What is the Best Chemotherapy Diet?

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  • Written By: Sara Schmidt
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 07 January 2020
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A chemotherapy diet consisting of plenty of liquids and healthful foods can help increase health during chemotherapy. People undergoing chemo treatments need plenty of protein and calories for energy. Maintaining proper food handling techniques, temperatures, and other safety measures are important parts of a chemotherapy diet as well.

High-protein foods are generally recommended for chemotherapy patients. These include nuts, beans, and eggs. Some patients may be able to eat dairy foods to increase their protein intake as well. Fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants and easy to eat, such as berries and sweet potatoes, can be helpful to eat throughout chemo treatments.

While eating a chemotherapy diet, the how is just as important as the what. The best chemotherapy diet also takes how much food, when food is consumed, and other factors into account. Since patients often experience nausea, eating should be done at regular intervals with small, healthful meals that can be easily digested. Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables can be helpful for chemotherapy patients.

To ensure proper nutrition during chemotherapy, food should always be well-heated and thoroughly cooked to avoid any possible contamination. Proper cleaning techniques are important for the same reason. Foods that have passed their expiration dates, show signs of spoilage, or are otherwise questionable should not be consumed by people undergoing chemotherapy. Hands should always be washed before handling, preparing, and eating food as well.


Good chemotherapy diet plans should also take into account foods to avoid during treatment. Foods that are hot or spicy should not be consumed while undergoing chemo, as they can aggravate patients, make them ill, or cause irritation to sores that may have developed during treatment. Foods that are high in fats, sugars, and salt should also be avoided, as every calorie counts. Cancer patients need to make sure that the foods that they eat are not empty, but full of nutrients to ensure optimal healing.

Since meat can trigger nausea in many chemotherapy patients, it is usually recommended to abstain from eating meat during chemo. If patients are having trouble keeping all foods down, clear liquids can be gradually introduced until the body accepts them. These may include popsicles, broth, tea, gelatin, and fruit ice. Providing these items instead of water can be helpful in providing the body with at least some needed calories. Some physicians may recommend calorie boosters to be added to drinks or meals as well.


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Post 2

@Iluviaporos - My grandmother had to follow chemotherapy diet restrictions and she had a lot of problems with it as well. We found that she liked eating salmon all right though, and that was what we mostly fed her. She'd also eat thing like blueberries and dry crackers.

It was pretty awful, as she'd always been quite a husky lady, but she started getting quite thin. Eventually though, once it was over, her appetite got back to normal and she even tried to keep her weight down on purpose (not to the same extent of course) trying to see the silver lining in what she'd been through.

Post 1

Honestly when my aunt was undergoing chemotherapy it was so difficult to get her to keep anything down.

One of the things that seemed to do OK was miso soup, which is also quite healthy although it can have a lot of salt in it. Check with your doctor of course, but that helped her a lot.

Mostly though, she found it really difficult to eat and it seemed like a big chore.

We did our best to make tiny, tempting treats within the restrictions of the diet for chemotherapy she was given, but there wasn't a heck of a lot of leeway.

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