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How to Eat Healthy for Cancer Patients

Cancer is a disease that requires a combination of medicinal and nutritional treatment to overcome successfully. The medicinal treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, can damage and destroy healthy cells while battling the cancer cells. However, your body needs these healthy cells so that you can maintain strength throughout your treatments and enhance the effectiveness of them. This is why it is essential for cancer patients to eat healthy before, during and after their treatments.

Eat lean protein. Eating foods which are high in protein will give you strength and help your body rebuild the tissues that have been damaged by your treatment. These include foods like chicken, turkey, lean beef and eggs.

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Eat in the morning. Many cancer patients may find that as the day wears on, they begin to lose their appetite. This is why it is sometimes better to make breakfast your largest meal of the day.

Drink enough fluids. Loss of appetite can occur during the treatment process, especially if some of the side effects that you are experiencing are nausea, constipation or diarrhea. In these cases, it is vital to drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Water will help keep you hydrated and plays a major role in how well the body functions. Carbonated beverages like ginger ale are also helpful.

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Eat frequently. If your appetite is not what it used to be, eating smaller meals more often throughout the day will ensure that you are still receiving the nutrients you need without becoming too full.

Be prepared. Always have snacks ready for the days that you are not up to eating complete meals. These can include carrot or celery sticks, applesauce and pudding. All of these snacks have a good nutritional value and offer your body sustenance until your appetite returns.

Use liquid replacements. If you are not up to eating solid foods, liquid replacements are a good option. Those that are milk-based are great because milk offers protein. Something like a banana milkshake not only tastes good, but is good for you.

Eat what you like. You may find that for a period of time your tastes change and you only have a desire for two or three different foods. This is OK, as along as you are eating something. Stick with these foods until you have a taste for something more.


The above tips were suggested through the National Cancer Institute by cancer patients. Though they have proved successful for many, everyone's situation is different. If you have any questions or experience any severe appetite, weight or health side effects from your treatments, always consult your doctor for his advice.