While no specific foods will cause or cure cancer, some foods have been associated with an increased risk. For this reason, you should consume nutritious meals. Generally, people impacted by cancer or at high cancer risk should avoid (or limit) BBQ meats, alcoholic drinks, processed meats, and deep-fried foods.

Diet is critical since our food choices directly affect our body’s basic functions and physiological processes. It’s important to keep an eye on your nutrition if you’ve been diagnosed with cancer. A cancer patient’s nutrition, physical activity, and exposure to carcinogenic compounds are just a few of the things they need to monitor.

Certain foods can help you manage or reduce cancer symptoms. As a cancer patient, you may not be aware of foods you should avoid or limit. Foods that may promote the proliferation of cancer cells within the body should be removed.

These are the potentially dangerous foods cancer patients must avoid or limit.

Healthy foods
  • Processed Meat 
  • Processed meat has been preserved by smoking, curing, salting, or chemical additives. Processed meats include ham, Devon, luncheon meat slices, salami, and hot dogs.

    According to research, processed meats may be carcinogenic due to specific chemicals found in these foods. Nitrite and Nitrate preservatives used to preserve processed meat have N-nitroso compounds that can increase the risk of bowel cancer if consumed in large amounts.

    Processed meat isn’t required to meet your protein needs. Make sure you load your plate with nourishing pulses (beans, lentils, dry peas), soy foods, and whole grains.  Fish and free-range eggs are great protein sources and quick and easy to eat.

    You can also consume free-range, organic, skinless chicken breast for lean protein while undergoing cancer treatment.

    Protein and cancer-fighting fiber can be found in black bean burritos, tofu stir fry with vegetables, and lentil salad with couscous. You can substitute chicken, turkey, shellfish, and eggs for processed meats if you want to include animal-based protein.

    • Alcohol

    Many of us like a drink or two now and then, some of us more than others. Medical professionals recommend that you limit your alcohol consumption or eliminate it if you’re able. Alcohol is categorized as a Group 1 carcinogen, meaning there is some evidence of its carcinogenicity in humans. A patient who is already diagnosed with cancer is recommended to avoid or limit alcohol.

    Cancers of the mouth, throat, esophagus, breast, liver, stomach, and intestine are most closely associated with alcohol use.

    When it comes to some types of cancer, it is believed that the risk linked with alcohol is dosage-dependent. Occasionally enjoying a small glass of wine with dinner does not necessarily have the same harmful consequences as bingeing on several drinks in a single session. While some studies indicate that drinking red wine in moderation may decrease overall mortality and the chance of developing coronary heart disease and stroke. Generally, those impacted with cancer are recommended to avoid or limit alcohol.

    • Sugary Drinks

    Being overweight or obese increases the chance of developing various cancers, making it critical to maintain a healthy weight. Consuming a well-balanced diet that includes foods from all dietary groups is recommended. Sugary beverages, when taken regularly, may cause weight gain. Cancer patients already experience fluctuating weight patterns depending on their illness and treatment, and they are negatively affected when they consume sugary drinks. Sugary drinks weaken the immune system, and a cancer patient needs a strengthened immune system more than ever. Cancer patients should avoid sugary drinks, especially carbonated sodas. Instead, try sparkling water with berries, herbs, kombucha, or herbal teas.

    • Fast Food

    Large concentrations of body fat are a risk factor for several cancers. It is recommended by the World Cancer Research Fund that people restrict their consumption of fast food and other processed meals that are rich in fat, refined carbohydrates, or sugars. This will help manage caloric intake and maintain a healthy weight. As a cancer patient, you should avoid the unnecessary ultra-refined carbohydrates present in fast food.

    Removing or decreasing the number of carcinogenic foods in your diet helps you maintain a healthy weight and enhance your energy and overall sense of well-being.

    Diets high in fiber (e.g., whole grains, legumes, veggies, and fruit) may help prevent colon cancer from developing. Fibre aids in the movement of food through the gut. A fiber-rich diet high in whole grains reduces the risk of weight gain and obesity, associated with increased cancer risk. A high-fiber, low-fat, or moderate healthy fat diet like a Mediterranean diet low in added sugar is one of the most effective ways for improving your health and wellbeing and can form a part of your cancer prevention strategies.

    • Unpasteurized Dairy Foods

    Dairy food such as milk is one of the few whole foods that include almost all the various nutrients necessary for human nutrition in a single serving. When it comes to cancer risk, dairy foods can be both beneficial and detrimental. However, there is insufficient data to conclude that dairy foods may either protect against cancer or raise cancer risk. It should be noted that there are bacteria present in unpasteurized milk and other dairy foods. A cancer patient should avoid unnecessary exposure to such bacteria, which can worsen their situation, especially if they already have a compromised immune system during chemotherapy. It is best to stick to pasteurized dairy products to prevent unnecessary complications.


    It’s important to keep an eye on what you’re eating and keep an eye on how you prepare your food.  Try to eat more natural whole foods and avoid processed foods as much as possible. Make sure you cook your food well, and it is free from germs and bacteria so that you won’t be aggravating your health condition. Remember, we are all individuals, and different cancer types and treatments may have different impacts. For personalized nutrition advice, ensure you see an Accredited Practicing Dietitian or Registered Dietitian experienced with working with people impacted by cancer for nutrition advice tailored to you.

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