When you're in treatment for breast cancer, it's important to maintain a healthy breast cancer diet. While you're being treated for cancer, your body is working hard, not only to fight the illness, but to repair healthy cells that may be damaged by chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
Why Supplements Aren't the Answer
Doctors believe that high-dose vitamin, antioxidant and herbal supplements may interfere with many cancer treatments. While a daily multivitamin is usually a safe way to supplement the vitamins you get from food, taking high doses of any one vitamin can carry health risks of its own. Remember, it's possible to take too much of any one vitamin; just because you need a certain amount of one vitamin to maintain optimal health, it doesn't mean that overdosing on that vitamin is good for you. In fact, the opposite is true.
When you take high-dose vitamin supplements, you run the risk of developing a dangerous build up of that vitamin in your liver. This can lead to liver damage and systemic health problems, which can be very bad news if you're already weakened by breast cancer and cancer treatments.
Furthermore, many herbal supplements, like St. John's wort, can interact with the drugs you're taking as part of your breast cancer treatment. Herbal and antioxidant supplements can change the way your body metabolizes drugs, making them less effective. If you're undergoing breast cancer treatment, talk to your doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Remember, just because a supplement is herbal, doesn't mean it's safe.
Get Your Vitamins from Food
While you're undergoing breast cancer treatment, your body needs plenty of calories so that you can maintain the strength to fight the illness, as well as repair damage done to healthy cells during chemotherapy and radiation. Don't be too strict in your breast cancer diet, and eat what you can keep down. A macrobiotic diet may be easier for many people to digest.
If you have trouble eating or keeping your food down, consider adding a nutritional drink to your diet plan. Read the label, as most nutritional drinks contain about 25% of your daily required vitamin intake.
Eat a Well Balanced Diet with Plenty of Protein
While you're undergoing treatment from breast cancer, you need to eat a well balance diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, eggs and dairy products. Cancer therapies place your body under a lot of stress, so in addition to eating plenty of calories and getting enough vitamins, you'll need a lot of protein. If you can't eat red meat, fish or poultry, try a macrobiotic diet including plenty of the following:
- Eggs, which are also a good source of vitamins D and E.
- Milk, cheese, ice cream and yogurt.
- Beans, legumes and nuts, which are also full of B vitamins.
- Peach and pear nectars, as well as applesauce, which are good sources of vitamin C.
Cancer treatments can take away your appetite, make you feel nauseated and sap your strength. But the answer to maintaining a healthy diet during breast cancer treatment doesn't lie with vitamin supplements; instead, you need a healthy breast cancer treatment diet plan.