Eating a balanced diet is especially important when you have breast cancer. Proper nutrition may help your body heal from cancer treatment, which can have numerous side effects such as mouth sores, low appetite, nausea, and vomiting.A healthy diet may help youTrusted Source:maintainTrusted Source a healthy body weightkeep body tissue healthylessen cancer symptoms and side effects of treatmentkeep your immune system strongmaintain your strength and reduce fatigueimprove your quality of lifeIf you’re having difficulty eating enough, use these tips to get more nutrition into your daily diet.
Foods to eatIf you have breast cancer, you’re most likely undergoing chemotherapy, hormone therapy, or are taking HER2-targeted drugs. Your treatment dependsTrusted Source on the type and stage of your cancer. You may also need radiation. Among the different side effects, you may have lost your appetite.Usually, you’ll get these treatments after you’ve already undergone a breast-conserving surgery (BCS), also known as a lumpectomy or partial mastectomy, or a full mastectomy.Coping with the treatments and the physical changes can be hard. Research shows that about 50 percent Trusted Sourceof people with breast cancer have depression or anxiety. Because breast cancer can significantly affect both your physical and mental health, it may negatively impact your appetite.Although it can be difficult, making good food choices can help nourish your brain and body as you keep fighting the disease. We’ve created this guide to help make it easier to eat right.Breast cancer food guideThere is no specific diet that is recommended for people with breast cancer. Your nutrient needs may vary depending on many factors that include other medical diagnoses, your body weight, nutrient deficiencies, medications, and any symptoms that you’re currently experiencing.Your healthcare team, including a registered dietitian who specializes in oncology nutrition, can help you come up with an appropriate eating plan specific to your needs and overall health. The following foods are based on general recommendations to maintain overall health while living with breast cancer:whole, nutrient-dense foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, protein sources like chicken and turkey, fatty fish like trout or salmon, and plant-based proteins sources like lentils and nutsfoods high in healthy fats and protein. If you need to maintain or gain weight, incorporate sources of healthy fat like nuts and seeds, avocados, and olive oil as well as protein sources like eggs, chicken, lentils, and fish. Protein-rich foods are especially important for maintaining muscle mass.blended liquids such as milkshakes, smoothies, juices, or soups for those times when you don‘t feel like eating solid foodshigh fiber foods like whole grains, flax seeds, legumes, vegetables and fruits to treat constipation
Foods to avoidWhen you’re feeling ill from side effects related to treatment, you may only be able to tolerate specific foods. When you’re feeling well, it’s best to follow a nutrient-dense diet full of whole foods like fruits, vegetables, protein sources like chicken and fish, high fiber foods like beans, and healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, and nuts.In certain situations determined by your doctor, you may need to avoid or reduce your consumption of specific foods and beverages, including:Alcohol. Beer, wine, and liquor could interact with the cancer drugs you take. There is also some limited evidence that drinking alcohol may increaseTrusted Source the risk of recurrence and mortality for existing breast cancer.Spicy, crunchy, or acidic foods. These may increase mouth soreness, which is a common chemotherapy side effect.Undercooked foods. If you have breast cancer, you’re at a higher risk of developing infections. Avoid raw foods like sushi and oysters during your treatment. Cook meats, fish, and poultry to a safe temperature before eating them. For similar reasons, avoid raw nuts, expired or moldy foods, or leftovers that have been in the refrigerator for more than 3 days.Trusted SourceRed and processed meat. Mortality risk has been associatedTrusted Source with lower levels of diet quality. Red and processed meats have corresponded with lower dietary quality.Sugar-sweetened beverages. Consuming less added sugar can help you maintain a healthy weight.Highly processed foods and refined grains. A 2018 prospective study found a 10 percentTrusted Source increase in breast cancer risk for people who eat ultra-processed foods.