Importance of Protein Supplementation in Cancer Patients
Achieving good nutritional status can be a challenge for cancer patients experiencing treatment-induced side effects like nausea and vomiting, which affects the food intake. Including protein powder in your daily diet could be a convenient choice to support your cancer recovery journey if you are facing difficulty eating protein-rich foods.
Protein needs will be high for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Adequate protein supplementation can slow down the progress of cancer and also helps your body to fight infections, maintain your muscle mass, heal wounds and support your journey of recovery.
Cancer treatments can make your body break down its vital nutrients where you end up losing more weight than usual. Weight loss in this context refers to muscle loss and not a reduction in body fat. Read further to be informed regarding ways to supplement protein in your daily life and about protein powders.
Importance of protein supplementation in cancer patients
- Maintenance of fluid balance.
- Distribution of medicines and other substances to different parts of the body.
- Strengthening immune response and fighting infections.
- Building muscles, tissues, red blood cells, hormones and enzymes.
Protein supplementation through foods
Following are the list of foods high in protein content:
- Milk, cheese, yoghurt
- Sunflower seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Soy paneer
- Dried beans
- Whole grains
- Soy milk
- Chia seeds
- Peanut butter
- Cheese with crackers
- Ice cream
- Hot cocoa
- Energy bar
- Flavored milk
- Sandwich with grilled cheese
- Nutritional drinks
- Include foods like pasteurized milk, fish, chicken, boiled eggs, peanut butter, yoghurt, cheese, beans, tofu and nuts.
- Use milk instead of water while preparing soups, pudding or cereals.
- Eat hard cooked eggs instead of raw eggs.
- Sprinkle nuts and seeds to fruits, vegetables, salads, cereal and pasta.
- The most convenient method to add protein to your diet is through protein shakes. Most of them consist of whey protein, which has gained more importance due to its positive influence on health and disease.
- Before you purchase a protein powder, check the label for ingredients and avoid products containing creatine, vitamins and minerals. Check as to how much protein content is present per scoop.
- Products containing pea protein isolate, hemp protein powder and soy protein powders are good alternatives to whey protein if you are looking for plant-based options. Mix the powder in your favorite beverage, smoothie or soft foods.
Benefits of protein powder for cancer patients
- Supplementing protein in the form of protein powder is more convenient and easy-to-make than dietary proteins.
- You can prepare protein shakes and drink them or sprinkle the powder in salads, smoothies, oats or other foods to get your daily dose of protein.
- Protein powders are more useful to fight cancer-related weight loss and muscle loss compared to dietary proteins.
- Whey proteins increase the production of natural glutathione, which protects the cells from cancer and eliminates cancer causing agents. This is a unique therapeutic effect generally not produced by dietary or vegan proteins.
- People who are unable to eat protein-rich foods due to unpleasant treatment related side effects can opt for protein powders by adding them to smoothies or other liquids.
- Protein shakes boost immune health to fight against cancer cells and enhance cell growth and repair.
- Plant-based protein powders are beneficial for your health if you have been diagnosed with lactose intolerance or if you generally prefer a vegan diet.
Essential strategies to consider:
- Discuss your existing health issues, type and severity of your cancer and allergies with your dietician to know the exact quantity of protein you should consume per day.
- Protein shakes do not work the same way for everyone. Discuss with your dietician to find out which product works for you.
- You can opt for vegan or plant-based protein alternatives if you are allergic to milk or milk products.
- Extra calories and proteins can help you to maintain healthy body weight and promote quick healing.
- There are several forms of protein powders tailored according to specific needs and conditions. Before buying a product, check the label to know the amount of protein you will get per scoop.
- Always check the label to know the ingredients, method of consumption and shelf life before you buy.
- Beware of gluten, sugar, artificial sweeteners, added flavours, colours, vegetable oils, etc.