9 Best Fruits to Eat During Cancer Treatment

Eating health promoting food will help you recover faster.

Oct 5, 2020

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Eating healthy is in! In fact, according to celebrities' social media posts, “healthy has become the new thin”. Consuming healthy foods and getting exercise is the key to good health and can help reduce the risk of serious diseases like cancer.

But when we do get sick, and everyone does eventually, eating the right foods can also be the key to recovering faster. 

Healthline said that eating healthy foods is especially important when receiving treatments like chemotherapy to fight cancer. If you or a loved one has received a cancer diagnosis, these nine superfood fruits can bring comfort and nutrition to keep your body strong and bring comfort before and after treatment.

Oncologists at the Cleveland Clinic recommend that cancer patients should stick to the following three principles during cancer therapy, getting enough fluids to stay hydrated (avoid caffeine), eating nutrient-rich foods to stay energized, and to consume more protein to maintain muscle mass.

Since cancer and chemotherapy treatment can lead to side effects like nausea, vomiting, decreased appetite, painful swallowing, dry mouth, diarrhea or constipation, and mouth sores, Healthline suggests that eating a diet with nutritious foods that include fruits will help supply your body with the essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you need. Plus, fruits provide a refreshing food option that patients can digest. 

You can puree fruits into a smoothie, a comfortable option for cancer patients who have trouble swallowing or keeping food down. Consuming fruits rich in fiber can also help with constipation. But, Healthline cautions that cancer patients should also consider current symptoms before choosing which fruits to eat. For example, patients with dry mouth or mouth sores should avoid citrus fruits that will irritate these symptoms. 

Here are 9 super fruits that will provide all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals your body needs to promote healing before, during, and after cancer treatment.

1. Blueberries

Nicknamed the king of antioxidants, blueberries are loaded with nutritional value. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends this superfood for its cancer-fighting properties.  

Rich in: antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, and manganese.
Benefits:helps to fight cancer, reduces DNA damage, good for heart health, and can improve memory. 

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2. Pomegranates

The tiny seeds in pomegranates pack a punch in flavor, but also provide health benefits for cancer patients. Researchers found that drinking pomegranate juice improves memory and increases brain activity in middle-aged and older adults. Pomegranates also have properties that protect against cancer including prostate cancer.

Rich in: vitamin C, fiber, potassium, and folate. 
Benefits: helps prevent cancer, lowers high blood pressure, and is an anti-inflammatory.

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3. Lemons

Lemons burst with a powerful sour flavor and fresh, aromatic scent. They also have tons of vitamin C and lemon extract decreases the growth of cancer cells according to Healthline. Plus, limonene helps fight stress and reduce depression and anxiety.

Rich in: antioxidants, vitamin C, folate, potassium, and limonene.
Benefits: helps prevents cancer cell growth, fights stress, and improves mood.

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4. Bananas

Bananas are a superfood that can be a great aid for people recovering from cancer. Bananas are easy to swallow and contain a host of important nutrients including pectin that eases diarrhea symptoms while potassium replenishes electrolytes lost through diarrhea or vomiting. According to Medical News Today, bananas help to prevent the formation of free radicals in the body that cause cancer. 

Rich in: vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.
Benefits: helps to prevent cancer and aids digestion.

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5. Grapefruit

Grapefruit comes loaded with cancer fighting nutrients. This tart citrus fruit contains lycopene, a carotenoid that can help reduce the negative side effects of chemotherapy and radiation. Also, a study found that the naringenin in grapefruit can slow the growth of breast cancer cells.

Rich in: vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and lycopene.
Benefits: reduces side effects of cancer treatments and can slow the growth of breast cancer cells.

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6. Apples

When people say, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” they aren't kidding! According to lead researcher Francis Raul, PhD, director of the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research in Strasbourg, France, chemicals in apples can help prevent colon cancer in laboratory and animal studies. People who are recovering from cancer treatments benefit from nutrients like fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. The potassium found in apples also improves fluid balance in the body and can prevent fluid retention which is a common side effect of chemotherapy. 

Rich in: fiber, potassium, and vitamin C.
Benefits: helps prevent colon cancer and fluid retention.

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8. Strawberries

This robust red fruit tastes sweet and contains lots of nutrients including vitamin C, folate, and potassium. The soft texture of ripe strawberries eases swallowing after cancer treatment. A study also suggests that strawberries can help prevent the spread of breast cancer tumors. 

Rich in: ellagic acid, vitamin C, folate, and potassium.
Benefits: easy to swallow and may prevent the spread of breast cancer cells.

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9. Cherries

Cherries are rich in polyphenols and vitamin C, which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Cherries are a great anti inflammatory agent and may reduce the risk of several chronic diseases including cancer. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, cherries also contain compounds that relieve symptoms of cancer treatment like pain and headaches.

Rich in: antioxidants, vitamin C, fiber, and polyphenols.
Benefits: natural pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.

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ALLISON MICHELLE DIENSTMAN, CONTRIBUTOR
Working from her laptop as a freelance writer, Allison lives as a digital nomad, exploring the world while sharing positivity and laughter. She is a lover of language, travel, music, and creativity with a degree in Chinese language and literature.