Nutrition Therapy: Nutrition & Metabolic Support
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Keeping You Nourished & Strong
Lammersfeld says, “The primary goal our team has in mind is to make sure our patients are getting the right quantity of calories—proteins, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals—so that they are maintaining their weight.”
This is especially important, because, as Lammersfeld is quick to point out, if patients are not maintaining their weight, their immune systems may not function properly.
“If the quantity of nutrition you are intaking is the main issue, we are going to give you specific recommendations based on your unique situation,” says Lammersfeld. “For instance, we may advise eating small, frequent meals. High-calorie, high-protein snacks and supplements can be helpful too. Research also suggests fish oil, which contains EPA, may be helpful with weight maintenance. And depending on what your blood work shows, vitamins and/or minerals such as vitamin D, iron and zinc may be beneficial.”
The second goal the nutrition metabolic support team focuses on is the quality of what patients are eating. Quality is more of a concern for patients who do not have malnutrition issues. Also, it is something of interest to many patients who have completed cancer treatment and are participating in the Aftercare Program at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center.
Lammersfeld notes, “When we are focusing on improving the quality of what patients eat, we will work with them and try to help them adopt a semi-plant-based diet. In general, this kind of diet consists of less animal fat, more whole grains and fruits and vegetables, and lean proteins such as fish and beans.”
She adds that the team also realizes that some patients may not always have access to the healthiest foods. For example, truck drivers who spend days and weeks at a time driving cross country typically have their meals at fast-food restaurants and diners.
“We try to help them to make better choices among those limited options while they’re on the road,” says Lammersfeld. “One suggestion we may make is to order a salad instead of a greasy burger. And we may suggest taking a cooler of healthy snacks, fruits and vegetables with them on their trips.”
On the other extreme, Lammersfeld says some patients follow diets they read about on the Internet which may not be appropriate or safe to be on if they are undergoing cancer treatment. She stresses that it’s important to have an open conversation with your dietitian and let him or her know if you are following a particular diet. She or he will help you to determine which foods are safest and most beneficial for you to eat throughout your fight.