Nourish 101: The importance of nutrition

Nourish - Article 01

There is no doubt about it, good nutrition is vital for maintaining good health.

Eating well enables your body to function at its absolute best. It provides the right balance of nutrients to supply you with energy, to fuel your workouts and optimise recovery. It helps maintain and build strong muscles and bones. It also supports a strong immune system.

From experience, we know that what you eat can impact how you feel – and this is not simply a placebo effect. Certain nutrients such as fats influence the working of hormones that affect your mood and are an important part of your brain’s structure and function.

Overview to nutrition & cancer

Nutrition plays a vital role in cancer. Not only has it been linked to its development, with poor diet strongly associated with certain tumour types such as bowel cancer, it is also a key player in the whole journey from diagnosis through to treatment and recovery.

Though you cannot cure cancer just by changing your diet (see ‘Cancer and diet myths’), nutrition is vital for your body to function at its best. It supports both the immune and muscular systems ,which in turn can help to minimise the detrimental effects that cancer and its treatments can have on the body. For example, it plays a key role in reducing the risk of infections from chemotherapy and complications after surgery.

And although we cannot overstress the benefits of exercise, nutrition is also hugely important here. In fact, exercise and nutrition go hand in hand. Without an adequate supply of energy and protein, your body will find it harder to recover from exercise and very difficult to gain the muscle and strength required to get through treatment.

The number one goal of nutritional therapy during cancer treatment is avoiding malnutrition and muscle wasting by maintaining a relatively stable, healthy weight. This is because malnutrition is associated with poorer outcomes from cancer and surgery. After this, it is about ensuring a good, balanced diet to support the immune system and help prevent or fight off infections.

Side effects (loss of appetite, weight loss)

Cancer and its treatments can negatively affect nutritional status. They can severely impact your appetite and ability to eat due to symptoms such as nausea, taste change, diarrhoea and vomiting. Don’t worry, in HEAL we’ll cover how to counterbalance these symptoms.

Thankfully, there are lots of strategies that you can apply to help you maintain weight and prevent muscle loss in order to improve treatment tolerance and achieve better outcomes.

How Onko can help

Maintaining your nutritional status and quality of life are really important to us at Onko. We want you to be healthy and happy. It is our mission to support you every step of the way by giving you the strategies and tools you need to overcome any nutritional barriers you may face, helping you to live better and strive for the very best outcomes from your treatment.

We’re also determined to help you build better long-term eating behaviours so that you can live a healthier, more fulfilling life and minimise the risk of recurrence.

Recap

  1. Good nutrition is essential for maintaining good health. It is important for both physical and mental wellbeing.
  2. Nutrition plays a role in both cancer prevention and cancer recovery. Good nutrition is about getting a good balance of the right nutrients to ensure your body is able to function at its absolute best. There is no magic bullet when it comes to cancer and nutrition.
  3. Nutrition and exercise go hand in hand. Getting enough energy and protein in your diet is vital to ensure adequate recovery from exercise and for building muscle and strength.
  4. Cancer and its associated treatments can have a debilitating effect on the body. There are lots of strategies that can be applied to how you eat that can help you maintain weight and prevent muscle loss in order to improve treatment tolerance and achieve better outcomes.