When someone you care about has cancer, this places you under stress. How can you ensure you get adequate nutrition to maintain your own health at this difficult time?
How is your nutrition affected when your loved one has cancer? Firstly, you may find that your routine is changed. Extra demands on your time may affect your ability to eat regular nutritious meals. Coupled to that, it may be that you sometimes simply dont feel like eating. This is related to the stress that you feel from the situation.
When your body is under stress it may require more nutrients as certain key vitamins and minerals are used up more rapidly. In addition the body becomes less able to absorb nutrients as increased adrenaline in the body (the fight-or-flight response) is designed to divert blood away from the digestive system in readiness for action. Thus nutrients can become depleted when you are under stress for any length of time. Results from this lowered nutrition can include:
For this reason your ability to offer strength and support to those around you can be lessened at a time when this may be very important to you. It may even cause difficulty keeping up with your work and consequently your ability to earn may become threatened.
In addition to all of the above, there is the issue of your general well being. You deserve to feel well. This is not any less true because someone you care about is unwell. You will not help anyone by becoming ill yourself.
So what can you do to ensure that your levels of nutrition are sufficient at this time of your life? The advice is the same as it is for everyone who is in a time of challenge. First is to ensure that as far as possible you stick to a balanced diet and wherever possible eat wholesome, natural food that is processed as little as possible. Include a plentiful amount of fresh fruit and vegetables, with smaller amounts of carbohydrate and protein.
If it is difficult to keep up with cooking healthy meals for yourself at certain times, consider whether there is someone who would be prepared to help. A homemade casserole that someone has frozen for you to eat at your own convenience may be better for you than grabbing a take-away on the run.
If you do not already include them, this may be a good time to add some supportive supplements. We live in a chemical age and since the 1950s thousands of chemicals have been introduced into our environment. These come in the form of industrial pollution, vast amounts of plastics which all produce residues into our environment and diet, pesticides, herbicides. Add to that a generally more indoor lifestyle with central heating, cars, computers and so on. This produces a chemical attack on our bodies in the form of free radicals which are can damage the body at a cellular level, causing anything from general tiredness and lethargy to cancerous changes in the cells.
The body is able to defend itself against such chemical attack, but it requires sufficient nutrients in the form of vitamins, minerals and flavenoids which act both as anti-oxidants the neutralise the free radicals and as critical components of the immune system. Getting sufficient vitamins and minerals to support the body can be difficult from a normal diet especially where time, money and appetite / ability to absorb nutrients may be an issue.
This is where supplements can play a key role in health. Certain foods naturally contain high levels of nutrients (so called super-foods); these are more readily absorbed than synthetic supplements and can be seen as a way of increasing the amounts of certain key nutrients in a healthy way to help support your system. I personally take an inner leaf Aloe Vera drink, which is like a vegetable juice but contains a high concentration of over 75 different nutrients, and a Bee Pollen supplement (pollen harvested from flowers by bees and then collected from the hives) which contains a high level of B vitamins, amino acids and minerals. I would highly recommend them as my general level of health has improved greatly since taking these products, and I feel full of energy.