An important part of treatment for stomach cancer is a nutritional diet with the correct amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins and calories to maintain strength and aid in the healing process. Stomach cancer patients need a diet low in carbohydrates and sweets and high in protein. Your doctor's advice and that of a registered dietitian can help you determine which foods best meet your nutrition needs.
People suffering from stomach cancer need extra protein and calories. Drinking extra milk and eating more eggs and cheese are good ways to get this protein. For extra calories adding gravies and sauces to your food is recommended, although always check with your doctor to determine what nutritional diet suits you or ask to be referred to a registered dietitian, especially if you are losing weight.
Increasing the fat content of your foods by adding butter or eating puddings and ice cream can help you with the problem called dumping syndrome, which is a sudden drop in blood pressure, with or without palpitations, and a drop in blood sugar with a resulting feeling of weakness and the need to sit or lie down.
Stomach cancer patients need extra iron, calcium and vitamin D from their diets. Sardines, cabbage, broccoli, milk, eggs, cheese and bread provide calcium. Vitamin D is found in margarine, butter, oily fish and eggs. The iron in red meat is more easily absorbed by the body than the iron found in fish, soy, egg yolk, leafy green vegetables and dried fruit.
High-Fiber Foods in Small Portions
While choosing whole grains such as whole wheat bread and whole grain pastas and rice is advised because of their high fiber content, fiber can make stomach cancer patients feel uncomfortably full. Beans and lentils as well as leafy greens and cabbage can have the same effect. It may be necessary to avoid eating too much of these foods at one time. Eat every hour or so to avoid upsetting your stomach and combine one high-fiber food with other foods easy on the stomach, such as soft, bland foods, to give yourself a relatively low-fiber meal.
Stomach cancer patients often experience nausea. Eating bland foods such as crackers or dry toast can help you avoid this problem, as can eating food at room temperature to decrease its taste and odor. If a bad taste persists in your mouth between meals, try sucking on a mint or lemon drop.
Although sipping clear liquids slowly that are served cold, such as apple juice, broth, tea and ginger ale, can help stomach cancer patients, too many liquids can produce the dumping syndrome. Try eating gelatin or popsicles or limiting your liquid intake to before and after meals.
Tart or Sour Foods
Sweets in general are to be avoided, except if you regularly experience the dumping syndrome after eating. In that case you may want to try getting some sugar between meals to keep up your blood sugar levels. Because stomach cancer patients often have problems with vomiting, eating tart or sour foods, though, can be easier to keep down.
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- Cleveland Clinic: Post-Gastrectomy Syndrome Overview
- National Cancer Institute: Eating Hints: Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment
- MyOptum Health: After Stomach Surgery: Getting the Nutrition You Need
- Cancer Help UK: Diet After Stomach Surgery
- Cancer Answers: Stomach Cancer Treatment Information