The Best Foods for Cancer Patients
Meal planning is probably the last thing on your mind when you’re facing a serious illness such as breast cancer. Yet eating healthy is actually an important part of your treatment plan, says Erin Rossi, RD, who works with cancer patients at the Cleveland Clinic.
“Eating well has physical, mental, and emotional benefits,” she explains. “The foods you consume can give you the energy you need to get through treatment with as few side effects as possible while helping you maintain a sense of well-being and control.” Eating is pleasurable too, and when you aren’t feeling at the top of your game, you’ll do well to treat yourself to delicious and nutritious eats.
With that in mind, put these nutrient-rich options on your plate as often as you can. (Always check with your doctor before making a dietary switch in case a certain food is off-limits because of interactions with treatment or other concerns.) And if you’re a friend or family member of someone with cancer and wondering how you can help, consider bringing over a meal starring these ingredients.
Tomato paste or sauce
Not only are tomato-based sauces high in vitamin C, but tomatoes help mask the unpleasant mouth taste some cancer patients get while undergoing chemotherapy, says Carolyn Lammersfeld, RD, certified specialist in oncology nutrition and vice president of integrative medicine at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Go for plain sauces without spices, which are easier to get down and keep down. (Avoid tomato products if you have mouth sores.)