Many people make changes to their diet after a cancer diagnosis as a way of staying as healthy as possible. They may also do this to help their body cope with the effects of cancer and its treatments. The most important changes people can make for their health are:
- giving up smoking
- increasing physical activity
- eating a balanced diet
- maintaining a healthy weight.
For most people, making these types of changes will make the biggest difference to their health. They can be more helpful than making any one particular change.
People often ask their doctor about ‘superfoods’ or foods that boost the immune system. But there isn’t any medical evidence that suggests these work. Eating a wide range of foods that have the vitamins and minerals your body needs will have the most benefit.
There still isn’t enough clear information to make exact recommendations about what someone with cancer should eat. This is because each person’s needs are different. In general, cancer experts recommend following a healthy, balanced diet. Your healthcare team (this includes your GP, doctors, nurses and dietitian) are the best people to advise you what lifestyle changes you could make that may help.
We have more information about healthy eating and cancer, including a useful video with tips for healthy eating.
If you are underweight or find it difficult to eat enough to maintain your weight, then following a healthy eating diet is not recommended. Ask your doctor to refer you to a dietitian for specific advice.