Cancer-Fighting Food Tactics Slideshow

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Refueling with Protein

The stress put on the body while battling cancer, and the strength needed to go through treatment, makes protein an extremely important nutrient during this time. According to oncology nutritionist Carol Sullivan of Massachusetts General Hospital, “Having cancer can boost the body’s protein needs by 30 to 60 percent. Even though most Americans get plenty of protein, the decreased appetite that can come with cancer makes meeting protein needs harder.”

Margaret Ziegler, outpatient clinical dietician at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, further emphasizes the importance of protein. “When you see weight loss [during cancer], it’s not that extra 5 pounds you’ve been wanting to lose — it’s lean tissue. You can counteract that loss and maintain a healthy weight by including more protein in your diet — chicken, fish, beef, eggs, dairy, nuts, beans, legumes, tofu.”