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What foods should people with lung cancer eat and avoid?

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PT Health Life – A healthy diet can help improve overall health, improve energy levels and give lung cancer patients more strength during treatment.

Lung cancer and its treatment can sometimes affect appetite, making it difficult for people to eat a balanced diet .

In severe cases, this can easily lead to asthenia, a condition involving weight loss and muscle atrophy that worsens the patient’s health. Therefore, doctors and nutritionists advise people with lung cancer to create a balanced diet plan to help maintain weight and health during treatment.

1. The importance of diet for people with lung cancer

The diet of lung cancer patients can affect the treatment process and recovery ability.

A healthy diet can help improve the quality of treatment and prolong life for lung cancer patients. Diet plays an important role for lung cancer patients for the following reasons:

Provides essential nutrition

  • Helps the body fight side effects of treatment such as fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.
  • Maintain strength and physical condition, helping patients recover faster after treatment.
  • Supports the immune system , helping the body fight infections.

Improve treatment effectiveness

  • Some studies show that a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains improves the effectiveness of lung cancer treatment.
  • These foods contain many antioxidants that help protect cells from damage caused by cancer.

Improve quality of life

  • Eating a nutritious diet can help lung cancer patients feel better, have more energy, and improve their quality of life.

The best diet for lung cancer patients will depend on the stage of the disease, overall health status, and side effects the patient experiences.

People with lung cancer should consult a doctor or nutritionist for advice on the most suitable diet.

2. Essential nutrients for lung cancer patients

There is no data to prove that eating any food or taking any supplement will help cure or fight lung cancer. However, a diet rich in fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals, drinking enough water, lean protein, carbohydrates, and whole grains can help lung cancer patients feel their best during treatment. When you feel well, you tolerate treatment better, increasing your chances of continuing treatment to fight your cancer.

Some patients struggle with some side effects of treatment such as nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and changes in taste that make it difficult to follow a healthy diet.

Doctors and dietitians will help make dietary adjustments to help people with lung cancer maintain a healthy body weight, control side effects, and help them feel better. Patients and caregivers should consult their doctor before taking any dietary supplement because it may affect treatment.

3. Foods people with lung cancer should eat and avoid

3.1. Foods to eat

The nutritional needs of each lung cancer patient during lung cancer are different, based on the lung cancer treatment plan and side effects, current height, and weight of the patient. Below are some good foods for people with lung cancer:

Whole grains

Whole grains.

Whole grains are richer in fiber and nutrients than refined grains. Furthermore, the vitamins, minerals, and especially antioxidants in whole grains have been shown to reduce the risk of cancer.

In addition, grains such as rice, barley, millet, corn, oats… provide B vitamins and carbohydrates that stimulate the brain to produce serotonin – a hormone that helps the body reduce cravings and anxiety. quiet, uncomfortable.

Cruciferous vegetables

Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, bok choy, and Brussels sprouts contain sulforaphane, a sulfur-rich compound believed to be one of the most powerful anti-cancer agents found in foods. These energy-dense foods also contain indole-3-carbinol, which can help repair cell damage caused by exposure to carcinogens, eliminating damage before it causes cells to mutate and become cancerous.

Spinach, kale, broccoli, and lettuce are all good sources of folate , an essential B vitamin that plays a key role in cell repair. Researchers also found that folate may protect cells from carcinogens in tobacco; Thus, folate intake is beneficial in reducing the risk of lung cancer in current and former smokers. Furthermore, smoking as well as drinking alcohol deplete folate from the body.

Orange fruits and vegetables

Oranges, tangerines, peaches, papayas, red bell peppers, and carrots all contain a natural carotenoid pigment called beta-cryptoxanthin, which has protective effects that help prevent cancer. Specifically, studies have shown that high levels of beta-cryptoxanthin may reduce the risk of developing lung cancer.



Berries such as grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries contain many compounds called anthocyanidins. Dietary delphinidin inhibits the growth of tumors. They limit the growth of tumors by hindering the creation of new blood vessels and affecting the programmed cell death of cancer cells.

Green tea

Green tea has not only been found to play a role in preventing the development of lung cancer, but it is also beneficial for those already living with the disease.

For lung cancer patients, drinking 2 cups of green tea a day can help the body absorb polyphenols in green tea, contributing to its antioxidant effects and preventing cancer. Note that bottled green tea is advertised to contain compounds such as ECGC but at very low levels. Furthermore, some types also contain sugar and other preservatives that are not good for the body.

Dairy products

Dairy products such as milk, cheese, and yogurt provide abundant calcium and protein to the body, helping to strengthen the body’s immune system. Lung cancer patients are often tired and have a loss of appetite, so they are often encouraged to use milk in snack meals to provide the body with necessary nutrients.

Vegetable fats

This is a source of fat that is beneficial for the body, helping to promote the absorption of nutrients and prevent abnormal weight loss in lung cancer patients. In addition, patients should use more cereals, peanut butter, mixed with salad, cereal, and yogurt. Some sources of vegetable fats are very abundant such as olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, avocado oil…

Fatty fish and oysters

Salmon, mackerel and fatty fish are natural sources of vitamin D. Vitamin D is beneficial for lung cancer patients. High levels of vitamin D also increase effectiveness in reducing the growth of cancer cells in the lungs.

Oysters contain high amounts of zinc, which in turn makes lung cancer chemotherapy more effective. Additionally, it is necessary to ensure that the body does not suffer from zinc deficiency as it can lead to a weak immune system.

Stay hydrated

You should drink enough water during cancer treatment to help prevent dehydration and affect the immune system. Patients should drink about 2000ml of water per day. Absolutely avoid drinking drinks containing caffeine. Drinking too much caffeine can lead to dehydration.

3.2. Foods that should be avoided

People with lung cancer should limit red meat, saturated fat, and spicy foods.

Eating a diet low in red meat, processed meat, and processed sugar can help people with lung cancer maintain healthy body weight and blood sugar levels. Both are important for preventing and fighting cancer.

It is best to abstain from alcoholic beverages during lung cancer treatment. Alcoholic beverages such as wine can lead to dehydration, reducing the effectiveness of the body’s immune system.

People with lung cancer should not eat spicy foods, because one of the most common symptoms of lung cancer is difficulty swallowing. Spicy food should be immediately eliminated from the diet because it can easily increase nausea and sore throat. Therefore, spicy foods are not suitable for the sensitive throat of lung cancer patients.

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