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Fueling Your Body Recovery: Diet Guidelines After Chemotherapy

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Fueling Your Body Recovery: Diet Guidelines After Chemotherapy

Oncology | by CMRI | Published on 16/08/2023


We all know that cancer treatment often comes with various side effects. Hence, people who have had chemotherapy while dealing with cancer must ensure following a different diet. It is important so that they can deal with the side effects efficiently. After cancer treatment, the body requires additional proteins and calories. It is recommended for a cancer patient to include a diet that is well-rounded and is filled with nutrition, whole foods, vegetables, proteins, fruits, and healthy fats. People who have cancer require additional calories than usual and a healthy diet assists in reducing the side effects of chemotherapy. Patients undergoing cancer treatment like chemotherapy must increase their intake of protein and calories. A healthy diet for chemo patients is important as chemotherapy harms healthy cells causing other complications like nausea, mouth soreness, and appetite loss. In this blog, we will explore the significance of nutrition during and after chemotherapy treatment. However, kindly note that the information given in this blog is research-based. We recommend you book your appointment with the best oncologist in Kolkata at The Calcutta Medical Research Institute, one of the best multispeciality hospitals in Kolkata, to gain information regarding this aspect.

Why good nutrition is important after chemotherapy?

Good nutrition is very important for patients with cancer because the condition and chemotherapy treatment impacts the way can tolerate some food items and consumes the nutrition. Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet during chemotherapy can assist the patient with: 

  • Maintaining the nutrients stored in the body 
  • Keeping the energy levels high and strengthening the immune system
  • Reducing the infection risk 
  • Healing and recovery are fast 
  • Ability to bear the side-effects related to treatment 

What should you eat before chemotherapy?

It is recommended to involve a healthy diet for chemo patients even before the treatment begins. One must ensure maintaining a healthy and moderate weight. Before chemotherapy, the patients should eat healthy fats, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, legumes, and whole grains. It is suggested to restrict the intake of added sugars, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods. Eating healthy before chemo assists in reducing the risk of infection, coping with side effects, and receiving treatment without unexpected breaks. 

An individual can involve in preparing the food items before chemotherapy treatment starts. A person can stock the freezer, and cupboards with healthy food items that can be enjoyed before, during, and even after chemo treatment. It is recommended to store the food items that don’t require more cooking or preparing time. Frozen dinners are a great option in such a case. It is also beneficial to cook food in advance and freeze those meals.

What to eat during chemotherapy?

After chemotherapy treatment starts, the body requires healthy food so that it can function at its best. It is vital to get sufficient proteins and calories during this treatment. Food that an individual can include in their diet should be healthier and filled with nutrition. It is recommended to include foods that have health-promoting attributes, colored fruits, vegetables, and food items that are filled with protein. Doctors suggest including snacks like Greek yogurt, seeds, nuts, chicken salad, crackers, and hard-boiled eggs to maintain energy and strength.

What are the best foods for chemotherapy patients?

Patients undergoing chemotherapy treatment might find it difficult while eating and also may have appetite loss. It is recommended that they must try eating at regular intervals, snack as required, and drink plenty of liquid items. Here is what one must include in their foods during chemotherapy treatment: 

  • High-protein foods should be included in the diet. One can include lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and milk products. 
  • Healthy snacking options should be included during chemotherapy treatment. It includes fruit, nut butter, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, and dried fruits. 
  • Healthy fats are a must during chemotherapy which includes avocado, whole milk yogurt, olive oil, and nut butter.  
  • Fiber-rich foods should not be skipped in any way as it one of the healthy foods for cancer patients. It includes lentils, oats, barley, flaxseeds, nuts, seeds, and berries.

What foods should be avoided during chemotherapy treatment?

Doctors usually recommend chemotherapy patients for avoiding food items so that the risk of side effects can be prevented. Another main reason to avoid certain food items is to prevent illness and infection. There are certain foods that can cause chemo-related symptoms like diarrhea, and mouth soreness. Here are the food items one must avoid during chemotherapy: 

  • Raw nuts 
  • Expired food items and drinks 
  • Raw fish and uncooked oysters 
  • Buffet or self-service restaurant food items 
  • Foods showing mold signs such as blue cheese 
  • Remaining food items that are refrigerated for more than three days 
  • Stale foods that are at room temperature for more than two hours

What eating precautions should be taken after chemotherapy treatment?

There are certain eating precautions one must take after chemotherapy treatment. Here are some of them: 

  • Consulting the cancer care team to know about food limitations 
  • Getting in touch with a dietitian to plan a balanced and nutritious diet plan 
  • Including a variety of vegetables and fruits filled with colors like dark green and yellow vegetables including citrus fruits 
  • Including high-fiber food items like whole grains 
  • Restricting refined carbohydrates and sugars in food items and drinks 
  • Including foods that are rich in protein
  • Restricting the consumption of alcohol


Chemotherapy is a treatment that involves a number of side effects such as changes in taste, fatigue, mouth soreness, nausea, and dry mouth. It is essential to be mindful of the food items that should be included and avoided during chemotherapy. Proper nutrition is not only vital for the body but for the navigation of cancer treatment as well. We would recommend staying in contact with your oncologist's if chemotherapy treatment is suggested to treat cancer for you. To know your options, you can book your appointment with a leading oncologist in Kolkata at the Calcutta Medical Research Institute for a better understanding of not only treatment but also your eating habits.



Can I eat papaya during chemotherapy?

Yes, eating papaya during chemotherapy is completely safe as it has anti-cancer properties 

Is rice good during chemo?

Yes, rice can be included in the diet during chemotherapy 

Is coconut water good for chemo patients?

Coconut water is highly recommended for cancer patients for proper hydration and maintaining electrolyte imbalance. 

Can you eat salt during chemo?

It is recommended to limit salt consumption during chemo as it can cause a fluid retention problem