Self-Care When You Have Cancer: A Guide to Wellness
Cancer can be a scary subject. It carries with it connotations of difficult times and struggle. Yet, living well and supporting the body with healthy choices can be a good recipe for overcoming and living with the disease.
Whether you have just received a diagnosis, are going through treatment, or are in remission, adopting an all-encompassing strategy to care for your body is key to fortifying your chances of wellness. By strengthening your immune system and your body’s ability to fight, you are improving your chances to prevent and fight cancer. Here are some helpful tips that will put you on the right path to wellness.
Indoor Air Quality
It might not be the first thing you think about when it comes to preserving your health, but the quality of the air you breathe inside your home matters quite a bit. Because indoor air is often dirtier than outdoor air, due in part to the amount of airborne dander and dust in our homes, it’s important to take steps to eliminate as many harmful particles as possible. And while an air purifier can often address these issues, changing your air filters on a consistent basis will help cut down on the number of allergens and pollutants in your home.
The better the fuel, the better your body performs and resists everyday challenges and infections. The most important aspect is that a person with cancer is getting a balanced diet with plenty of nutrients and fiber and little sugar. A balanced diet includes:
Protein: This is an essential part of all living organisms and is essential for maintaining muscles. Food that is high in protein includes meat, fish, yogurt, and some soy products.
Carbohydrates: Carbs are needed for the body to burn and convert to fuel. The important thing is to get clean and healthy carbs that are in rice, sweet potatoes, and fruit.
Healthy fats: Fats are important and needed for proper brain function. You can get a healthy dose of fats through foods like avocado, olive oil, salmon, and nuts.
Anti-inflammatory foods: Processed sugars, fast foods, and deep-fried foods are the nemesis of a healthy body. Fighting inflammation is one of the best approaches toward a long and healthy lifestyle.
Cancer patients need to strengthen their immune system, and this begins with a nutrient-based diet, portion size, and stress reduction. If you’re not getting all the nutrients you need, it’s a good idea to take a multivitamin every day because these vitamins can strengthen your immune system and also increase your energy. Without proper nutrition, recovery and healing are slower and far less effective.
Moving the body helps circulation, strengthens muscles, boosts the immune system, and improves mood and sleep cycles. According to LiveScience, depending on a person’s specific circumstances, the approach to exercise might differ, but it is absolutely vital for overall health and includes the following four categories:
Aerobic exercise: This gets the heart rate going and can include running, swimming, or walking. Aerobic exercise improves overall conditioning, helps maintain a healthy weight, and helps metabolism.
Strength training: Having strong muscles is important for everyday functions, but strength training also increases bone density, which is important for cancer patients.
Balance: These types of exercise are low impact and help improve impaired balance from medication and loss of strength.
Stretching: Certain types of cancer surgeries or treatment may decrease mobility in certain areas of the body, and targeting those areas with stretching exercises can help gain some mobility back.
Supplementing cancer treatments and recovery with exercise and diet sets the patient up for success by establishing healthy lifestyle choices and habits that also lower stress. The Huffington Post reports that alternative treatments like meditation can work well in conjunction with treatments as a way to increase mindfulness and mitigate stress. Treatments like mediation improve spiritual health and help with the mental aspect of dealing with cancer.
Safe Opioid Use
Living with cancer might entail living with chronic pain and discomfort, which is often mitigated through painkillers. There has been a lot of talk about the dangers of opioid abuse. When it comes to preventing addiction, the more patients know, the better. Always remain conscious of the strength and effects of the opioids you are taking. Before starting a treatment, be completely honest with your doctor regarding your history. Make sure to follow the doctor’s dose and instructions and to keep communication open as you go through different doses and medications.
Approaching your health through a whole-body approach will increase your chances for success. By remaining mindful of your dosage of painkillers and implementing a healthy diet and exercise, you’ll feel better, be more in control, and enhance the quality of your life. The body, when given what it needs, is resilient, strong, and capable of healing.
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