Friday, August 1, 2008

When You’re Sick… EAT! – A way to a healthy lifestyle living

t’s hard enough to eat when you have fever, colds, or flu. How much more challenging it is to eat when you have a chronic illness like cancer, arthritis, or even depression? Illness and their treatment can sap your appetite or leave you nauseated. When you have arthritis, it’s a lot harder to get out and shop for groceries. With cancer fatigue, you will be too worn out to cook. So what happens with healthy eating now?

Let’s face it. Good nutrition naturally slides down when you’re coping with an illness. But it’s risky for your healthy lifestyle living. Everyone needs to get enough vitamins and nutrients… most especially when you’re sick.
But if you know what to look for, and by making smart choices, you can get the nutrition you need without a lot of extra effort.
Protein is very important when you’re sick. According to Paula Charuhas, RD, nutrition education coordinator at the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, “Protein is crucial for building and repairing cells.” It can help you prevent the loss of muscle mass, helps maintain fluid balance, and improves your body’s ability to heal.
The best sources of protein are obvious: chicken, pork, lean beef, fish, and lamb are all good. Eggs and cheese are also easily digestible forms of animal protein.
But what about those people who are vegetarians? Christine Gerbstadt, MD, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, said that vegetarians have a harder time getting enough protein.
“The problem is that you have to eat a lot of vegetable protein to get the equivalent of a much smaller amount of animal protein,” said Gerbstadt. “Not everyone can do it.”
For non-animal sources of protein, go for beans, soy products like tofu, and nuts. Try adding more peanut butter or almond butter to your diet which is one easy way of getting additional protein.
There are times that you just can’t get enough protein from foods. Let your doctor recommend high-protein nutritional supplement drinks, such as powdered protein that you can stir into any food.
As we become adults, we begin to count our calorie intake. But those who get sick may actually need to increase them. When you’re sick, your body is working harder. But just as when you need to eat more, your appetite flies out of the window. You begin to lose weight which can become serious, leaving you exhausted, weak, and may interfere with your treatment.

Attempting to prevent weight loss can put people and dietitians in a quandary. According to Rachel Zinaman, MPA, RD, of Memorial Sloan-Kettering’s Evelyn Lauder Breast Center, she actually recommends cheese fries, burgers, and milkshakes to some women with cancer to stop them from losing too much weight.
But Zinaman emphasized that a high-calorie diet is only a good idea for people who are losing weight because many chronic diseases and treatments pose a risk of weight gain instead.

Here are some tips for healthy eating when you’re sick:
Boosting protein in your diet, since protein is calorically dense

Drinking whole milk instead of skim

Adding cream to soups, fruit, cold cereal, and other foods
It is important to consult your doctor first before you start up a high-calorie diet to see whether unintended weight loss is a risk for you.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails