18 Sep 2020

Your nutrition

Your nutrition

Eating well during treatment can strengthen the body’s defenses, promote healing and result in a quicker recovery period

Take control of your diet

If you’re about to go through cancer treatment, you may feel like you have little or no control over what is happening. However, there is one thing that you have complete control over that can make a real difference during your treatment – eating well. Along with physical activity, optimal nutrition can promote healing, maintain strength, and help rebuild those normal cells that have been affected by the cancer treatment.

Proper nutrition is an important part of cancer treatment. Nutrition interventions during cancer treatment will help you:

  • Manage symptoms and side effects
  • Maintain or improve weight and strength
  • Prevent treatment interruptions

Side effects of treatment such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and decreased appetite can greatly affect nutrition status. Researchers have found that people who eat well during their treatment are better able to tolerate these side effects.

For more information about nutrition, ask to speak to a registered dietitian who can help you make changes to your diet. Also try and incorporate physical activity into your routine.

Foods that are well tolerated on treatment

Fruits and vegetables

  • Fresh fruit without the skin, frozen fruit, or canned fruits
  • Diluted fruit juice
  • Tender, well cooked vegetables

Grains

  • Breads and cereals
  • Rice and pasta

Protein

  • Eggs, egg whites or egg substitute
  • Dairy products (some people may tolerate lactose free products better)
  • Nut butters
  • Lean cuts of meat (round or loin)
  • Poultry, fish and shellfish

Healthy fats

  • Avocado
  • Seeds and nut butters
  • Olives
  • Olive, canola or peanut oils

Recommended drinks

Staying properly hydrated is important for everyone – especially those undergoing cancer treatment. Possible side effects of radiation or chemotherapy such as diarrhea, nausea or vomiting can put you at increased risk of becoming dehydrated. The advice below will help you ensure you are getting enough fluids.

  • Aim to drink 8 cups of fluid per day
  • Keep a water bottle with you and take sips throughout the day
  • Drink liquids an hour before or after eating to avoid fullness
  • Drink even if you are not thirsty

What counts as fluid?

Broth, carbonated beverages, fruit juices, Italian ice, Popsicles, gelatin, tea, water, nutritional supplements, children’s electrolyte drinks (such as Pedialyte) and soups can all help to keep you hydrated.

Related articles

What foods should be avoided during cancer treatment

Managing nutrition-related side effects of cancer treatment