Haywood Fitness: The Importance of Fruits and Vegetables during Cancer Treatment

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Importance of Fruits and Vegetables during Cancer Treatment


Author bio: Kaitlyn Teabo is a writer for The Mesothelioma Center. She combines her interests in writing, cancer research and emerging scientific technology to educate the mesothelioma community about asbestos and its related diseases.

If you have been diagnosed with cancer, one of the most important things to include in your treatment regimen is good nutrition. Whether you are undergoing surgery, chemotherapy, radiation therapy or other cancer treatments, making fruits and vegetables a regular part of your diet can have a significant impact on the success of your treatment.

Many fruits and vegetables contain a number of cancer-fighting compounds that may improve your response to treatment and help you fight off cancer. Incorporating plant-based foods into your diet may also help you manage treatment-related side effects.

Fruits and Vegetables to Eat during Cancer Treatment

Plant-based foods, such as fruits are vegetables, play an important role in the treatment process. Here are some that may help in your fight against cancer:


  • Apples are a good source of fiber, which can help treat constipation, a possible side effect of cancer treatment. They are also a great source of vitamin C — which can help protect against cancers of the esophagus — and phytochemicals that show antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may be directly toxic to cancer cells.

  • Berries such as blueberries, strawberries and raspberries are also a great source for vitamin C and fiber. All berries contain the phytochemical ellagic acid, which may help fight against cancers of the skin, lung, bladder, esophagus and breast by reducing the reproduction rate of cancer cells.

  • Broccoli is rich in vitamins and minerals that may be helpful during treatment. It is a good source of vitamin C, but also a great source of folate, potassium, fiber, magnesium and beta-carotene.

  • Cherries are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C and fiber. They may also help relieve pain, a major side effect of cancer treatment.

  • Corn is a vegetable relatively high in carbohydrates, which may help increase your energy during treatment.

  • Garlic, when crushed, diced or minced, release the anti-cancer agent, allicin, which can block the formation of cancer-causing substances. Garlic may also slow tumor growth.

  • Grapes, especially their skins, are rich in resveratrol, a phytochemical that demonstrates antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may inhibit the growth of cancer cells.

  • Tomatoes contain lycopene, a phytochemical that may help fight against prostate, breast and lung cancers.

Nutritional needs vary from person to person and depend on many factors including the type and stage of cancer and how your body reacts to certain types of treatment. An oncology nutritionist can help you determine the best nutritional plan that is right for your individual needs. Eating fruits and vegetables during treatment is just one of many ways to improve your health during cancer treatment. 

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