Cancer treatments can cause side effects. These side effects are often more pronounced when patients are not eating enough and/or are not eating the right foods. Prostate cancer patients need to maintain good nutrition to feel their best and have the most energy possible. Here are some strategies to improve your diet:
Set a goal to meet your basic calorie needs.
For a cancer patient, the estimated calorie needs can be determined by multiplying their weight x 15 calories a pound (if their weight has been stable). If the patient has lost weight another 500 calories per day can be added. Example: A person who weighs 150 lbs. needs about 2,250 calories per day to maintain his or her weight.
Plenty of protein is recommended.
To rebuild and repair damaged and normally aging body tissue, protein can be an important factor. The estimated protein needs are 0.5 to 0.6 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Example: A 150-pound person needs 75 to 90 grams of protein per day.
The best sources of protein include foods from the dairy group (8 oz. milk = 8 grams protein) and meats (meat, fish, or poultry = 7 grams of protein per ounce), as well as eggs and legumes (beans).
Make sure to stay hydrated.
In general, people should take in between 30 and 50 ounces of fluid daily to prevent dehydration. (That’s 1 to 1.5 liters). Fluids can come in many types including water, juice, milk, broth, and milkshakes, as well as gelatin, fruits, and salads. The need to stay hydrated becomes very important if you have treatment side effects such as vomiting or diarrhea.
Keep in mind that beverages containing caffeine do not count as much, because they may make you urinate out as much or more than you take in.
Get your vitamins.
If you are not sure you are getting enough nutrients it’s a good idea to take a vitamin supplement. A multivitamin that provides at least 100% of the recommended dietary allowances (RDA) for most nutrients is a good option.
Make an appointment with a dietitian.
You can get a great deal of help from a registered dietitian who can provide suggestions to work around any eating problems that may be interfering with proper nutrition (such as early feeling of fullness, swallowing difficulty, or taste changes).
A dietitian can also help you maximize calories and show you how to include proteins in smaller amounts of food (such as powdered milk, instant breakfast drinks, and other commercial supplements or food additives).