Protein is one of the key nutrients important to fighting cancer. It’s necessary for cell maintenance, growth and repair. According to the National Cancer Institute, eating the right amount of protein and calories is important for healing, fighting infection and having enough energy.
When your appetite is affected by cancer treatment, you may have to get creative to get enough protein. Plant-based proteins are often the healthiest and least expensive options. Nuts and seeds are a great way to sneak protein into your diet. Sprinkle flaxseeds or chia seeds over a salad, or pack pistachios, almonds or roasted pumpkin seeds for a quick snack. Dip sliced fruits or vegetables into peanut butter or other nut butters. Nuts and seeds are nutrient-dense, so you only need a small portion to reap the benefits.
Avocado is another healthy source of protein. You can add avocado slices to salads or mash them over toast or crackers. Spoon them into a salsa or make your own guacamole. For appetizing ways to boost your protein intake:
Protein powders, bars and shakes can be an easy way to incorporate this essential nutrient into your diet. When shopping, look for items without a long list of added ingredients.
OncoLink recommends dry skim milk powder as a convenient protein supplement. Stir it into creamy foods or add it to batters. Their website includes these protein sources as good supplements: double strength milk, whey protein powder, pea protein isolate, soy protein and hemp protein powders. You can find most of these at natural food health stores.