How Do I Choose the Best Liver Cancer Diet?

Foods that support the health and healing of the liver form the best diet for liver cancer.
Bowl of cooked oatmeal.
Tofu is a great source of calcium and a very versatile food.
Cauliflower has cancer-fighting properties.
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  • Written By: Cynde Gregory
  • Edited By: PJP Schroeder
  • Last Modified Date: 22 March 2014
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The best liver cancer diet is one that incorporates nutritious foods that support health and healing, and in particular, foods with a high antioxidant presence. At the same time, a good diet for anyone diagnosed with liver cancer excludes foods that can contribute to the more rapid growth of liver cancer tumors. Dietary and herbal supplements can also be useful in slowing tumorous growths as well.

Some of the cornerstones of a healthy diet, such as consuming lots of fiber-rich fruit and vegetables on a daily basis, are even more important to anyone fighting cancer. Antioxidant-rich produce protects cells against free radicals, and the phytonutrients they contain are detox warriors that help an exhausted immune system regain strength. Pile your plate with broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower; they are proven cancer fighters. Add a splash of color with yellow or orange fruits and vegetables, such as yams, summer squash, and oranges. Be especially diligent to include fruits and vegetables with high vitamin B and C levels.

Purchase fresh, local produce for the best flavor and highest nutritional quality. Avoid produce that looks as though it’s sat around for a while. While canned or frozen fruits and vegetables that are picked and immediately preserved do contain high levels of vitamins, most of these convenience foods are also loaded with salt or other preservatives; anyone with liver cancer should try to limit their consumption.


Fiber, which helps relieve constipation brought on by chemotherapy, is also found in whole, unprocessed grains like brown rice or barley. Adding oatmeal at breakfast or as an addition to meat or bean loafs and any type of legumes provide additional sources of fiber. A sprinkling of ground flaxseed on salads, cereals, or soups can be an easy way to add bulk in a liver cancer diet.

Avoiding highly processed breads, pastas, and cereals is a good idea for anyone fighting liver cancer. Bread and other grain products that are overprocessed are softer and easier to chew; this means the body won’t work as hard to digest them, and you won’t gain the benefits available in their whole grain cousins.

Grains such as quinoa and some legumes do double duty by providing high-quality, low-fat protein. A good liver cancer diet needs to include protein, such as that found in white poultry meat and fish. Tofu, in addition to being a good source of clean protein, can be added to everything from casseroles and soups to smoothies. In fact, recent studies suggest that fermented soy products such as miso or tempeh may not only reduce the chances of developing liver cancer but may actually help shrink tumors.

It’s important to cook proteins by roasting, steaming, or baking. There is enough evidence to suggest that fried foods help cancerous growths proliferate that most doctors caution patients away from not only deep-frying but from sautéing meat as well. Also avoid meats or meat substitutes that have been dried and smoked. Limit lard or other animal fats. Instead, use olive oil to dress salads or add flavor to pastas.

Some beverages are important to include in a liver cancer diet. Fat-free or low-fat milk and antioxidant-rich green tea are highly recommended by many doctors. Pomegranate juice is rapidly gaining a reputation as a liver cancer fighter, based upon a number of recent studies. Smoothies made with sugar-free yogurt and a variety of fruits are another good choice. Smoothies can step in to satisfy a sweet tooth while avoiding processed sugar, which may be linked to more rapid tumor growth.

Chemotherapy and liver cancer itself can rob a patient of appetite, but it’s important to focus on how eating enough of the right kinds of food can help heal. Supplements such as selenium and vitamin E help ensure these essentials are being provided. It’s best to avoid alcohol because drinking even small amounts makes the liver work that much harder. For now, its primary job needs to be getting well.


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