Breast Cancer Partner Logo
breast Cancer Recovery Though Health and Wellness

Restore Physical Well-Being Nutrition

It's important for you to take very good care of yourself before, during, and after treatment. Taking care of yourself includes eating well and staying as active as you can.

Sometimes, especially during or soon after treatment, you may not feel like eating. You may be uncomfortable or tired. You may find that foods don't taste as good as they used to.  In spite of this, following a healthy diet is important for everyone, or not. But it is especially vital for both during and after treatment.  A healthy diet should include plenty of because it is an excellent source of energy, boosts the and promotes muscle growth and recovery.

A plant-based diet that is loaded with -- plenty of colorful vegetables and whole grains -- is a very healthy option for . , an organization that encourages cancer prevention and survival through nutrition education and research, has research-based evidence that shows that a plant-based diet composed of legumes, whole grains, fruits and vegetables can help prevent cancer and cancer .

, senior nutritionist with , says that, “Women coping with deserve to know that plant-based diets and regular can spell the difference between life and death. In the battle against , fruits, vegetables and other low-fat vegetarian foods may be our most powerful weapons. Doctors must let women know that diet changes and can help them beat this terrible disease.”

’s goal is to improve a woman’s chances of survival after she has been diagnosed by providing comprehensive information about the role of dietary factors in keeping healthy. To achieve this goal, has developed what it calls the “New Four Food Groups,” which are:

  1. Vegetables: 3 or more servings a day
Vegetables are packed with nutrients; they provide vitamin C, beta-carotene, riboflavin, iron, calcium, fiber and other nutrients. Dark-green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, collard greens, kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, chicory or bok choy are especially good sources of these important nutrients. Dark yellow and orange vegetables such as carrots, winter squash, sweet potatoes and pumpkin provide extra beta-carotene. Include generous portions of a variety of vegetables in your diet.
  1. Whole Grains: 5 or more servings a day
This group includes bread, rice, pasta, hot or cold cereal, corn, millet, barley, bulgur, buckwheat groats, and tortillas. Build each of your meals around a hearty grain dish. Grains are rich in fiber and other complex carbohydrates, as well as , B vitamins and zinc.
  1. Fruit: 3 or more servings a day
Fruits are rich in fiber, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Be sure to include at least 1 serving each day of fruits that are high in vitamin C -- citrus fruits, melons and strawberries all are good choices. Choose whole fruit over fruit juices, which do not contain much fiber.
  1. Legumes: 2 or more servings a day

    Legumes -- another name for beans, peas and lentils -- are all good sources of fiber, , iron, calcium, zinc and B vitamins. This group also includes chickpeas, baked and refried beans, soymilk, tempeh, and texturized vegetable .
To help you better understand how these four food groups aid in your quest for cancer prevention and survival, has developed the guidebook. In addition, its is a great quick-reference tool for you to create a diet full of cancer-fighting nutrients and immune-boosting power.  

To help develop your cancer prevention and survival diet, search the .

Following a healthy, plant-based diet ensures that your body gets the nutrients it needs from the foods that provide proper nourishment and enhance your overall health and well-being. Beware, though, of processed foods -- their nutritional value is virtually depleted by the time they hit the store shelves.

Many incorporate nutritional supplements into their daily routine, but don’t rely on them solely to make up for what you may lack from food.  Vitamin supplements do not provide calories, which are essential for energy production. So vitamins cannot substitute for adequate food consumption.

However, there are some key supplements considered important to include in your daily regimen. They are:

  • Multivitamins: Multivitamins are great way to supplement the nutrients that the body is lacking, all in one convenient dose.
  • Vitamin D: This encourages calcium absorption to help build stronger bones. Additionally, vitamin D deficiencies have been linked to health challenges ranging from osteoporosis to cancer.
  • Fish Oil/Omega 3: These reduce inflammation and protect the heart from cardiovascular disease, stroke and heart attack. Fish has also been proven to reduce the likelihood of breast, colon and prostate cancers -- and even Alzheimer’s disease.
  • : is an that has been proven to reduce and minimize the risk of a variety of health challenges, including coronary heart disease and many forms of cancer.
Your nutrition plays a critical role in helping you reenergize after treatment. Fatigue and other lingering effects are more challenging to overcome if you are not eating enough or not eating the right foods.

You will feel better and have more energy during -- and especially after -- treatment if you maintain good eating habits. Consider some of these strategies to improve your nutritional intake:

  • Meet your basic calorie needs. The estimated calorie needs for someone with cancer is 15 calories per pound of weight if your weight has been stable. Add 500 calories a day if you have lost weight. 
  • Get plenty of . rebuilds and repairs damaged (and normally aging) body tissue. The estimated needs are 0.5 to 0.6 grams of per pound of body weight. Example: A 150-pound person needs 75 to 90 grams of a day. 
  • Drink plenty of water. A minimum of 8 cups of water a day will prevent dehydration. (That's 64 ounces, two quarts or one half-gallon).
  • Make sure you are getting enough vitamins. Take a vitamin supplement if you are not sure you are getting enough nutrients.
  • Make an appointment with a dietitian/nutritionist. A dietitian can suggest ways to maximize calories and include in smaller amounts of food (such as powdered milk, instant breakfast drinks and other commercial supplements or food additives).
Following the above strategies and ’s philosophy on the New Four Food Groups can definitely help you your energy and enhance your . Do this, and you will be fit for life!

The following resources provide more detailed information to help you learn more about how to eat for cancer prevention and survival:

For more information on nutrition, go to . You can share your knowledge and experience with other at or start a discussion in our .


Eat Smart Fight Cancer:

Breast Cancer Partner Events

September 29, 2012
'Pamper Me Pink' Breast Cancer Event, Floyd County, IN

September 22 – October 28, 2012
Shine Your Light Bright for the Cancer Fight, San Marcos, TX

September 29, 2012
Pink October Velvet Sessions with Bret Michaels, Hard Rock Hotel, Universal Orlando, Orlando, FL

September 30, October 3, 2012
American College of Lifestyle Medicine Conference – “Treating the Cause”, Orlando, FL

September 30, 2012
Prevent Cancer Foundation 5K Race, Washington, D.C.

October 3, 2012
The Beauty of Caring Event, San Francisco, CA

October 11, 2012
Cancer and Careers Online Event Legal & Insurance Issues to Consider

October 13 – 14, 2012
Lance Armstrong Foundation Live Long Run, Walk, Ride Event, Hallandale Beach, FL

October20, 2012
SASS Foundation 18th Annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day, Uniondale, NY

October 27 – 30
AACR Cancer Health Disparities Conference, San Diego, CA

November 15, 2012
Cancer and Careers Online Event Re-Entering the Workforce After Short & Long Absences


More Events



Click Below to Learn About the
Top Ten Cancer Fighting Foods