Nutritional Requirements of Lung Cancer Patients

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Aug 28, 2012

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What a lung cancer patient eats directly affects his chances of cancer metastasis, his immunity to fight the downsides of cancer treatment and his possibilities of recovery. A healthy and well-balanced diet meeting all the nutritional requirements of a lung cancer patient is prerequisite to the patient’s well-being.

Healthy Fats—
A lung cancer patient requires equivalent amount of fat similar to what a non-cancer patient requires, however, a cancer patient’s body fails to absorb fats, especially saturated ‘unhealthy’ fats. This happens due to growth of cancerous cells and cancer metastasis. To meet the fat requirement of the body, healthy fat sources can be included in the lung cancer patient’s diet, but the consumption should be moderate. Some sources of healthy fats appropriate to be included in the diet of lung cancer patient are olive oil, flaxseed oil and essential fatty acids, such as Omega-3 fatty acids found in salmon fish, shrimp, nuts (especially walnuts) and tofu. Healthy fatty acids disrupt the growth of cancerous cells. Moreover, healthy fat sources prevent hypertension, blood vessel constriction and blood clotting and maintain heart rate. [Read: Food for Lung Cancer Patients]

Protein— The amount of protein required by the body is determined by the level of stress experienced by the body. On an average, a lung cancer patient requires around 1.08 to 1.82 g of protein per kg of body weight per day.  In the case of a patient undergoing lung cancer treatment, an additional amount of protein is required. Protein can be attained from these sources, namely dairy products, such as milk, yoghurt and cheese, meat, poultry, fish and eggs. Food combinations, such as rice with beans are pack with protein and essential amino acids. Nuts, seeds, grains and legumes are rich sources of dietary protein.


Antioxidants— To restore the patient’s immune system, the body of a lung cancer patient direly needs antioxidants found in fruits and veggies. Different varieties of fruits and vegetables aid in the removal of free radicals from the body and account for production of non-cancerous cells. Moreover, the antioxidants present in veggies and fruits are metabolism boosters. Another rich source of antioxidants is green tea, which contains significantly large amount of antioxidants than all vitamin C sources. Antioxidant found in lycopene, which is present in tomato, papaya and watermelon restricts the further growth of cancerous cells. Sulforaphane found in green leafy vegetables trigger the increased production of phase II enzymes that flush out carcinogens from cells.[Read: Benefits of Eating Fruits for Lung Cancer Patients]



•    Reduced appetite is one of the common downsides of lung cancer treatment, however, the patient is required to take a well-balanced diet (rich on protein).
•    Lung cancer patient should stay away from greasy and fatty foods as this may upset their stomach.
•    Ensure that the lung cancer patient is taking in enough fluids.


Read more articles on Lung Cancer.


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