Meeting Dietary Needs If You Have Lung Cancer
Mar 29, 2018

Tracy Campbell
Core Spirit member since Dec 24, 2020
Reading time 3 min.

The food plan for achieving adequate nutrition in each stage of lung cancer varies depending on the person. If you have lung cancer, your nutritional needs may shift over the course of treatment. You’ll want to work closely with your doctor during to make sure you’re getting proper nutrition and to avoid foods that may be detrimental.

Diet and healing cell damage

Eating balanced meals that include a wide range of healthy foods can help reduce the risk of cancer. If you’ve already received a lung cancer diagnosis, maintaining a healthy weight and diet may become more complex.

Depending on your treatment plan and overall health, your nutritional needs may change over time. Eating nutritious, vitamin-rich food, such as vegetables and fruits, can help heal cell damage. Foods containing lots of protein can also help promote healing.

A good rule of thumb is to eat five servings of vegetables and fruits daily, plus protein with each meal. Complex carbohydrates, like those in whole wheat bread, and other nutritious foods, such nut butters and beans, may also be good choices.

How does treatment impact your diet?

Lung cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation, may have side effects that make it harder to eat. This includes:

mouth sores

tenderness in the throat

difficulty swallowing





a loss of appetite

If you’re experiencing side effects, consult your doctor. They may be able to prescribe a medication to help alleviate your symptoms. They may also be able to make recommendations about which foods you can try during this time.

They may recommend:

opting for a bland diet, especially if you have an upset stomach or mouth discomfort

avoiding tart, highly acidic foods that may irritate the mouth and throat

choosing soft or semisoft foods if your throat is tender or if you have trouble swallowing

supplementing meals with highly nutritious drinks or shakes

avoiding raw fruits and vegetables, and foods that are high in fiber, spicy, fatty or greasy if you’re experiencing diarrhea

a high-fiber diet if you have constipation

avoiding high-fat foods, red meat, and alcoholic beverages

Many people find that eating four or five small meals during the day, instead of three larger meals, is the most comfortable way to meet their nutritional and caloric needs.

It may also help to boil vegetables until they’re soft and to opt for thickened drinks and soups. These can be easier to swallow than thin liquids.

Sipping water between meals or drinking warm tea can help maintain adequate nutrition. This may be important during treatments such as chemotherapy.

Food safety tips

Chemotherapy and other treatments for lung cancer can compromise your immune system. This can make you more susceptible to infections and food-borne illnesses, such as Escherichia coli. Because of this, it’s especially important that any food you eat is free from contaminants.

Do the following to reduce your risk of eating contaminated food:

Wash your hands thoroughly before handling food.

Wash fruits and vegetables, taking special care with leafy greens that may house dirt.

Clean surfaces, such as cutting boards, bowls, and utensils, thoroughly after using them to prepare raw meats. Don’t reuse them to prepare other ingredients until you’ve washed them in hot water.

Don’t reuse any liquids used to marinate raw meat.

Don’t eat undercooked or raw meat, eggs, poultry, fish, or seafood.

Don’t eat undercooked egg dishes, such as poached or soft-boiled eggs.

Don’t eat anything that contains raw egg, such as cake batter.

Don’t drink unpasteurized fruit juice.

Avoid unpasteurized dairy products, such as raw milk, or cheese made from unpasteurized milk.

You should avoid these foods, which may harbor bacteria, contaminants, and mercury:




raw oysters

salad bar items

smoked or dry-cured fishes and meats

raw sprouts, such as alfalfa sprouts

any fish that’s high in mercury, such as shark, or solid white tuna

Meals for you to try Meal planning can help you avoid the stress of last-minute cooking and help you to get proper nutrition. Here are some ideas for meal plans: Blueberry muffins are rich in antioxidants and can make an excellent breakfast or midmorning snack. Spread them with nut butter, and serve them with scrambled eggs for a delicious meal. For lunch, grill chicken and add it to a delicious mixed green salad. This meal is high in protein and vitamins. Give the meal some added punch with a glass of sparkling water scented with lemon zest. For a midday snack, slice up red and green apples and serve them with cinnamon and walnuts for a protein and vitamin power boost. Broiled salmon can be the centerpiece of a nutritious, easy-to-prepare dinner. Consider adding steamed spinach with garlic for more antioxidants and vitamins. You can also drizzle olive oil on high-fiber brown rice or quinoa for a side dish. You should also drink lots of fluids both at and between meals.

The bottom line

Maintaining good nutrition while having lung cancer treatment can be a powerful tool in your overall treatment. It may help you to regain strength and can also give you something to look forward to during the day. Even if the side effects from treatment are challenging, striving to eat right can be empowering.

by Corey Whelan For Healthline

Leave your comments / questions for this practitioner

To write a comment please
Category filter
Concern filter
Type filter

All categories

Nutritional Therapy
$10 USD
coaching session
Nutrition for your Neurodivergent Brain

If you have ADHD or other brain differences you know how challenging it can be to live up to your potential. I can help you gently re-nourish your brain while helping you connect to your intuitive eating wisdom (yes, you do have it!). As a Registered Dieitian with a Master's in Ed Psych and over 30 years of experience with neurodiverse individuals, I can help you reduce anxiety, hyperactivity, fatigue, brain fog, sleep problems and other difficulties.

Sign up for a discovery session to see how individualized nutrition can lead to a happier, more fulfilling life!

*Note: Young people between the ages of 13 and 18 must bring a parent or parents.

Laura May
Mindful Eating
$88 USD
coaching session
Intuitive Eating session

This is a service for highly sensitive people and empaths who are looking to reconnect with their intuition and inner wisdom so that they reach their ideal body weight and feel confident in their skin without dieting or intense exercising.
This is a 1-hour session.

If you are not sure whether this is a good fit for you, I offer a 45 min discovery call which you can use to ask me questions and test our chemistry. If interested, please book your discovery call from my services.


Maria Nikolakakou
Nutritional Therapy
$10 USD
Discovery Call

Whether you’re looking for feeling in control of your life and food habits, making peace with your body and falling in love with it, dropping stress burden, develop toned body, drop some weight or eating healthy everyday, learning to plan and prepare healthy meals for yourself and your family, I’m here to help you every step of the way.
Each of my coaching sessions are designed for you reaching your goals and living your happiest and healthiest life possible.

Book a discovery call and see if this is the right fit for you.

Nutritional Therapy
$150 USD
Nutritional Therapy Consultation

Hi my name is Aria and I am the founder of Heal with Nutrition. I am a registered Nutritional Therapist and a Naturopath who has a passion on Nutrition and Healthy Lifestyle, combining alternative medicine with food.

The key to my success is the holistic approach I offer. My focus is to investigate and address the root cause of imbalances in the body. I can help you understand the importance of nutrition and how it can positively or negatively influence your quality of life. I can support you through your nutritional journey to achieve your goals; these can be weight loss or gain, improved overall health or helping address a pre-existing condition. I can also teach you how to use natural, home remedies to help prevent and treat seasonal illnesses and ailments.

As a mother of 3 feeding my children healthy and nurturing food was my number one priority. Over the years, I have become creative with different food options to satisfy everyone’s taste buds. I can educate you on how to feed your whole family and keep them as healthy as possible.

I love inspiring people and helping them find the right food for them, a regime that will support their individual state of balance and happiness.

Aria Alexandrou

Related Articles

View All
Registered individuals enjoy all the possibilities of Core Spirit.