Top 5 Foods Cancer Patients Should Eat

The beautiful reds of tomatoes, the protein in chickpeas ... read on for more ideas and insights

by HealthZette Staff | Updated 25 Oct 2016 at 2:15 PM

Healthy foods are often available to Americans — but we are not a nation of healthy eaters.

Eating cranberries reduces your risk of cancers of the breast, colon, lung, and prostate.

On average, Americans consume 126 grams of sugar a day — despite the fact that 50 grams is the recommended dose. We overindulge in fast food and saturated fats, and consume far more alcohol than we often should.

It’s tough giving up the unhealthy things we love.

But the right foods do make a difference, whether that’s in the prevention of certain conditions and diseases, overall health, and weight maintenance — or to help our bodies recover from illness and injury.

Statistics show the most common secondary diagnosis for cancer patients is malnutrition, with 50 to 80 percent of cancer patients experiencing this debilitating condition.

Jessica Iannotta, a registered dietitian and certified specialist in oncology nutrition from New York City, recommends including these key foods in your diet for preventing cancer and while undergoing treatment:

1.) Tomatoes. That beautiful red comes from lycopene, which strengthens the body’s natural ability to kill off cells that are not developing properly.

2.) Chickpeas. Also known as garbanzo beans, these legumes are a great source of protein and are very versatile. They also create fullness, which helps people maintain a healthy weight. Legumes have protective qualities against cancer.

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3.) Broccoli. Full of nutrients, broccoli is rich in phytochemicals, known as indoles, which are particularly helpful at combating breast cancer because of their ability to rid the body of excess estrogen. Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, kale, and collard greens have similar health benefits.

4.) Cranberries. Studies have shown that eating cranberries reduces your risk for cancers of the breast, colon, lung, and prostate. Blueberries, cherries, and pomegranates are also great fruits for cancer prevention.

5.) Salmon. Fatty fish like salmon are rich in vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. Studies show fatty fish protect against adenocarcinomas, a type of cancer. Vegetarians can get omega-3 from flax seeds. Note: Flaxseed oils don't have all the nutrients of the whole seeds.

When you're cooking, using olive oil and lemon juice adds to the flavor while protecting your body from cancer. Olive oil's monosaturated fatty acids prevent inflammation, cutting cancer risk. The flavonoids in citrus have been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and prevent the spread of tumors.

Seasoning things with simple herbs and spices cuts back on the amount of salt, sugar, and fats you need to add for flavorful cooking. Garlic is also known to reduce cancer risk, so add it to your cooking today.

Remember, healthy cooking doesn't have to be expensive or complicated to be delicious.

  1. #foods
  2. broccoli
  3. cancer
  4. chickpeas
  5. cranberries
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  9. tomatoes
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