Diet for Cancer Patients: Meal Plan and Dietary Changes

Diet for Cancer Patients: Meal Plan, Dietary Changes, and More

One of the methods in cancer prevention and treatment today is looking for a cancer-fighting diet.

The idea that certain foods may help people reduce their risk of developing cancer is not new. During the 1800s, there have been suggestions that there was a direct correlation between diet and cancer.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that nutrition plays a crucial role in battling cancer. The American Cancer Society noted that healthy eating habits may help improve the survival rate of people with prostate or breast cancer.

Understanding alternative and complementary approaches to cancer types, even rare ones like mesothelioma, can help individuals learn about specific treatments’ potential advantages and disadvantages.

It’s best to read helpful information about mesothelioma stages to determine what action to take.

Meanwhile, what are some meal plans and dietary changes that can help improve cancer patients’ conditions? What types of tea can help manage the symptoms of different types of cancer, like mesothelioma?

This article lists and explains ways specific foods, beverages, and eating habits can help improve cancer patients’ overall well-being.

Food on table

Foods and Dietary Habits for Cancer Patients

Here are some foods and diet suggestions that may benefit cancer patients:

  • Boost the body’s intake of cancer-fighting nutrients: Phytochemicals or phytonutrients, which you can often find in plants, may aid in lowering the risk of developing a certain type of cancer.

Phytonutrient-rich foods include fruits and vegetables with vibrant colors, whole grains, and beans.

The following two essential phytonutrients may be helpful for people with cancer.

  • Antioxidants: This phytochemical can help protect the body from damage.

DNA damage in cells typically leads to the development of cancer. This scenario can cause these abnormal cells to divide out of control, allowing them to damage and invade healthy human tissue. 

A few factors that can harm cells include radiation, viral infections, and contact with other substances.

The body’s regular metabolism can also produce oxidants that can damage cells. When protecting and restoring cells, antioxidants may help to reduce these harmful processes.

Dark chocolate, red cabbage, avocados, apples with the peel on, artichokes, tea, coffee, nuts, and grains contain a high amount of antioxidants.

  • Carotenoids: You should intake these substances with a source of fat because they are fat-soluble.

Natural sources of carotenoids include fruits, grains, oils, and vegetables like sweet potatoes, squash, carrots, spinach, apricots, green peppers, and leafy greens.

Most carotenoid sources are highly pigmented, so find naturally red, yellow, orange, or green foods.

Carotenoids contain other compounds, like lutein, beta-carotene, and lycopene. These substances may help to reduce the pervasiveness of heart disease and cancer.

  • Drink Tea: Some beverages like tea may help combat specific cancer conditions.

A study from Europe PubMed Central indicated that green tea may serve as a protective agent against malignant pleural mesothelioma or lung cancer.

Herbal tea may also help lower potential cancer risk factors like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

  • Eat for a healthy weight: When you eat a plant-based diet, your calorie intake is naturally low, which may help you maintain healthy body weight and reduce your risk of cancer.

Obesity is a known cancer risk factor.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reported that obesity could be a risk factor for kidney, colon, and breast cancer.

Magnifying glass with fruits and vegetables

Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Cancer

Here are a few non-standard approaches that may complement standard treatments for cancer:

  • Acupuncture: This complementary therapy may help prevent chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea. While there is no cure for mesothelioma, standard interventions such as chemotherapy may help patients live longer.

However, individuals who undergo chemotherapy usually experience nausea and vomiting after the procedure. 

Research from The International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience journal indicates that acupuncture may help manage or prevent these adverse chemotherapy reactions.

  • Herbs and supplements: Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth or SIBO may be a risk factor for specific cancer types like pancreatic carcinoma.

Alternative treatments like probiotics and herbal medicines may benefit individualized SIBO management, specifically in unmanageable cases.

Mental or emotional distress may significantly lower a patient’s quality of life. Some studies even suggest that severe stress may correlate with poorer clinical results.

On the other hand, you can use stress-reduction techniques to raise your quality of life.

The following are some techniques cancer patients can use to manage their medical condition better:

  • Find out more about your cancer condition and take charge of your health.
  • Prepare for and steer clear of potential stressors.
  • Learn about the most current therapies and treatments based on the diagnosis of your condition.
  • Practice deep breathing and awareness as relaxation techniques.
  • Use the best mesothelioma specialists you can find.

Interest in alternative and complementary treatments has grown in recent years. People diagnosed with various diseases, including cancer, are now considering such options.

Until recently, very few well-designed studies investigated the efficacy and safety of these therapies. 

Anecdotal notes were more available as sources of information. However, this scenario is changing as more experts research in the field of alternative therapies.

Bowl full of food

Many patients who choose complementary or alternative approaches use these options to support their conventional treatment.

Still, some people use alternative therapies as their primary treatment. In contrast, others use them only after their conventional treatment has failed. Most of these therapies are diet- or nutrition-based.

Restoring a compromised immune system struggling to control cancer growth is the main objective of many of these therapies. However, there are divergent views on using immune system boosters during active therapy.

Before starting any form of complementary or alternative therapy, it is best to consult with your physician.

 Choosing the most suitable course of action for your cancer treatment can be difficult, especially if you have numerous options. 

 It’s best if you spent some time learning about the illness and its therapies. 

A crucial step in the process is having a thorough conversation with your medical team about the severity of your illness, the goal of your treatments, any potential side effects, and the anticipated outcomes.

In this challenging time, your network of family and friends is invaluable, and they can help you with some of these tough choices.


  1. The Past, Present, and Future of Nutrition and Cancer: Part 1-Was A Nutritional Association Acknowledged a Century Ago?


  1. Nutrition and Physical Activity During and After Cancer Treatment: Answers to Common Questions


  1. Phytochemicals (Phytonutrients) as Part of Your Cancer Diet


  1. A case-control study on the relationship between food preference and lung cancer and mesothelioma in a rural area with naturally occurring asbestos


  1. Diet in irritable bowel syndrome: What to recommend, not what to forbid to patients!


  1. Body Fatness and Cancer — Viewpoint of the IARC Working Group


  1. Acupuncture for nausea and vomiting: an update of clinical and experimental studies


  1. Alternative Treatment Approaches to Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth: A Systematic Review


  1. Psychological Stress and Cancer

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