I was asked this question by one of my faithful readers and it came as quite a shock to me because he is also a good friend of mine. I didn't even know he had cancer, and neither did he until just recently.
It turns out he has testicular cancer and has already been operated on to remove the tumor, but the cancer has spread so he is going through chemotherapy to kill off the remaining cancerous cells.
It's always a little shocking when one of the healthier people you know who happens to be a few years younger than you is diagnosed with cancer. Especially when you've spent weeks with him in Africa on safari and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro or exploring the back alleys and highways of Cuba with him hoping to discover the Cuba you know must have once been there but you just can't seem to find.
So what foods should someone eat while on chemotherapy?
My very first thought when posed this question was: LIVER! Liver is indeed a super food. I always laugh when I see a new article on the latest superfood, whether it be blueberries or a vegetable. They extol the high amounts of X and Y vitamins it contains, but chances are, if you compared the latest superfood to liver, liver would blow it away on all or most counts. I'm referring to beef liver, but other livers have similar benefits. The key is getting liver from a pastured, grass fed cow, or calf liver if you can't find grass fed. Calves are usually raised on pasture before we stick them in confinement feed lots and fill them full of foods they are not designed to eat.
I also have several articles in my files of the wonders of liver that I sent to my friend. One of them is from 1952 and it is on a bunch of studies done on rats showing how consuming liver has been show to counteract the effects of massive doses of strychnine, sufanilamide, promin, atabrine, dinirophenol, iodine casein, cortisone acetate, among many other bad sounding things. Liver has also been shown to significantly increase rats ability to swim in cold water for long periods of time. It is a potent source of 'unknown nutrients' even to this day.
However, after suggesting liver to my friend in the form of dessicated liver pills from Argentina, he made a very valid point. When you go on a chemotherapy treatment, you WANT it to harm your body, you are asking it to kill your cancerous cells along with some of your good ones as a necessary side effect. You do not want to protect yourself from the chemo, you've asked for this chemical raid on your body to kill off the cancerous cells and then your body will start fresh, building new, non cancerous cells.
While there is a lot of different information out there on the best foods to eat while on chemotherapy, everyone seems to agree the food should be as nutrient dense as possible. Stay away from processed foods and focus on quality fats and proteins.
Best foods to eat while on chemotherapy:
- Non processed meat such as grass fed beef, organic chicken, salmon and other fish.
- Lots of sulfurous vegetables: Asparagus, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, red onions, and kale (Brussels sprouts, broccoli and red onions have cancer fighting properties)
- Bell peppers and hot peppers (hot peppers contain capsaicin which has been proven to kill cancer cells)
- Lots of butter from grass fed cows and different types of cheese (preferably raw)
- Egg yolks (the egg yolks are actually much better for you than the whites and contains most of the nutrients)
- Coconut and organic non-refined coconut oil (coconut oil is very nutrient dense)
- Nuts: Brazil nuts, raw almonds, macadamia, walnuts, hazelnuts,and pecans (Brazil nuts are also good for boosting testosterone)
- Plain full fat yogurt with live cultures
- Fermented vegetables
- Turmeric (use as a spice on foods or take pure, it has great blood purifying properties)
- Green smoothie of parsley and celery, can add some red onion as well (great everyday drink for anyone).
The above is not an all inclusive list but is a very good start.
Foods to avoid while on chemotherapy: (foods everyone should avoid for that matter)
- Sugar and high fructose corn syrup
- Grains, including flour and anything with gluten in it.
- All common vegetable oils
- All processed foods
- Fluoridated water
- Hospital food. The nutritional content of most hospital food is shockingly poor. If you are having chemo done while bed ridden in a hospital try and have food brought in for you.
Get lots of sunshine! Try and get yourself in the sun everyday while on chemo and definitely afterwards. Vitamin D3 has been shown to help prevent many cancers among its many other benefits.
Take enzymes. Now Foods makes a highly recommended one called Super Enzymes. This will help with the digestion of food when the chemo has killed off your natural enzymes.
There is some evidence of a high fat diet being able to beat cancer. Cancer loves to feed on fermenting sugar, when your body is in ketosis there is no sugar for it to feed on. Here is an article in Time discussing this:
Fasting: Once again, fasting shows promise in curing another disease. A paper was published in 2008 by a USC biologist suggesting that short periods of fasting can make non-cancerous cells more resistant to chemotherapy, at least in yeast and mice. Here is the story:
Best of Health,