What to Eat When You are Not Well: Sickness and Good Nutrition

What to Eat When You are Not Well: Sickness and Good Nutrition    by Protica Research

Eating when you are not feeling well is not always easy, whether you have the common cold or you have a more serious, chronic illness like cancer or depression. In some cases, it is not just the illness that is the problem but the treatment that you must endure as well. You may be nauseous or lack an appetite completely. You may also be so tired that you won’t be able to eat at all.

You need to eat enough calories so that your body can fight off the disease. One of the major factors that you need to consider when you are sick is additional protein. Protein is the key to building and repairing cells and can help you to prevent the loss of muscle mass. In addition, protein will help to maintain your fluid balance (as you are at a higher risk for dehydration when you are sick) and can help the body to heal. Because antibodies are made of proteins, your body needs additional amounts of this nutrient. Protein also helps to regulate other body functions, including sleep and digestion, so without enough it may be hard to get the sleep that is needed.

Everyone knows that there are two forms of protein: animal- and plant-based, but getting enough of either kind can be very difficult when you are not feeling well. Plant-based protein requires that you eat more foods than you ordinarily would to get enough protein in a day, difficult to do when you are healthy and practically impossible when you are not feeling well. It is also hard to eat certain animal proteins when you are not feeling well. It may be hard for the body to break down a chunk of meat, which may not be appetizing to someone who is not at their usual strength or appetite.

Wendy has cancer, and while her prognosis is good, she is not doing very well with maintaining her weight and her strength at this time because of the chemotherapy that she has just started. In addition, she is going to be treated for depression, which is related to her cancer, and is still recovering from her initial surgery. For all of these reasons, she needs to boost her protein intake as well as her overall calorie intake. All of the rules of good nutrition, meant to prevent weight gain, high cholesterol and other conditions, are no longer applicable for her. In fact, her nutritionist is suggesting that she eat cheeseburgers and other high-calorie foods.

In addition, Wendy may also add a protein supplement to her diet as well, with several options to choose from, including powders, bars and protein puddings. There are other nutrients that she should consider getting enough of, including fiber and vitamins, but she can also supplement those as well. If she does increase her fiber, she has to be careful about her fluid intake or she could end up being very constipated.

Some of the suggestions that are made by the dietician include switching from low-fat to full-fat milk and cheeses and adding cream to soup, fruits, cereals and other foods. She will also use special fortified milk made by adding dry milk powder to her whole milk and then adding this boosted milk not only as a beverage, but in recipes as well.

She will be adding Profect, a protein supplement from Protica, which will give her 25 grams of protein in an easy-to-consume liquid shot. Available in a number of flavors, Wendy will be able to get a variety of these protein supplements in her diet without having to focus on only one taste over and over. If she finds that one taste makes her feel ill, she can switch to something different. It may take her some experimentation, but she will find at least a few things that she will be able to tolerate.

The nutritionist has worked out a diet plan for Wendy, including a set schedule for small meals throughout the day if she is up to them. This way, she does not wait for the feelings of hunger and will continue to get nutrition. She may also use other protein supplements in addition to Profect. Of these, she can use whey, soy, egg or rice protein powders, which she can either use as a beverage or stir into other foods. Whey protein is the most common type of protein powder and is the easiest to find. There are two types of whey protein, a concentrate and an isolate. The concentrate is the cheaper of the two and is usually the easiest to find in most retailers; however, for anyone who is lactose intolerant, it might be important to avoid whey protein since whey is a derivative of cheese-making.

It is important to make sure that no matter what you are consuming, the protein you have chosen is easily digested. The last thing that you need while you are not feeling well are foods that your body has to work extra hard to break down and use. Eggs are considered to be the perfect protein; all of the protein in a single egg is broken down and used by the body. Scrambled eggs, especially with a little sprinkle of cheese or veggies, can be a perfect meal and are easy to make.

Protein supplements are also easy to digest in most cases, however, protein bars may have additional fiber which may make them harder to break down.

It is also important to keep in mind your own personal preferences. For instance, if you know that certain foods make you more nauseous, you should avoid them. Tomatoes and tomato-based foods are a problem for Wendy, so she steers clear of them as much as possible. She is also allergic to a number of foods, so she still must stay away from those.

As she goes through her treatment, it is important for Wendy to discuss her changing needs with the doctor and the dietician. It is also important for her to pay attention to her own body’s clues and cues. She may go through several changes in taste and may like one food on Monday and then hate it on Friday. She will also have days where she does not want to eat anything solid at all.

In addition to eating whenever she feels like she can, she is also trying to nap whenever she can so that she can get her strength back sooner. Trying to get enough nutrition in her diet is important – she is at bigger risk for dehydration. Dehydration can be dangerous because it may cause her to have irregular heartbeats, and may also cause her to be more susceptible to infection (Source: Griffin). While Wendy should refrain from drinking liquids while she is eating, she should be trying to get at least the minimum of fluids the rest of the time. Wendy may notice that her meds do not work as effectively when she is dehydrated, and she may also notice that she is feeling pain more acutely as well.


R. Morgan Griffin Healthy Eating When You’re Sick: Nutrition Tips to Fight Fatigue and Boost Strength. Web MD

About the Author

About Protica Research (http://www.protica.com) Founded in 2001, Protica, Inc. is a nutritional research firm specializing in the development of dense nutrition in compact forms. Protica manufactures Profect (http://www.profect.com), IsoMetric (http://www.isometric.com), Pediagro (http://www.pediagro.com), Fruitasia (http://www.fruitasia.com) and many other brands in its GMP-certified, 250,000 square foot facility. Copyright – Protica

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