Eating well is important for our functioning bodies. This is true for all people, especially when going through stress or illness. In an individual with cancer, the right nutrients will help their body fight the illness. They will also help you feel better by maintaining energy, lowering the risk of infection and allowing your body to recover. What are the right foods to eat when you have cancer?
Each person may have different nutrient requirements based on the type of cancer treatment and needs of their body. Working with a dietitian and health care team will help each person determine the best diet for their situation. The general diet recommendations for a person with cancer are similar to the recommendations for the general public.
Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Whole grains – Cereal, bread, flour, rice and crackers that are labeled as “100% whole wheat” or “whole grain.”
- Fruits and vegetables – A variety of fresh, frozen, dried or canned fruits and vegetables will provide the body with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Make sure to thoroughly wash all fresh produce.
- Lean protein and beans – Unprocessed meats and protein like fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, 100% peanut butter, low fat dairy, cheese and beans are all important for the body to heal. Make sure all meats and eggs are thoroughly cooked.
- Healthy fats – Increase monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and decrease saturated or trans fats in the diet.
- Plenty of fluids – Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and non-caffeinated fluids. This will prevent your body from becoming dehydrated and provide the body with enough fluids to function properly.
Check with your doctor before changing your diet, adding supplements or herbs and anytime you have an adverse reaction to any food products.
Our bodies function best when we provide the proper nutrients. This is especially important for someone with cancer and can be easily maintained by eating a diet like the one described above.
Contributed by Camille Osborne, Dietetics Student
American Cancer Society Medical Team. “Benefits of Good Nutrition during Cancer Treatment.” American Cancer Society. N.p., 15 July 2015. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.
Malone, RD, Lindsay. “‘I Have Cancer — What Should I Eat?.’” Health Essentials. Cleveland Clinic, 12 June 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2017.