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Diet Chart for Cancer Patients

Specific guidelines include the following:

  • Eat at least 2.5 cups of fruits and vegetables every day. These foods should be included with every meal and also eaten for snacks. Consume a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and avoid fruit juices that aren’t 100 percent juice.
  • Choose whole grains over refined grains. Whole grain foods are those made from the entire grain seed. Compared to refined grains, whole grains are lower in calorie density and higher in fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Foods to Limit

  • Limit processed meat and red meat consumption. Processed meats include products like bacon, sausage, and hot dogs, while beef, pork, and lamb are considered red meats. Substitute processed and red meats with fish, poultry, and high-protein non-meats such as beans.
  • Limit alcohol consumption to 2 drinks per day (men) and 1 drink per day (women). One standard drink is the equivalent of 12 fluid ounce of beer, 5 fluid ounces of wine, or 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof spirits.

In addition to these specific guidelines, the ACS advises more generally recommends choosing foods that help you maintain a healthy weight. This requires familiarizing yourself with food labels and portion sizes. For example, a “low fat” food isn’t necessarily a “low calorie” food. High-calorie foods can cause overweight and obesity, conditions that contribute to up to 1/5 of all cancer-related mortality.

Common Cancer Eating Problems and How to Deal With Them

  • The problem: Loss of appetite. The solutions: The timing and duration of your appetite loss should decide how you manage it. Possible solutions include eating a large meal when you feel up to it (no matter the time), eating liquid meal replacements, and eating several, small meals rather than fewer, large ones. Exercise can also stimulate appetite.
  • The problem: Nausea. The solutions: Even if you feel nauseous, it’s a good idea to eat something, as an empty stomach can make nausea worse. Try foods like white toast and plain yogurt that are easy on your stomach. Minimize liquids during mealtime to keep from feeling bloated.
  • The problem: Diarrhea. The solutions: Drink lots of fluids to replace those lost from diarrhea. Replace sodium and potassium with foods and drinks high in these minerals. Avoid high-fiber foods, greasy foods,milk products, and alcohol.
  • The problem: Dry mouth The solutions: Always keep a water bottle by your side to sip throughout the day. Sweet or tart foods and drinks, which stimulate saliva production, can also help. Chew gum or popsicles and avoid alcohol.
  • The problem: Weight loss The solutions: Eat at mealtimes even if you don’t feel hungry. Eat foods like peanut butter that are high in calories. Milkshakes and smoothies can be easier to get down if you don’t feel hungry.


  • Tomatoes, carrots, peas, pumpkin and turnips for vitamins and fibre
  • Tomatoes, tomato puree and parsley (especially good for prostate cancer patients)
  • Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage contain plant chemicals that can convert bad oestrogen into good oestrogen, and hence reduce cancer risk as well as the risk of a relapse
  • Asparagus and Brussel sprouts for their rich antioxidants
  • Bitter gourd for lowering blood sugar levels
  • Green leafy vegetables for calcium and iron


  • Oranges provide vitamin C
  • Bananas, kiwi, peaches, mangoes, pears and strawberries for vitamins and fibre
  • Avocadoes, guava, apricots, figs, prunes and raisins for energy


  • Lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, tauhu and taukwa
  • Dairy products, nuts, dried beans, dhals and chickpeas
  • Fish and soy foods (especially good for prostate cancer patients)


  • Rice, noodles, chapatti, wholegrain bread and pasta
  • Wholegrain crackers, oats, corn, potatoes, beans and dairy products
  • Honey, consumed in moderation for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which may help in preventing infections

Foods to avoid as a cancer patient

  • Deep fried, grilled, barbequed, baked meats since subjecting animal protein to high heat creates carcinogenic byproducts called heterocyclic amines
  • Excessive intake of salt, sugar, and oily foods
  • Red meat and processed meats such as bacon, ham, sausages
  • Preserved foods like pickles, jams, kiam chye (salted mustard green), and century eggs as they contain nitrites which are carcinogenic
  • Minimise alcohol

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