Sarah Cannon - January 22, 2021
Woman Preparing Food

From understanding why to avoid certain foods to knowing the meals and snacks that will help you feel your best, here is what you should know about nutrition during your colorectal cancer journey.

The Do’s

  1. Choose protein-rich foods. Protein not only helps the body to repair cells and tissues, it also helps your immune system recover from illness. Try to include a source of lean protein in all meals and snacks. Good sources of lean protein include:
    • Lean meats and poultry such as chicken or turkey
    • Fish and shellfish
    • Eggs
    • Low fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese
    • Nuts and nut butters
    • Beans and lentils
    • Soy foods
  2. Include whole grain foods. Whole grain foods provide a good source of carbohydrates and fiber, which will help keep your energy levels up. Your doctor may recommend avoiding whole-grains and high-fiber foods while an ostomy is in place because these foods can increase output. Good sources of whole grain foods include:
    • Oatmeal
    • Whole wheat breads
    • Brown rice
    • Whole grain pastas
  3. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables offer the body antioxidants that can help fight against cancer. Choose a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to get the greatest benefit, and aim to eat a minimum of five servings of whole fruits and vegetables daily.
  4. Choose sources of healthy fat. Avoid fried and greasy foods. Instead, choose baked, broiled, or grilled foods. Healthy fats include:
    • Olive oil
    • Avocados
    • Nuts
    • Seeds
  5. Stay hydrated. Drinking enough fluids during cancer treatment helps prevent dehydration. Aim to drink 64 ounces of fluid daily, and try to get the majority of your fluids from water. Avoid drinking large amounts of caffeinated beverages, as too much caffeine can lead to dehydration.

The Don’ts

  1. Limit sweets and added sugars. Foods that are high in added sugars like desserts and sweets provide little nutritional benefit and often take the place of other foods that are better for you. Try to limit the amount of sweets and added sugars.
  2. Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Alcohol may contribute to dehydration, can lower the abilities of your immune system, and provides no beneficial nutrients.

For more information on colorectal cancer diet and nutrition, visit Colorectal Cancer Nutrition Guidelines on our website.  

If you have questions about nutrition during the colorectal cancer journey, call askSARAH at (844) 482-4812 to speak to a nurse who is specially-trained to help with your cancer questions or visit askSARAH.