Cancer and Nutrition

Getting proper nutrition during cancer treatment is the best thing you can do to help you feel better and stay stronger. As you may already know, cancer and its treatment can leave you with little to no appetite. It can also inhibit your ability to tolerate certain foods or nutrients. Many doctors recommend a low-fiber diet to help you manage the symptoms and affects of chemotherapy and radiation. Many may not realize the important connection between cancer and nutrition. Below are some tips to help.

Types of food to eat while in cancer treatment

Most doctors recommend a low fiber diet during cancer treatments to help reduce diarrhea and cramping. Below are a few recommendations from the American Cancer Society:

Meats and protein

  • Eggs
  • Fish and shellfish
  • Ground meat (beef, turkey)
  • Lean and tender cuts of meat
  • Smooth peanut butter
  • Tofu

Limited dairy

  • Cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Milk
  • Sour cream
  • Yogurt

Grains

  • Cereal (no wheat or whole grain)
  • Crackers (no wheat or whole grain)
  • Plain pasta
  • Pretzels
  • White bread
  • White rice

Vegetables and potatoes

  • Cooked sweet or white potatoes (no skin)
  • Juices (no pulp or spices)
  • Well-cooked fresh or canned vegetables (avoid seeds, stems and skins)

Fruits and desserts

  • Well-cooked fresh or canned fruits (no seeds or skins)
  • Well-ripened bananas
  • Cookies (no wheat, whole grain, dried fruit, berries, nuts or coconut)

Miscellaneous

  • Condiments (mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, sugar, honey, syrup)
  • Margarine or butter
  • Plain chocolate

Eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day will help your body digest the food more easily. It is also important to remember that low-fiber diets will cause fewer bowel movements and smaller stools, so you will likely need to increase your fluid intake to help prevent constipation. Be sure to drink plenty of water and juice (in moderation, as noted above).

If you’d like to discuss your cancer treatments or learn more about proper nutrition during treatment, call the START Center today at (210) 745-6841 or request an appointment.