"Healthy eating" is about balancing your food intake to make sure you get plenty of healthy foods such as vegetables, fruit, wholegrain breads, and cereals. It’s also about cutting back on the not-so-healthy foods like sugars, salt and saturated fats. With healthy eating, you can continue to enjoy treats in moderation.
In the long term, healthy eating combined with regular exercise can improve your overall health, quality of life and reduce your risk of developing other illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
You may hear about ‘special diets’ for people diagnosed with cancer, however there is no scientific evidence that people diagnosed with breast cancer need to follow a special diet. It is recommended that people with breast cancer follow the same dietary guidelines that are recommended for all Australian adults. These guidelines can be found at Eat for Health.
Most health practitioners recommend a balanced diet which includes:
It is also recommended that you cut back on:
Some breast cancer treatments can bring on nausea or change the way food tastes or smells. Many people find that the foods they once enjoyed are no longer desirable, while other foods have become more appealing.
Eating a healthy diet during this time is especially important and will help ensure your body has what it needs to function better and recover from treatment. Throughout your breast cancer treatment, try to ensure that your diet is as healthy as you can manage. Your diet doesn’t have to be perfect but do the best you can.
If you’re undergoing breast cancer treatment and it is affecting your appetite, you might like to think about implementing a healthy eating plan into your day.
Eating a healthy diet during and after your breast cancer treatment will help your body get what it needs to repair cells. It will also help you function better.
Some people choose to make drastic changes to their diet after a breast cancer diagnosis. To date, there is no scientific evidence that people with breast cancer need a ‘special’ diet or that eating particular foods will prevent the cancer recurring.
Radical changes to your diet may affect your energy levels and may lead to dietary deficiencies. If you do want to change your diet significantly, talk to your GP or consult a dietitian.
It is common to gain weight after a breast cancer diagnosis. The most common reason for weight gain is that your energy intake may higher than your energy output. This may be a result of:
Putting on weight during breast cancer is normal and it’s important that you are kind to yourself during this time. If your weight gain is worrying you and you want to lose a few kilos, the safest and most effective way is to do it gradually. Aim to lose no more than 1kg a week. Try to:
It’s also a good idea to speak with your doctor or an accredited practising dietitian if you want to lose some weight.
You can seek professional advice from an accredited practising dietitian (APD), a qualified health professional who can provide practical, personal nutrition advice.
You may be eligible for a GP Care Plan or rebates through your health insurance to help pay for these services.
Find a dietitian in your area.
Read the Cancer Council's booklet Nutrition and Cancer, prepared to help you gain an understanding of nutrition and dietary requirements during and after cancer treatment.
Visit Eat for Health, a government website with advice about the types and amounts of foods we need to eat for health and wellbeing. The recommendations are based on the latest research. The website also includes the Australian Dietary Guidelines and healthy recipes.
Find nutrition-related news, recipes and resources to help you maintain a healthy diet from Nutrition Australia.
Visit the Cancer Council website for information about limiting alcohol.
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