If you’re undergoing cancer treatment, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet. But you may be wondering which foods provide the most nutrients or which foods will help ease the side effects from treatment.
We spoke with senior clinical dietitian Chelsea Ebrus, who shared healthy foods to eat during cancer treatment.
A plant-based diet is best
A plant-based diet is not only recommended to help reduce your cancer risk; it also has benefits during cancer treatment. Be sure to ask your doctor and dietitian if a plant-based diet is appropriate for your specific situation.
Plant-based means that most of the foods you consume will come from plants. This includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, seeds and nuts.
“Plant foods with antioxidants and phytonutrients are especially good,” says Ebrus. “Phytonutrients are chemical compounds found in plant foods that have potential benefits to the body.”
Foods high in phytonutrients tend to be colorful, like the colors of the rainbow. Some examples are blueberries, red grapes and eggplant.
Healthy fats help reduce inflammation in the body. You can get healthy fats by consuming foods, such as avocado, olive oil, cashews and walnuts.
Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower are recommended, and stone fruits, such as peaches, plums and nectarines, are healthy options as well.
“We also recommend eating some lean animal protein, such as chicken, fish and turkey as well as plant-based proteins like beans, lentils and tofu,” says Ebrus. “Protein helps you keep your muscle during cancer treatment, a time when you’re at an increased risk for losing muscle.”