Ask the Nutritionist
Q: After cancer treatment, I started exercising with a personal trainer and taking protein shakes with Navitas Hemp Powder three times a week. Is this advisable?
Selene, Manchester, New Hampshire
A: Getting enough protein is important to help with immune function, healing, and overall energy levels during treatment. Navitas Hemp Powder is 100 percent hemp, which is a great choice for breast cancer patients who should avoid soy protein isolate found in soy protein powders. Hemp protein is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation, help prevent muscle loss associated with cancer treatment and can be beneficial for heart disease prevention.
In general, most protein powders on the market are either whey- or soy-based protein. Whey protein powders come from a milk protein, whereas soy protein powders are derived from soy protein. Both come unflavored or in flavors such as vanilla or chocolate. The unflavored powders can be added to foods such as soups, squash, mashed potatoes, oatmeal, cream of wheat and scrambled eggs, in addition to smoothies and frappes. When looking at protein shakes or powders, we suggest protein amounts that are 25 grams or less per serving.
Instead of whey powder, you can opt for protein powders that can be found at health food stores, including pea and hemp-based proteins. You can also choose to boost protein in your diet with nuts, natural nut butters, beans, hummus, fish, lean meat, poultry, eggs, dairy products, and some whole grains like quinoa.