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Three key messages about nutrition and wellbeing after cancer:

  1. Eating well and being active are two of the most important things you can do for your health. You can start making small changes towards wellbeing today.
  2. It is important to eat a wide variety of nutritious foods that are enjoyable, affordable, and fit in with your lifestyle.
  3. There are no foods, supplements or diets that can cure cancer.

Eating well can boost your immune system, increase your energy, help you to maintain a healthy weight and reduce your future cancer risk. Our Wellbeing after Cancer program can provide you with evidence-based resources, helpful tips, and non-judgemental support so you can start making small changes towards a healthier lifestyle.

If you have completed your cancer treatment and are experiencing nutrition issues such as weight loss, diarrhoea, or nausea, it is recommended that you contact your doctor or dietitian for specific advice.

Cancer Council’s Nutrition for People with Cancer booklet provides information about the benefits good nutrition may provide during and after cancer treatments.

Some tips to improve nutrition are:

  • Have the correct portion size.
  • Reduce sugar and salt intake.
  • Limit alcohol.
  • Monitor the fats you eat.
  • Eat two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables per day.

For more helpful tips to improve your nutrition or to create your own personalised meal plan, visit Cancer Council WA’s  LiveLighter website.

Well-balanced nutrition is eating foods from the five food groups including fruit, vegetables, wholegrains, meat and/or protein alternatives and dairy. Most of the food on your plate should be plant foods such as vegetables, wholegrains, and beans. Healthy eating also means not having too many junk foods like fast food, sugary drinks, and alcohol.

There are no special foods or diets that are scientifically proven to prevent or cure cancer. However, you can reduce your risk of developing cancer by following nutritional guidelines.

It is important to note that your nutritional needs can change at different stages of your cancer experience so talk to your doctor or dietitian for specific advice.

Most of the food on your plate should be plant foods like vegetables, legumes, and beans. Fruit and vegetables are low in kilojoules and high in fibre, which make you feel full for longer. This can help you maintain a healthy weight which also reduces your risk of several chronic diseases including cancer.

Eating two medium size pieces of fruit per day is recommended. Eating five serves of vegetables per day is recommended, one serve is approximately 75grams. This is about:

  • One cup of raw or leafy vegetables.
  • Half a cup of cooked vegetables or legumes.
  • Half a potato.

For some great recipes and ideas to increase fruit and vegetable intake, visit Cancer Council WA’s  LiveLighter website.

Many Australians are eating too much junk food and one third of adults are getting their energy intake from unhealthy foods and drinks. Junk foods are packed with sugar, saturated fat, and salt without any of the good nutrition we need such as vegetables, fruits, and wholegrains.

Food to avoid or limit include lollies, chips and fast-food burgers, red wine and other alcohol, chocolate, soft cheeses, processed meats, muesli bars, veggie chips, and sports drinks.

Some tips on how to eat less junk food include:

  • Cook at home so you can control what goes into the meal.
  • Make your portion size small, and fill up on more nutritious foods, especially vegetables.
  • Eat your food mindfully, that is taste and appreciate every mouthful by eating slowly, and not being distracted by other things.

Eating less junk food will be good for your health, your waistline, and your wallet. 

There are lots of myths about food and cancer. Check out the facts on our Food and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page.

The expert content on this page has been informed by Gael Myers, an Accredited Practicing Dietitian whose work focus is on tackling nutrition misinformation and helping people to live healthier lives by eating well and moving more; and Anne Finch, an Accredited Practicing Dietitian working in public health nutrition – specifically, oncology and chronic disease prevention.

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