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Is Coffee Bad for Cancer Patients?

Surviving a battle with cancer is one of the toughest experiences a person can endure. Not only does the disease come with a wide array of difficult or even debilitating symptoms, but the side effects of cancer’s treatments can be almost as damaging as the disease itself. Still, many people win their fight with this deadly ailment, though doing so often requires making a number of lifestyle adjustments. One change patients must sometimes make is limiting or stopping their consumption of coffee, which can sometimes be a tough task, given how many people enjoy this ubiquitous beverage. If you or someone you know was diagnosed with cancer, you might be wondering, “Is coffee bad for cancer patients?” To find out, keep reading as the team at ENU – maker of nutrition shakes for cancer patients – answer this important question.

Reasons Coffee Might Be Bad for Cancer Patients

Although it’s one of the most beloved beverages in the United States, there are some who question the safety of coffee, especially for those battling cancer. For some, the issue seems to lie in the possibility that coffee could be a carcinogen, though there is no concrete evidence to support this theory; others believe that the caffeine can worsen a patient’s symptoms and side effects. Below, we look at some of the top issues cancer patients face when drinking coffee:

Contribute to Dehydration

It’s a well-known fact that caffeine is a mild diuretic, meaning that it makes a person urinate more frequently. While there’s little evidence to support the idea that coffee can dehydrate you on its own, there is concern that it could worsen some of the side effects many patients on chemo experience. If a person has chronic diarrhea or vomiting, for instance – both very common side effects of chemotherapy – then they are at a greater risk of dehydration, something coffee may worsen.

Worsen Insomnia

Another side effect of chemo that cancer patients often struggle with is insomnia, which can greatly impact a patient’s mental health and quality of life. Because caffeine is known for its ability to keep people awake well into the night, it can potentially worsen the insomnia a patient is already experiencing. While avoiding caffeine in the afternoon may be enough to prevent this issue, some patients opt to skip the coffee altogether.

Offend Senses of Smell or Taste

One of the most common issues cancer patients struggle with is the sudden change in taste and smell that often results from chemo and some other treatments. When this shift occurs, foods and drinks that were once pleasant can suddenly become repulsive, forcing many cancer patients to adjust their diets to compensate. As a beverage that’s both strong and bitter, coffee may not be a good option for patients whose senses change during their cancer treatments.

Lead to Headaches

Despite its benefits, caffeine can also cause some side effects of its own, including headaches, in those are especially sensitive to it. Unfortunately, headaches are also a potential side effect of chemo, and even if a particular patient doesn’t experience that effect as a result of their treatment, caffeine could cause pain that needlessly adds to their list of troubles.

Can Coffee Help Cancer Patients?

As you can see, there are a number of reasons why a cancer patient may want to avoid coffee – and supplement with another energy-providing option like a meal replacement shake – even if the caffeinated beverage isn’t necessarily bad for them. In fact, there is some evidence indicating that it could even be good for cancer patients; some individuals even opt for coffee enemas as a treatment for colon cancer, strange as that may sound. Although that belief still requires further research, let’s look at some of the ways that coffee could help cancer patients with their disease:

Help Fight Cancer

Admittedly, there’s evidence to suggest that coffee could have either a positive or negative effect when it comes to the incidence of cancer; limited research seems to suggest that acrylamide, a compound found in roasted coffee beans, may be carcinogenic, but the most recent research indicates that the risk may be negligible, or even entirely wrong. The findings of a number of studies suggest that coffee may help to lower a person’s risk of liver, prostate, or endometrial cancer, as well as cancer in the mouth or throat. However, these findings are far from certain, and more research continues to be carried out on this topic.

Improve Energy Levels

Though there are many different side effects that could afflict a cancer patient, perhaps the most common is fatigue, a general lack of energy that makes even the most basic tasks seem like insurmountable obstacles. As one of the most readily available stimulants on the market today, the caffeine in coffee may be able to help cancer patients overcome their fatigue, or at least mitigate it somewhat. That said, be sure to talk to your doctor before using coffee as a treatment for any cancer symptom or chemo side effect, just to be on the safe side.

Try an ENU Shake or Powder for Extra Calories and Nutrients During Chemo

In the midst of fighting their cancer, many patients find that the effects of chemo make maintaining a healthy diet tough, thanks to the development of mouth sores, chronic nausea, and other severe side effects. ENU nutrition shakes and nutritional powders aim to provide well-rounded nutrition and plenty of calories to patients during this difficult time. Learn more about the benefits of ENU products by visiting us online or calling (855) 266-6733 today.

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