Eating Well at a glance
Eating Well is one of our top-rated practices for improving cancer outcomes. Both conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and integrativein cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care, and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan oncology professionals recommend Eating Well as part of cancer control.
Eating Well by itself will not likely prevent, cure, or control cancer. Like every other therapy or approach included on this website, Eating Well is one component of an individualized integrative plan rather than a stand-alone therapy.
Eating Well may improve your response to cancer treatment and survival. Some large studies show 40% or more lower mortality among those following professional guidelines regarding diet. What you eat can reduce inflammation—making your body (your terrain) less supportive of cancer growth—and reduce your risk of recurrence.
A full description of evidence is in How can Eating Well help you? What the research says ›
Your diet may also affect your quality of life and some side effects, such as these:
Gastrointestinal symptoms, including diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and vomiting
General diet guidelines
Some common elements in many or most evidence-based, prescribed diets:
- Plant-based, whole-foods diets:
- An emphasis on eating mostly food from plants, either with or without small portions of quality animal protein, especially from fish
- Limiting processed and refined foods in favor of whole foods such as vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds and fruits
- Limiting red meat and favoring grass-fed animal sources
In general, these are good foods and beverages to include in your diet regularly, but check with your doctor, registered dietician or nutritionist for restrictions:
- Vegetables, and especially broccoli and related (cruciferous) vegetables, plus carrots, squash, sweet potatoes and tomatoes—which contain carotenoids—and also chili peppers
- Blueberries and other berries, pomegranate, and other deeply colored fruits, such as mango and cantaloupe
- Alliums—garlic, onions, shallots, scallions and leeks
- Plant proteins from beans, nuts, seeds and grains
- Whole grains
- Healthy monounsaturated fats, such as omega-3s fatty acids found in walnuts and wild-caught salmon and sardines
- Edible mushrooms
- Naturally fermented and cultured foods, such as kefir, tempeh, kombucha, sauerkraut, plain yogurt, and kimchi
- Green tea
Avoid red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, highly refined grains, and alcohol.
Reviews of diets
On Diets and Metabolic Therapies: Introduction ›, we link to full reviews or summary information on cancer-focused diets including these:
Paleolithic (Paleo) diet
Words of guidance
Read some words of inspiration and guidance from Michael Lerner, CancerChoices co-founder and author of Choices in Healing.