Anyone with a chronic illness, even if it’s not cancer, should eat foods high in protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and vitamins and minerals,” Rajagopal emphasizes. “If possible, make these dietary adjustments before cancer treatment begins so you’ll be healthier going into treatment.
Some of the best foods to eat during chemotherapy or other cancer treatments are plant-based proteins. They offer the highest levels of vitamins and minerals, Rajagopal says. This means eating lots of vegetables as well as beans, legumes, nuts and seeds. If you do eat animal proteins, choose lean options like chicken or fish.
Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats also have health benefits. Avocados, olive oil, grapeseed oil and walnuts are all high in omega-3 fatty acids, which help combat inflammation and improve cardiovascular health.
When choosing carbohydrates, opt for foods that are minimally processed, like whole wheat, bran and oats. These have soluble fiber, which helps maintain good gut bacteria. Soluble fiber also promotes the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which lend a hand to everything from metabolism to cellular repair.
Vitamins and Minerals
“Vitamins and minerals help our bodies’ enzymatic processes, which play a big role in boosting immune function and reducing inflammation,” Rajagopal says. When possible, select foods fortified with vitamin D. These may include milk, orange juice, yogurt and some cereals.