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Nutrition in cancer care

Nutrition in cancer care

Things you need to know

  • Staying active is an important way to keep yourself healthy
  • Planning healthy nutrition will help lower the risk of infections
  • Adapting a particular lifestyle might help fight off common side effects that may arise

Why is good nutrition during cancer treatment important?

It is essential to take a healthy and nutritious diet to keep patients healthy. Consuming a proper diet full of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals will help cancer patients get the essential nutrients.

General nutritional recommendations for cancer patients:-

  • Maintaining a healthy weight can help reduce many conditions like obesity and being overweight. Lose weight as per your doctor’s recommendation as losing weight the right way is important during and after the treatment
  • Being active can help you stay physically fit and help deal with the anxiety and feeling of depression during the treatment 
  • Eating healthy entails consuming a wide variety of meals in order to provide your body with the nutrients it requires to fight cancer and help manage the cancer nutrition
  • Proteins, lipids, carbs, water, vitamins, and minerals are among the nutrients that act as a complete package to provide the energy required by the body to fight off the battle with cancer

What key nutrients are important during cancer treatment and why?


Protein is necessary to heal the goo cells damaged during the treatment. It helps in repairing the tissues and maintaining a healthy immune system. Without protein, the muscles might start to lose and disrupt the energy required by the body to function. Cancer patients need more protein after chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery.

Source of protein:

  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Beans and peas
  • Lentils
  • Soy foods
  • Fish
  • Nuts and seeds


Carbs are the fuel to our body and are a significant source of energy. It helps in improving physical activity and enhances the functioning of the organs. 

Source of carbohydrates

  • Fruits 
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy products
  • Natural sugar
  • Cereals
  • Peas and beans


For a healthy body, intake of healthy fats is essential. Fats are broken down by the body and are used to store energy and transfer certain vitamins to the bloodstream. There are two types of healthy fats: monounsaturated fats like avocado, olive, peanut oil, and polyunsaturated fats like sunflower seeds, flaxseeds oil, seafood, and corn. Avoid using saturated and trans fats as they can affect your heart and increase cholesterol levels.

Vitamin and minerals

The majority of vitamins and minerals can be obtained in fruits and vegetables and in vitamin and mineral supplements. Your body will receive enough vitamins and minerals if you eat a diet rich in nutritious protein and carbohydrates.


To increase antioxidants intake, experts recommend eating a variety of fruits and vegetables rich in antioxidants. Avoid consuming antioxidant-rich supplements without consultation.


Q. What are the main objectives in nutrition intervention for cancer patients?

As per NCBI, nutrition intervention for cancer patients helps to detect, manage, and treat malnutrition using nutritional counselling with or without oral nutritional supplements (ONS) or artificial nutrition.

Q. Is cancer related to nutrition or the lack of nutrition?

Each person’s condition is different, and there isn’t any one cause that could have triggered cancer. An individual can do best for himself/herself is to follow a healthy and nutritious diet. 

Q. What cancers are caused by poor nutrition?

Diet high in trans and saturated fat may lead to obesity and may also increase the risk of colon, breast, kidney, and gallbladder cancer.

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