Protein is one of the most important nutrients needed by our body. Anyone receiving cancer treatment can easily get malnourished. So, it is quite necessary to keep yourself properly nourished in order to recover. Protein can be obtained in several ways like from the food you take, or supplements like protein shakes and protein powders.
It is recommended to take a healthy diet by the specialist to get your daily protein requirements. But it can be hard for the patients who are having trouble eating or deriving all the nutrients from their diets. It can be helpful for such people.
Protein: a vital nutrient
Protein is the building block of our body. In fact, it is an important constituent of every cell in our body. From connective tissues to our muscle tissue, all of them are based on protein. During cancer treatment, your body can be under tremendous pressure. Whether it’s chemotherapy, radiotherapy, or surgery, all of these treatments can take a heavy toll on the healthy cells apart from the cancer cells. A lot of healthy cells die during these treatments. Your body needs to replace these cells with new ones. This is why you need protein to rebuild yourself.
Why do you need protein?
It is clear that protein can play an important role in rebuilding and repairing the body. Protein intake is essential to replace lost cells. This is mainly because cells need to regenerate very quickly in order to recover and heal. Eating protein has several other benefits. It strengthens immunity and makes you less susceptible to infections and diseases. It also helps you deal with the side effects of cancer treatments like fatigue and weight loss.
Protein-packed food to nourish yourself
One of the several ways to intake protein is a balanced diet. Pack your diet with protein-rich food to draw the maximum benefit of protein. Having a balanced diet is preferable to protein supplements or protein powder. This is what the specialist suggests. There are many rich sources of protein that can be readily availed.
There are two main sources of protein: plant-based protein and animal-based protein. It should be determined which type of protein the patient can tolerate before providing any protein-rich foods.
Some of the plant-based protein sources are soybean and soybean-based products like tofu, seitan, pulses like lentils and beans, quinoa, amaranth, peanut butter, etc. On the other hand, animal-based sources of protein are mainly meat such as fish, chicken, pork, milk, egg, etc.
Protein powder: when it can be helpful?
Even though a balanced diet can be sufficient to provide you with your daily protein goals, some patients might have trouble getting enough protein. This may be due to nausea or a change in taste and smell, which means a person won’t be able to eat much. Another scenario may be that the person might have trouble swallowing food. In such cases, protein powder can be helpful and help you to get the right amount of protein. Protein powder is taken by sportspeople, people recovering from injury, etc as well.
Types of protein powder
There are basically three types of protein powders available: protein concentrates, protein hydrolysates, and protein isolates. Protein concentrates are obtained by the extraction of protein from food using heat or enzymes. These usually contain 60 to 80 percent protein. Protein isolates are produced after an extra level of filtering. Hence, this leads to protein concentration becoming 90 to 95 percent. Protein hydrolysates are the result of further heating with enzymes or acids. This results in the breaking of amino acids into simpler components. That is why protein hydrolysates are absorbed very quickly by the body.
You can also classify protein powder based on the food they are extracted from. For instance, whey protein powder, chickpea protein powder, casein protein powder, egg protein powder, hemp protein, brown protein powder, mixed plant protein powder, etc.
Compatibility with anticancer diet
Protein powder can reinforce your protein goals. It can help you to meet your daily intake easily. You can choose from various protein powders available. It can easily go with your anti-cancer diet. Protein powders are quite helpful if you are unable to eat adequately. There are a few things that you should keep in mind before picking any protein powders.
Protein powders must not contain food additives. Not all additives are bad, but some can cause side effects like stomach problems. These additives can be difficult to digest and can take longer for bacteria in the digestive tract to digest. Therefore, it can cause bloating, abdominal pain, etc.
Another thing to avoid is artificial sweeteners. Don’t buy one with added artificial sweeteners. Do not choose protein powders with dairy products as they can cause stomach upset. Always choose protein powders that are chemical-free and contain no protein concentrates and concentrates.
If you have a weak stomach, choose egg white protein powder, unless you are allergic to eggs. In this case, you can choose a green pea protein that is quite gentle on the stomach. It is herbal and therefore rich in fiber, which is helpful for bowel movements, keeping you away from problems like constipation.
Getting proper nourishment is a matter of concern for cancer patients. One can easily get malnourished. Protein is quite necessary for timely recovery and regaining or maintaining healthy body weight. A balanced diet is crucial to meet such demands. But all patients are not able to draw nutrition from the only diet itself. Protein powders can be quite helpful if you are unable to meet your protein needs.