Healthy Eating For Cancer Patients – Take Care of Yourself

In this post I hope to give you a few tips and ideas on how you can take care of yourself at a time when your body is going though so much. As a cancer survivor, I have personally had to learn what I could eat and what my body needed during and after my Chemo treatments. A healthy diet for cancer patients on chemo so to speak. You must take care of yourself, your PCP can help your figure out what vitamins and healthy nutritional diet a cancer patients body, your body needs. As a cancer patient please see your PCP, your Oncologist will watch your Red and White Blood Counts but the rest is up to you. Number one rule Stay Hydrated!!

Healthy Food For Cancer Patient’s During Treatment

Chemotherapy, radiation, all cancer treatments are hard on your and your body. Choosing healthy foods can help your feel better and speed your recovery. During treatment your need extra calories and protein to keep your strength up and continue your journey.

fish and lemon

  • Drink 100% fruit or vegetable juices. (Make sure they are pasteurized because your may be more susceptible to germs while your’re getting cancer treatment.)
  • Drink Plenty of Water
  • Have a leafy green salad with dinner unless your have been told to avoid raw foods.
  • Fill half of your plate with vegetables and fruits.
  • A few times a week, choose meatless meals such as vegetarian lasagna or vegetable stir-fry.
  • Choose whole grain breads and cereals.
  • Pick fish and lean meats over fatty red meat and processed meats.
  • Limit sugary foods, the kind with lots of calories but very little nutrition. And a lot of cancers feed off sugar.
  • Good protein sources chicken, fish, eggs, beans, nuts, seeds and dairy products.

Lemons – My Favorite

I want to add lemons to this list because lemons became my favorite thing to eat and drink when I was going through my lung cancer treatments. Shortly after I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Lung Cancer I read an article on Lemons for Cancer. I started drinking hot lemon juice, frozen lemon smoothies and water with lemon ice cube. I ate everything I could with grated lemon peel on it. Squeezed Lemon juices on fish. Yes I went Lemon crazy. All natural Lemon drops got me through Chemo and radiation treatments, I was a smoker when I was diagnosed and Lemon drops helped me quit.

I am very blessed, my lung cancer is gone…. Not in remission, gone. My radiologist told me they rarely see Stage 3 Lung Cancer disappear. Now I’m not saying the Lemons cured me by any means. But they made the treatments and the side effects easier for me to tolerate. And after all Lemons have some clear benefits that are best not ignored.

Vitamin C is found in lemon juice, which is already a very well-known alternative cancer treatment in its own right, the peel of the lemon can help to eradicate toxins in your body. The connection between cancer and lemons isn’t something new, studies have shown that lemon extract can successfully destroy malignant cells in a wide range of cancers, including breast cancer, colon cancer, and lung cancer. Additionally, the studies also show that lemon extract therapy only affects malignant cells, leaving healthy cells unharmed. Additional health benefits of lemon include:

  • It is antibacterial
  • It is antiviral
  • It aids in digestion
  • It can be used to treat acne
  • It helps to regulate blood pressure
  • It fights against parasites and worms
  • It possesses antidepressant qualities
  • It helps to reduce stress and anxiety

Seriously though, I do not believe Lemon’s cured my cancer. That statement is unscientific and unfounded. It is a natural product that can form a nutritional barrier between health and disease, and it can make life with cancer a little easy.

Cancer Treatment and Foods to Avoid

You may have side effects like nausea, taste changes, or mouth sores, caused by your treatment. I know there are foods that you would much rather not see or smell. But, keep in mind that there are some foods that no matter how good they sound are best avoided due to the risk of food borne illness, best known as food poisoning. Most cancer treatments can weaken your immune system until at least a few weeks after they’ve ended (longer if your had a stem cell/bone marrow transplant), food poisoning is not something you or your body need to battle. The results of developing a food borne illness can be serious.

Try to avoid eating raw or under cooked foods as they are the most common cause of food poisoning. Make sure your food is cooked well so to destroy any bacteria, however, bacteria can start to grow on cooked food if it is left out or in the refrigerator for too long. Always wash your hands with soap before and after each food group (if you handled and season meat, then wash your hands before moving on to chopping those veggies.) This will keep your food from being contaminated with a virus or other “bug” when being handled. Some of us who are receiving or have recently finished cancer treatment should just avoid eating some foods, some of these I love and never had a problem with before. Some of these are:

  • bulk-veggiesCold hot dogs or deli lunch meat (cold cuts) Always cook or reheat until the meat is steaming hot.
  • Dry-cured, uncooked salami
  • Unpasteurized (raw) milk and milk products, including raw milk yogurt
  • Soft cheeses made from unpasteurized milk, such as blue-veined (a type of blue cheese), Brie, Camembert, feta, goat cheese, and queso fresco/blanco
  • Smoked fish
  • Deli-prepared salads with egg, ham, chicken, or seafood
  • Refrigerated pâté
  • Unwashed fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy vegetables that can hide dirt and other contaminants
  • Unpasteurized fruit juice or cider
  • Raw sprouts like alfalfa sprouts
  • Raw or under cooked beef (especially ground beef) or other raw or under cooked meat and poultry
  • Raw or under cooked shellfish, like oysters. These items may carry the hepatitis A virus and should be cooked thoroughly to destroy the virus.
  • Some types of fish, both raw and cooked, as they may contain high levels of mercury
  • Sushi and sashimi, which often contain raw fish. Commercially frozen fish, especially those labeled “sushi-grade” or “sashimi-grade,” is safer than other fish, but check with your doctor, nutritionist, or another member of your health care team before eating these foods.
  • Undercooked eggs, such as soft-boiled, over easy, and poached
  • Raw, unpasteurized eggs or foods made with raw egg, such as homemade raw cookie dough

Don’t fret however, talk with your doctor or someone on your health care team about how long you should take food precautions and when you can return to eating certain foods again.

Tips On Food Safety

Cancer treatments temporarily weaken your immune system. So it’s important to avoid germs that your can pick up from food. Contaminated food can make your quite sick. Here are some tips on food safety.

  • Avoid cracked or unrefrigerated eggs.
  • Check expiration dates to avoid food spoilage, and throw away any moldy foods.
  • Cook all your meats until they’re well done.
  • Don’t buy bulk foods from open bins, like salad greens.
  • Keep all perishable foods in the fridge until your’re ready to prepare them.
  • Prep your food on surfaces that are cleaned with soapy, hot water.
  • Use a separate cutting board for raw meat, fish, or poultry. Wash it thoroughly after each use.
  • Scrub and rinse fruits and veggies thoroughly. Don’t eat any fruits or vegetables that your can’t wash easily, such as raspberries. Scrub the outsides, even if your don’t eat them, like the rind of a melon.

Last But Not Least – Supplements Nutrition For Cancer Patients

Now I know that a time will come during your treatment when your just won’t want to eat. You know you have to keep your strength up so you think about taking supplement to get the nutrients you need. However, be aware that some herbal products and dietary supplements for cancer patients have been shown to interfere with cancer treatments. Antioxidants like vitamin E may be risky in excess. It’s best to meet with a dietitian if you are worried about falling short on any essential nutrients.

I hope the information here helps give your some ideas and support as you go though this invasion on your body. I would love to hear about your journey and any suggestions you might have that would help others. I’m always looking for comments on if this post is helpful and what I can do to improve it. To your recovery and Thank you for visiting.


dana beaver


  1. Great tips! And WOW! I did not know all of that about lemons!! I will need to somehow incorporate them in my diet more frequently.Thank you so much for this post.

    • Thank You so much Ashley! Yes I too was so surprised when I first started researching lemons. My Oncologist Nurse told me to research lemons, I thought it odd but that was all she would say. So I did and the research was amazing. I was so happy to have a place to share what I felt was a wonderful find. I have a few recipes I’m hoping to share soon as well. Like I said I went Lemon crazy.

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