Summer Proof the Palate: A Guide to Summer Eating for Cancer Patients
It’s summer time! Which means get on your bathing suit and get ready for sunshine. Enjoy the weather by trying to spend more time outside, whether walking or doing some light to moderate exercise. Importantly, providing your body with nutritious foods are key to a healthy recovery. Indulge in summer flavors through different vegetables, herbs, and iced desserts that are fresh this time of year. These healthy tips in this article will provide you with a quick guide on what foods to eat this summer.
Bring on the Veggies
The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends in the New American Plate that half of the plate be fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Vegetables are full of phytonutrients which help fight off cancer cells. So, don’t be hesitant to put another scoop of veggies onto your plate! Embrace the summer vegetables by grilling or sautéing some summer squash, peppers, corn, or zucchini. Try making our zucchini with mint for a side dish on a summer night. Incorporate many seasonal fruits and vegetables with some of our summer recipes.
Spice it Up!
If you don’t have a garden, don’t worry! Nowadays, fresh herbs and spices can be bought at almost any grocery store. Look for fresh fruit and vegetable stands over the summer for freshly grown herbs and spices. Herbs add tons of flavors to any dish or beverage, and also contain vitamins and minerals that are important for cancer prevention. Some summer herbs include mint, oregano, and basil.
Mint contains antioxidants but is also helpful with digestion. This can be beneficial in helping nausea, vomiting, and indigestion from chemotherapy. Add mint to teas or even make mint water for extra flavor. Try our Mint and Hibiscus Tea for a hot or even iced beverage during the summer.
Another summer herb, oregano, has many immune boosting properties as well as plant-based omega 3 fatty acids. These omega 3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and can help reduce bloating. Oregano is extremely versatile and can be added to a variety of dishes and marinades.
Basil is known to have an abundant amount of Vitamin K, which promotes healthy bones and tissues. Try cooking our Spaghetti with Zucchini and Basil or our Basil Pesto to add some basil into a summer meal.
Everyone loves dessert, and in the summer there is often a craving for something cold and sweet. Cold desserts are soothing and are easy to digest, especially when having a rough day going through treatment. These Raspberry Lemon Ice Pops are perfect on a hot summer day and fun and easy to eat! Granitas are also a popular dessert during the summer. Granitas are a semi frozen dessert made from fruit, sugar and sometimes herbs. They will help you stay hydrated and give you a soothing, sweet finish to a meal. Try our Watermelon Granita for a new summer dessert!
Especially with the warmer weather, it is extremely important to stay hydrated. Water helps with digestion, nutrient absorption from food and softening bowel movements (NIH). Water can specifically help from dehydration, which is as common side effect for chemotherapy. Chemotherapy patients often complain about water having a metallic taste. As a solution, you can add fruits, vegetables and even herbs to your water to make it more flavorful. Try our flavored water recipes for some ideas!
Remember to enjoy the sunshine, but don’t forget to stay cool, nourished and hydrated!
Alyssa Adler was CFYL’s 2016 summer web intern after graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition Sciences with a concentration in Dietetics. Alyssa has since gone on to earn her Masters degree, and is now a Clinical Nutritionist at Mt. Sinai’s St. Luke’s hospital here in New York City. She also has a food blog called Red Delicious and Nutritious which focuses on healthy eating and living and how decadent foods can be made wholesome and delicious. A woman after our own heart!