about when designing a chemotherapy or post chemotherapy recovery nutrition program:

Cancer Nutrition Tips[1]

The chemotherapy or post chemotherapy patient’s body needs extra support for the immune system.  Chemotherapy wrecks their immune system and that makes them more likely to catch virtually any bug they come into contact with.  And that makes it even harder for them to heal.

Their best option for immune support is a diet full of whole foods that are easy on their sensitive digestive system.  They need foods that are high in anti-oxidants and protein.  Make sure your diet plan for them includes foods rich in vitamins C, D and E and nutrients like soy isoflavones, amino acids, folic acid, l-glutamine, calcium and carotenoids.

When designing their daily nutrition intake, build in a requirement for drinking plenty of water.  Actually give them a schedule if you have to.  Remaining hydrated is vital for tissue repair.

Rebuilding The Body During and After Chemotherapy

When designing a nutrition plan, take each individual patient’s requirements and tastes into consideration.  Make sure you include foods rich in the following vitamins and minerals but try, wherever possible, to include foods the individual actually likes in their meal plan.

The following list is a really good guide for meal planning:[2]

Vitamin C

  • Red cabbage
  • Kiwi fruit
  • Oranges
  • Red and Green Bell Peppers
  • Potatoes
  • Strawberries and tangerines

Vitamin D

  • Salmon and tuna

Vitamin E

  • Nuts, including almonds and peanuts
  • Avocados
  • Broccoli
  • Mangoes
  • Sunflower seeds

Carotenoids

  • Apricots
  • Carrots
  • Greens, especially collard greens and spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Acorn squash

Soy Isoflavones

  • Soybeans
  • Tofu
  • Soy milk – might be easier to digest than regular milk because it’s lactose-free

Folic Acid

  • Asparagus
  • Dried beans
  • Beets
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Garbanzo beans
  • Lentils
  • Turkey

Turning The Food They Need Into The Food They Want

It’s easy to tell your chemotherapy and post-chemotherapy patients what they need to eat.  The tough part, especially if they’re nauseated or just have no appetite, is getting them to eat it.  Make your meal plans more appetizing by liberally using herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of the foods they need. Try recipes that use:

  • Cinnamon
  • Cardamom
  • Basil
  • Coriander
  • Cumin
  • Ginger (natural anti-inflammatory properties)
  • Garlic (natural anti-biotic properties)
  • Mint (great for fighting nausea as well)
  • Fennel
  • Turmeric
  • Parsley

If your’ clinic doesn’t offer diet planning and nutrition counseling to your chemotherapy and post chemotherapy patients, you and your patients are missing out on a vital part of the recovery puzzle.

Use this article as a guide for diet planning.  The combination of your professional expertise and proper nutrition support and counseling is a winning combination for doctor and patient.

When you are ready, let them know you’re there to help them.

For more tips on growing a successful chiropractic, physical therapy or pain management practice, log on to http://perfectpracticeweb.com to download a FREE E-Book Copy of my 5 star Amazon rated book “Living and Practicing by Design”.