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Benefits of Working With a Cancer Nutritionist

A personal cancer nutritionist can help you build the skills for sustainable long-term health, even while you are fighting or recovering from a battle with cancer. Here are some of the benefits of a cancer nutritionist.

Many people across the country have to fight a daily battle with cancer. It can be challenging to keep up with healthy eating habits while also dealing with chemotherapy or other side effects of cancer on your own. Maybe you've tried multiple diet plans without success. Perhaps you're hoping to find a mindful eating strategy or just looking to feel better while dealing with cancer. Regardless of your goals, taking the first step to find a cancer nutritionist can be challenging, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Everyone has different health factors or cancer diagnoses that influence their diet and health profile. That's why it's crucial to find a cancer nutritionist who takes the time to consider your body and lifestyle when developing your nutrition plan. Personalized nutrition platforms like Top Nutrition Coaching make you feel like you're not alone. They offer numerous nutritionists and dieticians with expertise in their field who will work with you to create a personalized health plan to get you on the right track towards a healthy lifestyle while you beat cancer. They offer the quickest way to get paired with an expert cancer nutritionist who can effectively address your concerns and goals so you can start feeling better and living your best life.

At A Glance:

  • What is a cancer nutritionist? - Cancer nutritionists and dietitians are health professionals that specialize in helping cancer patients and their caregivers develop a plan for good nutrition. They are a great partner to have by your side when looking at how to manage your cancer symptoms best.
  • What are the benefits of working with a cancer nutritionist? - There is no "one-size-fits-all" approach when working one-on-one with a cancer nutritionist. Instead, you'll get visible results from a holistic nutrition plan developed specifically for you based on your health conditions and lifestyle situation.
  • How to get started with a cancer nutritionist? - Think about your needs and goals. That's all you need to do to help Top Nutrition Coaching pair you with a fully qualified cancer nutrition expert who can help you achieve your health objectives. 

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What Is A Cancer Nutritionist And How Can They Help?  

We want to debunk the myth that maintaining healthy eating habits consists of calorie counting and extreme diet plans - there is no singular path to health. The reality is that these methods rarely work, especially for people who suffer from underlying health issues, such as cancer. Here are five benefits of working with a cancer nutritionist beyond calorie counting and weight loss. Here are five ways a cancer nutritionist can help guide a path to healing through nutrition:

1. Keep up your strength and energy

Fighting cancer is a mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausting task. Having as much strength and energy as possible is crucial to getting through cancer treatments and beating the illness. A cancer nutritionist will work with you to ensure you have the proper nutrients and foods that your body needs to fight cancer, rather than focusing on calorie counting.

Instead, most cancer dietitians point to the Mediterranean diet and eating minimally-processed foods for effective weight management. Contrary to calorie-counting programs, both strategies include fatty and high-calorie sources like almonds, walnuts, olive oil, and avocados which are essential for metabolism regulation. Although fad diets avoid these foods, a dietitian can help identify foods that support long-term weight loss, provide anti-inflammatory benefits, and even lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. These benefits can also increase your energy and help your body build the strength it needs to fight cancer.

2. Better tolerate cancer treatment-related side effects

Healthy eating and weight management are essential when battling a severe health condition like cancer and trying to improve your quality of life. Maintaining healthy eating habits can significantly alleviate symptoms associated with cancer treatment options, including chemotherapy. After surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy, extra nutrients, especially protein, are usually needed to heal tissues and help fight infection. A cancer nutritionist will help ensure you keep eating healthy and getting the nutrients you need to feel better.

Seeking help from a nutritionist helps ensure that your diet positively impacts your body. Many dietitians specialize in managing specific diseases and illnesses. When seeking a cancer dietitian to work with, ensure they have experience related to your condition, such as expertise in oncology nutrition counseling. Your cancer nutrition professional will consider factors such as medical history, food allergies and sensitivities, and mental well-being to help you address your health issues and alleviate side effects.

3. Heal and recover faster

When you take care of your body and eat healthily, it's no surprise that you will start to feel better physically and mentally. Cancer is a very draining disease that can still be difficult to recover, even if you are in remission. No matter what stage of cancer you are in, or even cancer survivors, a cancer nutritionist is there to help with proper oncology nutrition and cancer care by maintaining healthy eating habits so that you can heal and recover faster and easier.

Cancer nutrition counseling is one of the best ways to fine-tune your approach to good health through factual techniques and exercises. Maybe your cancer nutrition counselor recommends you eat a diet rich in anti-inflammatory food to fight chronic illness. Or, they might teach you behavioral techniques to address some of the challenges of diet changes.

4. An approachable diet plan tailored to your body and lifestyle

Making drastic changes to your diet and lifestyle may be doable for a short time. But, in the long run, restrictive diets rarely work, and it can be challenging to know which diet to follow while you're fighting or recovering from cancer. That's where a cancer nutritionist can step in to help. Cancer nutrition counseling involves regular one-on-one sessions to identify which factors in your diet and lifestyle aren't working and how to make realistic adjustments. 

Cancer nutrition counseling is about more than just your eating habits. Your dietitian will consider factors that impact your health – type of cancer, stress levels, mental health, physical activity, interests, hobbies, responsibilities, and medical history. By building a realistic plan focused on your day-to-day challenges, you and your cancer nutritionist can lay the groundwork for good health for years to come, even after remission.

5. Help to navigate changes in your health

Our health changes over time, especially with cancer, as the disease affects everyone differently. Numerous types and stages of cancers affect people differently based on their age, gender, and medical history. As you progress through your cancer journey, your health can change as your cancer improves and you enter remission. However, no matter what changes you're going through, cancer nutrition counseling is one of the best ways to ensure you eat foods that will fuel your body, no matter which stage of cancer you are dealing with.

Dietitians vary by specialty, so you can find an expert for nearly any issue you face. For example, the Top Nutrition Coaching network includes numerous cancer specialists and experts specializing in other chronic health conditions. Regular sessions with your expert cancer dietitian can help you better understand why you may be facing particular challenges, how to eat for a specific cancer diagnosis, and how to gain a different perspective on your health goals.

What Are The Benefits Of Working With An Online Cancer Nutritionist Or Dietitian Vs. Going At It Alone

Working with a cancer nutritionist can benefit you in numerous ways. Nutrition is more than merely counting calories; it's a complex science specific to you. Here are a few ways working with a registered cancer dietitian can holistically help you.

Personally tailored nutritional advice

Everyone's health journey and cancer battle are different. When trying to form healthy eating habits on your own, conducting numerous Google searches may not provide results that apply to you or your condition. A certified cancer nutritionist can help you learn how to take care of yourself by giving advice tailored to you and your situation. This straightforward advice can help you achieve your goals more efficiently.

Help manage chronic diseases

Certified cancer nutritionists can help you manage your chronic illnesses, including, but not limited to, cancer. Annual visits to the doctor are an excellent way to assess if you have high blood pressure, cholesterol, or diabetes, but sometimes you need a closer look to understand how food could affect your health. A certified cancer nutritionist or dietician can assess any lab results and help create a comprehensive, intuitive eating guide to keep you on track, potentially leading to healthier lab results each year with tips to manage your cancer.

Guidance in navigating food allergies, sensitivities, weight gain, self-image, and overall nutritional understanding

Cancer dieticians and nutritionists can help you build a healthy relationship with food. You don't have to starve yourself or avoid the foods you crave to be healthy and happy with your lifestyle. Whether recovering from eating disorders or trying to maintain a healthy body weight due to cancer treatment, certified cancer nutritionists will work with you to provide confidence and reassurance in your eating. Enforcing healthy eating habits on your own can be challenging, and a certified personal cancer nutritionist can tell you what habits are okay and which could improve. You don't have to be so hard on yourself.

How A Cancer Nutritionist Or Dietitian Can Help You Create Healthy Lifestyle Choices

Our cancer nutritionists are here to help you through the best holistic approaches so you can learn how to create and maintain healthy lifestyle choices.

Stress & sleep

Eating balanced small meals and snacks throughout the day reduces stress and anxiety and promotes better sleep. First, it helps maintain blood sugar levels, stabilizing energy levels over the day. Eating frequently also keeps your metabolism running. It keeps you hungry/full instead of starving/stuffed, which decreases the chance of overeating and inducing anxiety because of those poor food choices.

Metabolic health

Your metabolic health means being free of metabolic disease. In succession, metabolic diseases are defined as diseases in which symptoms can be corrected by metabolic cancer treatment. Typically, medical nutrition therapy is based on controlling food intake (diet) or the enzymes and hormones. Diabetes is a classic example of metabolic disease. There is an argument that cancer can be considered a metabolic disease because of its similarities to diabetes. This theory makes sense since we are, after all, what we eat.

Behavioral psychology

Concerning psychology, nutrition helps us to understand how what we eat influences how we feel – including our emotions, moods, sensations, motivations, and experiences.

Mental health professionals understand the psychological, cognitive, and behavioral components that lead to positive mental health. Dietitians and Nutritionists already possess an understanding of the effects of diet on health.

Hormonal imbalances

Cancer nutritionists are trained to identify the functional imbalances that explain your current symptoms of hormone imbalances based on the latest cancer research and then to develop personalized nutrition and lifestyle programs with hormone balancing foods and lifestyle tips recommendations to restore hormone balance that may have been affected by cancer.

Lifestyle mapping

A cancer nutritionist can help clients identify destructive eating habits and help implement healthier dietary supplements. In addition, a nutritionist can assess a client's level and choice of activity and make appropriate modifications based on individual needs and goals. A cancer nutritionist can work with you to map your lifestyle and create a journey towards a healthy life.

Long term support

Cancer nutritionists and dietitians must help healthy patients continue to eat healthy diets. They must also build diets from the ground up for patients recovering from any trauma or illness. Many factors affect a person's ability or willingness to eat in the older stages of life. A qualified cancer nutritionist will give you the skills you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle, even after sessions end with your dietitian.

Personalized goals

Personalized nutrition helps you identify unhealthy habits that sabotage your goals and teach you how to disrupt them to avoid undesirable outcomes. Personalized nutrition cultivates healthy habits that produce more automatic beneficial and desirable results. Your dietitian is your coach and mentor and will explain the mechanics of building and maintaining healthy habits tailored to you based on your condition. Reinforcement is vital, and the collaborative approach of personalized nutrition offers you a solution!

What to ask during your first free consultation with one of our cancer nutritionists

When you work with Top Nutrition Coaching, you can access a network of best-in-class cancer nutrition professionals. However, that doesn't mean that every nutrition expert will be the perfect fit for you. Here are some questions to ask during your free cancer nutrition consultation to help you find the best dietitian for your needs.

What are your certifications?

If this is your first foray into personal cancer nutrition counseling, you'll want to make sure you select a well-qualified professional. Ask about the nutritionist's credentials and certifications related to cancer to ensure their skills align with your needs. Remember, only registered dietitians or registered dietitian nutritionists can legally give medical diagnoses and cancer treatment options based on cancer cells. Fortunately, all the nutritionists in the Top Nutrition Coaching network meet or exceed that criteria.

What are your specialties?

Many cancer nutritionists specialize in other conditions. If you want to work with a nutritionist to address a specific problem that may be unrelated to your cancer, ensure the dietitian's specialties align with your needs. You don't want to find yourself working with an oncology nutritionist if your biggest concerns are digestive problems or getting a personalized weight loss plan.

What is your approach?

Asking this question is one of the most effective ways to ensure that your personality meshes with your cancer nutritionist. You might discuss some of their successes with a previous cancer patient and how the nutritionist helped them achieve their goals. For the best experience, listen for words like "personalized," "customized," or "case-by-case."

What can I expect during the first six (or more) weeks?

This question is an excellent way to envision what virtual counseling sessions look like with a cancer nutritionist. Some nutritionists may rely on specific exercises, while others use a more adaptable, free-form approach. Even if you don't precisely know what you're looking for, asking this question allows you to visualize the experience and what you'll work on in follow-up visits to assess if that plan works for you.

Can I contact you out of hours?

Many clients value having access to their cancer nutritionist outside of appointment times, especially if new symptoms or side effects arise. Ask your nutritionist whether you can get in touch if you have questions about the health value of a particular food or adding a new activity to your fitness regimen. With Top Nutrition Coaching, you'll be about to reach out using the unlimited messaging service.

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About the author

Nicolette Star Maggiolo, RD, LDN
I'm a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist with education from Boston University and clinical training from both Brigham & Women's Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. I specialize in helping the military and non-military individuals embrace nutrition as a partner in both their mental and physical health.

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