Editor’s note: For this Friday Fix post, we asked Calleigh Reardon, University of Houston Dietetic Intern, from the Office of Maria Petzel, to provide some information on healthy summer drinks for cancer patients. Petzel is a senior clinical dietitian for the Pancreas Surgery Program at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and a member of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s Scientific and Medical Advisory Board.

In the summertime, people are constantly trying to beat the heat. And whether you are blasting the AC or trying to find some shade, an always reliable way to cool down is by drinking a nice, refreshing beverage to stay hydrated.

For pancreatic cancer patients, staying hydrated is crucial.

“As a cancer patient, proper hydration is critical to maintaining your body’s balance,” said Calleigh Reardon, University of Houston Dietetic intern from the Office of Maria Petzel. “Common pancreatic cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can cause fluid expelling symptoms like vomiting and diarrhea. It’s especially important to replenish your body with the fluids that it needs.”

Reardon suggests staying away from sodas, and instead enjoying water-based and 100 percent fruit juice-based drinks, which are not only better for you, but also are more hydrating.

Also, lemonade may appear to have a large amount of vitamin C, but the American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) states that it can contain a lot of sugar and should not be viewed as a “healthier” alternative to sodas. The ever-popular, go-to summer drink may not be as hydrating, either.

Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN, FAND, of the AICR says, “Consider lemonade more like a sugar-sweetened drink. Commercial ‘real old-fashioned’ lemonade is typically only about 15 percent lemon juice, similar to fruit drinks that contain little juice and a lot of sugar water … Unlike soda, some lemonades contain from 10 to 100 percent of Daily Value (DV) for vitamin C. Sometimes this vitamin C is from lemon juice; in other cases, especially when high amounts of vitamin C are present, it’s because of added vitamin C and is not a sign of actual fruit juice content.”

Try these delicious and refreshing recipes from the AICR that will keep you healthy and hydrated during the summer.

Rhubarb Orange Refresher

Ginger Tea Cooler with Fresh Mint

Mango Carrot Ginger Smoothie

Blueberry Blast Smoothie

Water with Fresh Strawberries and Mint

Lemon Basil Water

Reardon also suggests using frozen fruit to create delicious beverages.

“If you’re looking for something with a little more flavor, try freezing fruits, like watermelon, and then blending them with some herbs and ice for a low-sugar Italian ice.”

Pancreatic cancer patients often have many questions and concerns about nutritional care. In addition to PanCAN’s PanCAN Patient Services, both MyPlate and AICR provide resources on healthy diets, including eating well on a budget. A registered dietitian is also an invaluable resource for cancer patients with dietary restrictions.

Contact a PanCAN Patient Services Case Manager
For free, in-depth and personalized information on diet and nutrition, contact PanCAN Patient Services.