Nutrition for Patients Before and After Esophageal Cancer Treatment
Enduring the strain that esophageal cancer and its treatments put on the body is an incredibly difficult task. Between the symptoms of the disease itself and the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation treatments, patients can easily be overwhelmed by a wave of unpleasant and painful changes to their system. And yet, in the midst of this life-and-death struggle, patients must still find the time and energy to maintain a healthy diet so that their body has the fuel it needs to fight the illness.
But how do people with esophageal cancer maintain proper nutrition with a medical illness? Keep reading as the experts at ENU discuss that very question.
Important Nutrition Tips for Esophageal Cancer Patients
Battling cancer is a demanding job, even in the best of circumstances; if you allow yourself to become malnourished, it only makes things harder on your body. Patients with esophageal cancer can be especially vulnerable to malnutrition because the nature of their illness often makes chewing and swallowing nearly impossible. This combination – the desperate need for nutrition and the difficulty in consuming it – can place a devastating burden on a person.
Still, finding ways to take in the materials your body needs to rebuild itself can be done, especially if you focus on the specific nutrients you want. The three macronutrients – protein, carbohydrates, and fats – are extremely important for recovery. Typically, patients are encouraged to take in these things through meals mainly comprising solid foods, though those with esophageal cancer may find this tough.
Try to focus on soft, bland foods that are easy to swallow – eggs, tuna salad, applesauce, and yogurt can be good options. Make sure to take in enough calories to maintain your body weight and enough protein to support the healing process. When eating, take small bites, chew thoroughly, and swallow your food before taking another bite. Small meals or snacks throughout the day may be easier to tolerate than large meals at specific times.
Patients may also find it useful to puree meals before eating to soften them or reduce them to a liquid state. Creamy foods such as ice cream, pudding, and milkshakes can be good options for meeting protein and calorie needs for cancer patients, though you should try to avoid relying on unhealthy foods entirely. Adding ingredients such as juice, milk, or water can further soften foods for easier consumption. Some may find it easier to ingest thick liquids rather than thin ones, so adding thickeners such as flour or cornstarch can sometimes help as well.
How Meal Replacement Shakes Can Help Your Diet
While blending meals and focusing on soft foods can provide a patient with some options, any of these solutions will involve significant meal planning and preparation. For cancer patients with a very limited amount of energy, meal prep may not always be a realistic option, especially later in the day. That’s where the convenience of meal replacement shakes come into play: consuming one is fast, easy, and requires no planning, preparation, or even chewing. Simply take it from the fridge and enjoy an instant meal.
Not all meal replacement or nutrition shakes are equal in quality, however. Some products use corn syrups and other unhealthy ingredients to pad their calorie count or add key macronutrients, but these should be avoided. Instead, look for shakes that use healthy, natural ingredients to provide well-rounded nutrition that addresses all your dietary needs.
ENU meal replacement shakes are carefully formulated to provide protein, carbs, and fats from natural sources that nourish the body, even in the midst of a battle with cancer. The 17 grams of protein found in each carton come from whey and soy sources, two of the easiest types of protein for your body to absorb. They are also lactose-free and gluten-free, so they’re easy on sensitive digestive systems.
The carbohydrates in ENU shakes come from a mix of simple and complex carb sources, including quinoa, brown rice, and tapioca, and each beverage is sweetened with stevia, not sugar or corn syrups. Even our fats are wholesome; by including a blend of heart-healthy unsaturated fats derived from coconut and sunflower oils, we ensure that your body gets the calories it needs without compromising on our pledge to provide healthful products.
In addition to the critical macronutrients, ENU shakes contain more than 20 important vitamins and minerals, giving them a balanced nutritional profile. Because these drinks are neutral in flavor – they come in chocolate and vanilla – and smooth in texture, they won’t upset your stomach or offend your senses, even if cancer and chemo have changed the way you taste food. They are also easy to customize; simply add fresh fruit, juices, yogurt, or any other ingredient to an ENU meal replacement shake to create a delicious smoothie using nutrition shakes.
Nutrition Shakes for Patients with Esophageal Cancer
When most of your energy is devoted to combating a serious illness, the last thing you probably want to worry about is what meals you need to prepare each day. Meal replacement shakes from ENU can help to lighten that load a bit by providing balanced, wholesome nutrition in a convenient, tasty package. To learn more about all our products and how they can help you meet your weight or nutrition goals, visit us online or call (855) 266-6733 today.