CSN Login
Members Online: 5

You are here

What food to eat while on chemo therapy

Posts: 135
Joined: Apr 2017

I wonder if there's any limitations on what food to eat while on chemo therapy. Some says avoid red meat, eat vegetables rich in protein since our body needs energy while we're under treatment. Anyone's opinions and advices are appreciated....

Trubrit's picture
Posts: 5422
Joined: Jan 2013

The only thing I suggest (and I'm no professional, just a patient) is keep your sugars down.  You may (or may not) get really sick while on chemo, and lose weight; so its best not to worry too much about restricting foods. I think you will learn pretty quick if any foods upset your stomach, or make your feel (extra) nauseous. 

Play it by ear.  Its always good to follow a healthy diet, ie. fresh fruit, veg and fiber, on your plate and juicing; but in my humble opinoin, don't go to extremes. I could name a few dear friends from the forum, who restricted their diets to the point of it not being any fun, and they still succumbed to this awful disease. 

I'm sure other answers here will contradict what I have said, but thats the name of the game. We all do what we feel is best for our particular situation and life style. 

I wish you all the luck in the world. 


Posts: 118
Joined: Nov 2016

thats what they told me, avoid high antioxidants, it counter acts chemo.

Protein is very important, gives you energy, I find red meat is the best, I loved it, gives me boost of energy.

When I was on chemo/rad back in jan., didnt have much of side effects, tolerated it very well.

Right now on folfox, same thing, no issuess, just a bit weak, get tired fast, no nausea, keepeing active as much as possiblle.

Good luck to you!

abrub's picture
Posts: 2158
Joined: Mar 2010

Minimal green tea; don't overdo blueberries, pomegranite.  They counter-act the oxidizing effect of the chemo, which is how many of the chemos work.  Eat what makes you happy.  Foods may taste different.  Find what you like.

Posts: 163
Joined: Apr 2017

I'm on my 7th infusion of chemo, and from my experience during the past 3 months, eat whatever you can.  The chemo changes everything, it changes your taste, and what you used to eat may not appeal to you.  The bottom line is eat something. 

PamRav's picture
Posts: 306
Joined: Jan 2017

Everyone's different. Immediately after chemo the only foods that I could tolerate were white.  Mashed potatoes, plain rice, angel hair pasta with nothing on it, vanilla pudding, cream of wheat.  after a couple days I would regain my appetite and could eat normallY. so when I feel well I eat as healthy as possible...loads of fruits and veggies, whole grains limited meat etc.  and when I'm in the throes of chemo I eat whatever Im able ..

good luck to,you

Posts: 14
Joined: Feb 2017

There could be adjustment to cope with certain side effects from chemo, but if you follow a generally balanced and healthy diet, it will be alright. Food does not cure but good diet will energize, maintain your weight and carry you through chemo. Sometime chemo changes your taste so you may need a bit of trial and error to come up with what you not only can eat, but also like to eat.

My mom (stage IV; just started Irinotecan plus Erbitux) eats a lot of veggies, avoids fatty meat and sugars. I prepare homemade yogurt for her as daily breakfast or quick snack. I also make fruit juice with a slow juicer for her. She was told to avoid high fibre due to potential diarrhoea caused by Irinotecan But my mom haven't experienced any since the first injection 12 days ago.

As for antioxidants, I am not sure if antioxidants should be deliberatly avoided. It's the first te I hear that antioxidants may counteract with certain chemo. Many fruits and veggies my mom has been eating happen to have some antioxidant properties, but she never took antioxidant supplement. The one and only thing our onc reminded my mom to avoid was tumeric -- he said studies have shown that curcumin may react with Irinotecan.

lizard44's picture
Posts: 409
Joined: Apr 2015

Your taste may change while you're on chemo, but it is  important to  eat a nutritious, well-balanced diet to  help your body keep up its strength during treatment. Your oncologist may have some hand-outs or books with advice on what to eat.  There are usually some  complimentary copies of  books and magazines in  the infusion room when I go for treatment, and  last week there was a new stack of cookbooks: Eating Well Through Cancer: Easy Recipes and Recommendations During and After Treatment, by Holly Clegg &  Gerald Miletello, M.D.  It  has a  lot of information on cancer, chemo,  possible side effects and how certain foods might  allevate or aggravate those side effects. And there are  some great recipes- although   many of them contain more prepared or pre-packaged ingredients than I'm comfortable with.  I'm sure there are many similar books out there. If your  oncologist's office doesn't  have any free copies, your local library may have some  for you to check out before you invest in one.

I found that  keeping a food diary  helped me determine which foods I tolerated well and which ones I should avoid. I've also found that  as the chemo regimens changed, so did the side effects and things that I couldn't eat while on one drug  weren't a ptoblem on another.  My onc told me to avoid green tea  and turmeric when I was on FOLFOX plus Avastin, but the only warnings I've received  about the irinotecan and Erbitux I'm currently on are to avoid St. John's wort and  grapefruit.  It's always a good idea to discuss any supplements you're taking or possible restrictions, with your  oncologist just to be on the safe side.

 Best of luck with your treatment. 


abrub's picture
Posts: 2158
Joined: Mar 2010

Recommendations against anti-oxidants, and other info:  https://www.mskcc.org/cancer-care/diagnosis-treatment/symptom-management/integrative-medicine/herbs/herbs-botanicals-other-products-faqs

nateswife's picture
Posts: 65
Joined: Sep 2016

Eat whatever you want! Enjoy and appreciate having an appetite. Most of my life I've had a love / hate relationship with food, eating, dieting. All that stuff. Now I can only eat tiny amounts (when I'm not nauseous) and food that I used to like doesn't appeal to me. When I'm at lunch with friends who are doing Weight Watchers, I just shake my head and wish they'd put away their calculators. Just live. 

Posts: 220
Joined: Jan 2015

The best advice, ever.


Subscribe to Comments for "What food to eat while on chemo therapy"