What foods are good for cancer patients? - Arizona Oncology Foundation (2023)

TLDR: Cancer impacts the body on several different levels and in various areas. One of those areas is diet, the type of foods you eat after being diagnosed with cancer will have a significant impact on how well you’re able to manage and deal with the symptoms. There are a lot of natural foods available that you can eat to help your body recover from cancer treatment. Some of those foods include peas, tomatoes, oats, pasta, pears, mangoes, and more. You can eat these foods before cancer treatment to help your body recover faster also.

Cancer patients have several different things that they must remain cognitive of when going through their surgeries, treatments, or therapy. Diet is one of the most critical factors that will impact the growth of cancer cells in your body, which is why it’s essential to maintain healthy eating habits when you have been diagnosed with cancer. Luckily, if you are trying to fight cancer at the core by using your diet, that is a viable option.

You can eat several different foods as a cancer patient, which will help slow the spread and, in some instances, even inhibit the growth of cancer cells entirely. To take it a step further, if you want to maximize your natural cancer-fighting powers, you can implement an entirely plant-based diet that has been proven to be very effective at inhibiting the growth of cancer within the body.

Below, we’re going to give you all of the vital information you need to know about the best foods you can eat as a cancer patient. Make sure you read this write-up in full so that you can start managing your condition better with natural remedies.

What are some foods I can eat to help fight cancer?

As we stated before, there are plenty of foods you can eat that have been proven to help either make dealing with the symptoms of cancer easier, inhibit the growth of cancer cells, or slow the spread of cancer within the body. These various foods are able to accomplish this due to the natural compounds contained within them.

Here are some foods that are good for cancer patients to eat:

  • Oranges
  • Guava
  • Prunes
  • Pears
  • Mangoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Peas
  • Tomatoes
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Fish
  • Dried Beans
  • Soy Food
  • Whole Bread
  • Pasta
  • Oats
  • Corn

These are just some of the foods that have been well documented and known to help fight cancer in the body. Proper dieting is very important for cancer patients because your body needs nutrients and calories to sustain your energy levels while fighting cancer. You don’t have to do a total overhaul of your diet to begin experiencing the benefits that specific foods have to offer.

Start by implementing small amounts of each food into your daily diet. This can take the form of protein shakes, garnishes for your food, supplements, and more. If you’re scheduled to undergo treatment for your cancer and want to make the recovery process much more manageable, you should consider starting your healthy diet before undergoing the procedure as it will allow your body to recover much faster while also retaining your natural strength.

It would be best if you also stocked your refrigerator with the foods you want to eat during your recovery before the date so that you won’t have to add another stress on your body while it’s trying to heal itself. It’s best if you buy foods that require minimal cooking and can be stored for long periods of time, so you will have enough healthy diet options to choose from.

Why diet is so important for cancer patients

Our bodies operate on organic compounds such as calories, proteins, fats, and more. When undergoing cancer treatment, your body will be subject to an immense amount of stress, depending on the type of treatment option you select. By eating healthy foods, you will be able to assist your body in repairing itself from any damage which may have occurred during the treatment process.

In the same way that you need to eat healthy foods, it’s just as crucial for you to avoid unhealthy food options as they can worsen your cancer symptoms. Some of the foods you should avoid when going through cancer treatment are undercooked meats, raw fish, and poultry. Since cancer has such a massive impact on the body, you need to easy as often as you feel it’s required.

Please stay away from spicy foods, high-fat foods, greasy foods, or those that have very potent smells as they can induce symptoms such as vomiting or nausea. Drinking clear liquids that contain electrolytes such as sports drinks and water can also be beneficial for cancer patients undergoing recovery.

People Also Ask

What are the best foods to kill cancer cells?

There are many different foods you can eat to kill cancer cells; here are some of the most effective: legumes, flaxseeds, tea, garlic, whole grains, and more. All of these foods have been studied and shown to have beneficial effects at inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in the body.

What cancer patients should not eat?

People with cancer should avoid eating particular foods as they can accelerate the growth of cancer cells in the body. Here are some of the foods you should avoid eating as a cancer patient: processed meats, oily foods, salt, fried food, and sugar.

What fruit kills cancer cells?

In studies conducted in certified laboratories across the nation, results have proven that a fruit known as Graviola can kill certain types of breast cancer and liver cancer. More recent studies have been conducted that show Graviola pulp extract has shown results that prove it’s effectiveness on the prostates of mice.


All of these tips are vital for cancer patients who want to manage their symptoms better than the side effects of treatment. By using all of the information in this article, you will be able to minimize the harsh impacts of cancer in a natural way.


What foods are good for cancer patients? - Arizona Oncology Foundation? ›

There are many different foods you can eat to kill cancer cells; here are some of the most effective: legumes, flaxseeds, tea, garlic, whole grains, and more. All of these foods have been studied and shown to have beneficial effects at inhibiting the growth of cancer cells in the body.

What are the top 10 cancer-fighting foods? ›

Top Ten Foods to Fight Cancer
  1. Wine and/or Grape Juice. ...
  2. Cruciferous Vegetables. ...
  3. Green Tea. ...
  4. Sun and Sardines: Vitamin D. ...
  5. Folate. ...
  6. Dark Green Vegetables. ...
  7. Spice it: Ginger and Turmeric. ...
  8. Beans and Lentils.

What are healthy foods for cancer recovery? ›

Eat a variety of raw and cooked vegetables, fruit and legumes (e.g. dried beans, lentils). Eat plenty of cereals (including breads, rice, pasta and noodles), preferably wholegrain. Eat red meat no more than three to four times a week. On the other days choose fish, poultry, dried or canned beans or lentils.

What kills cancer cells in the body naturally? ›

Other Effective Cancer-Fighting Foods
  • Carrots. Eating carrots has been linked in certain studies to a lower risk of stomach, lung cancer, and prostate cancer.
  • Beans. Beans are high in fiber, which may be protective against colorectal cancer. ...
  • Cinnamon. ...
  • Nuts. ...
  • Olive oil. ...
  • Turmeric. ...
  • Citrus Fruits. ...
  • Flaxseed.

What stops cancer cells from growing? ›

Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) block chemical messengers (enzymes) called tyrosine kinases. Tyrosine kinases help to send growth signals in cells, so blocking them stops the cell growing and dividing. Cancer growth blockers can block one type of tyrosine kinase or more than one type.

What foods feed cancer cells? ›

Sugar comes in many different forms, but the simplest form is a single molecule called glucose. All cells, including cancer cells, use glucose as their primary fuel. Glucose comes from any food that contains carbohydrates including healthful foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains and dairy.

Is banana good for cancer patients? ›

Bananas. Bananas can be a great dietary addition for those recovering from cancer. They're not only easy to tolerate for those with swallowing difficulties but also a good source of many important nutrients, including vitamin B6, manganese, and vitamin C ( 15 ).

What drinks are good for cancer patients? ›

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) provides the following list of clear liquids:
  • Bouillon.
  • Clear, fat-free broth.
  • Clear carbonated beverages.
  • Consommé
  • Apple/cranberry/grape juice.
  • Fruit ices without fruit pieces.
  • Fruit ices without milk.
  • Fruit punch.

What fruit is good for cancer? ›

Citrus fruit, like grapefruits and oranges, may have a role in preventing certain cancers. One large study in Japan found that people who had citrus fruits or juices 3-4 days a week were less likely to get cancer than those who had them 2 or fewer days a week.

What kind of cheese is good for cancer patients? ›

l Avoid unpasteurized milk, juice or cider. cheese, cottage cheese, hard cheeses (like cheddar, Swiss and havarti) and processed cheese are fine. l Canadian Cancer Society .

Is yogurt good for cancer patients? ›

Intake of yogurt has been found to be associated with lower risks of colorectal and bladder cancer. On the other hand, some (but not all) studies have reported that yogurt consumption is associated with an increased risk of kidney cancer and squamous cell skin cancer.

What kills tumor cells? ›

Oncolytic viruses kill individual cancer cells, but studies also suggest that they can boost the immune system's ability to recognize and kill a tumor. The viruses enter tumor cells specifically and replicate, eventually breaking the cells apart.

What vegetables shrink tumors? ›

5 Cancer Fighting Vegetables You Should Be Eating
  • Tomatoes. Tomatoes are not only delicious but nutritious! ...
  • Broccoli. Broccoli can be prepared a number of healthy and delicious ways. ...
  • Kale. Kale is all the rage in the culinary world. ...
  • Carrots. Carrots are adored by kids and adults alike. ...
  • Cabbage.

Which fruit kills cancer cells? ›

Strawberries and raspberries have a phytochemical called ellagic acid. This powerful antioxidant may actually fight cancer in several ways at once, including deactivating certain cancer causing substances and slowing the growth of cancer cells.

How do you beat cancer without chemo? ›

5 Cancer Treatments That Aren't Chemotherapy
  1. Treatment 1: Surgery. ...
  2. Treatment 2: Immunotherapy. ...
  3. Treatment 3: Targeted therapies. ...
  4. Treatment 4: Active surveillance. ...
  5. Treatment 5: Supportive care.

What triggers cancer cells to grow? ›

Most cancer-causing DNA changes occur in sections of DNA called genes. These changes are also called genetic changes. A DNA change can cause genes involved in normal cell growth to become oncogenes. Unlike normal genes, oncogenes cannot be turned off, so they cause uncontrolled cell growth.

What causes cancer cells to grow faster? ›

New gene faults or mutations can make cancer cells: grow faster.

What vitamins fight cancer? ›

Antioxidant supplements such as co enzyme Q10, selenium and the vitamins A, C and E can help to prevent cell damage. But there is some evidence that taking high dose antioxidant supplements during cancer treatment might make the treatment less effective.

What drinks should cancer patients avoid? ›

Drinks to Avoid

If you're suffering from constipation from medication or diarrhea from chemo, definitely avoid fizzy drinks such as soda and energy drinks, as they can give you gas. Give your mouth tissues a break, too, by avoiding acidic drinks like lemonade or orange juice that can burn a sore mouth.

Is peanut butter good for cancer patients? ›

Resveratrol – this antioxidant has been shown to cut off blood supply to growing cancers and inhibit cancer cell growth. Found in both raw and roasted peanuts, as well as peanut butter, resveratrol has exhibited evidence for cancer protection, as well as promise in treating Alzheimer's and diabetes.

Is avocado good for cancer patients? ›

Avocados are high in healthy fats, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, potassium and fiber. This makes them rich in antioxidants and nutrients that are essential in a healthy diet and have been shown to have anti-carcinogenic properties.

Are grapes good for cancer patients? ›

Studies show that resveratrol has the potential to possibly stop cancer from starting in the breast, liver, stomach and lymphatic system. “The grape's skin has the most resveratrol, so leave the skin intact,” Wohlford says. Red and purple grapes have significantly more resveratrol than green grapes.

Can a cancer patient drink milk? ›

Dairy foods should be eaten as part of a varied and nutritious diet. Cancer Council supports the Australian Dietary Guidelines, which encourage adults to eat at least two and a half serves of dairy foods (milk, cheese and yoghurt) each day and to choose reduced fat varieties of dairy foods where possible.

What juices fight cancer? ›

Pineapple – Blueberry – Ginger Juice

Blueberries are rich in antioxidants, which have been shown to fight certain types of cancer. The ginger aids digestion, and sets a South Pacific mood when combined with pineapple. Makes 12 ounces = 80 calories, 0g fat,16g carbs, 7g protein.

How do you make a cancer patient stronger? ›

Regular exercise increases your sense of well-being after cancer treatment and can make your recovery faster. Cancer survivors who exercise may experience: Increased strength and endurance. Fewer symptoms of depression.

Is oatmeal good for cancer patients? ›

Oatmeal provides numerous nutrients that can help your body during chemo. It boasts ample amounts of carbs, protein, and antioxidants, as well as more healthy fats than most grains. It also helps regulate your bowels because of its beta glucan, a type of soluble fiber that feeds the good bacteria in your gut ( 2 , 3 ).

What is the best cereal for cancer patients? ›

Hot or cold cereal.

Your best choices include puffed brown rice, shredded wheat and granola made with ingredients you'd find in your own kitchen (no corn syrup or hydrogenated oil). Rice-based cereals are particularly good if you are having digestive difficulties.

Is Egg good for cancer patients? ›

Limit eggs to 1 or 2 times per week; soft and hard boiled will be a better option than scrambled or fried. Consider avoiding eggs completely if you have had a reproductive cancer or are at high-risk for breast, ovarian, and prostate cancer. Limit red meat to once a week or less and avoid cooking at high temperatures.

Can cancer patient eat pizza? ›

Can I eat pizza during chemo? Many people wonder if they can continue eating their favorite foods during chemo. Good news—you can! Unless something upsets your stomach, feel free to keep eating foods you enjoy.

Can cancer patients eat ice cream? ›

Avoid milk, ice cream and puddings for now since they can upset your stomach. Yogurt, sherbet, cheese and custard may be tolerated since these foods contain smaller amounts of lactose.

Is canned tuna good for cancer patients? ›

Salmon, tuna, anchovies and mussels are among the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. For cancer patients struggling with digestive issues and weight loss, seafood may help them maintain a healthy weight while providing key nutrients.

Can cancer patients eat butter? ›

While we do not recommend such butter, modest amounts consumed infrequently might not be harmful. Another alternative is carefully-selected margarine.

What kind of yogurt can cancer patients eat? ›

Looking for a quick, healthy snack to increase your protein and calcium intake during cancer treatment? Greek yogurt could be a great option. What is in Greek yogurt? It contains all the benefits of regular yogurt, plus extra protein (17 grams per serving).

What foods are good for cancer patients with no appetite? ›

Have snacks readily available so that you can eat when you're up to it. Cheese, ice cream, canned fruit in heavy syrup, dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter with crackers, cheese with crackers, muffins, cottage cheese and chocolate milk are examples of high-calorie snacks requiring little or no preparation.

What should cancer patients eat and what not to eat? ›

Your best bet is to stick with a balanced diet with lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. Limit your sugar, caffeine, salt, and alcohol.

What are 5 foods and or drinks that are cancer fighting? ›

"Cancer-fighting foods"

The list is usually topped with berries, broccoli, tomatoes, walnuts, grapes and other vegetables, fruits and nuts. "If you look at the typical foods that reduce cancer risk, it's pretty much all plant foods that contain phytochemicals," says Wohlford.

What fruits should cancer patients avoid? ›

You may also want to avoid certain fruits based on your symptoms. For example, citrus fruits may irritate mouth sores and worsen the feeling of dry mouth. Lastly, whole fruits like apples, apricots, and pears are hard for some people with cancer to eat due to mouth sores, difficulty swallowing, dry mouth, or nausea.

What sweets can cancer patients eat? ›

Choose desserts that aren't as sweet, such as yogurt, custard, pumpkin pie, fruit, baked fruit, fruit with cottage cheese, fruit crumble, plain doughnuts, or graham crackers.

What is the best bread for cancer patients? ›

– Choose whole grains. Brown rice, whole wheat pasta and whole wheat bread are better choices than refined grains like white rice and white bread.

Which nut fights cancer better? ›

Walnuts. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, all nuts appear to have cancer-preventing properties, but scientists have studied walnuts more than other types. Walnuts contain a substance called pedunculagin, which the body metabolizes into urolithins.

Can a cancer patient eat pizza? ›

Can I eat pizza during chemo? Many people wonder if they can continue eating their favorite foods during chemo. Good news—you can! Unless something upsets your stomach, feel free to keep eating foods you enjoy.

What are healthy snacks for cancer patients? ›

Snack ideas
  • crackers with cheese.
  • pita bread with hummus.
  • buttered pikelets, scones, muffins, fruit buns, crumpets, finger buns or raisin toast.
  • celery with cream cheese or peanut butter.
  • hard-boiled eggs.
  • dried fruit and nuts.


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