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Living with colon cancer can cause anyone to take a step back and rethink their diet. According to Cancer Treatment Centers of America, those receiving active treatment for the disease have to eat due to the side effects of chemotherapy, including nausea, diarrhea, or loss of appetite. Many patients have to work especially hard to stay hydrated, well nourished and fully nourished.

Colon cancer is especially difficult because the intestine absorbs fluids and electrolytes. If the organ has to be partially surgically removed, the individual may have a much harder time absorbing the proper nutrition.

Fortunately, experts have worked with patients over the years to develop the best food plans that provide the right kinds of nutrients needed by people with this type of cancer. We consulted with a variety of dietitians to find out what eating habits anyone with colon cancer should follow to stay as healthy as possible.

Those who are at risk of contracting the disease should check out the surprising foods that can reduce your risk of colorectal cancer and adjust their diet accordingly.


In order to get the most nutrients from their diet, people with colon cancer should make sure to get plenty of berries.

“Some of the best cancer-fighting foods are the richly colored berries,” says Morgyn Clair, MS, RDN to healthy mom. “This is due to their high content of antioxidants which can help fight free radicals. Free radicals are the compounds that attack healthy cells, allowing cancerous tumors to grow.”

If you want to boost your berry game, be sure to enjoy the #1 best fruit for your heart, dietitians say.

lemon salmon

Anyone undergoing chemotherapy for colon cancer should try to eat more protein regularly.

“Protein-rich foods are also essential during treatment,” Clair continues. “Protein is important to help repair and build new tissue. It’s also vital for a healthy immune system. Lean proteins are best such as eggs, fish, nuts, and poultry.”

The idea of ​​eating more of anything can be especially hard to digest when you have no appetite, but the right portions can make all the difference.

woman eating salad

“Smaller, more frequent meals can help provide the body with adequate nutrition throughout the day,” says Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LDauthor of The Sports Nutrition Handbook, and member of our advice from medical experts. “For people who might experience nausea or gastrointestinal discomfort, smaller meals may be easier to digest with less gastrointestinal discomfort.”

Eating smaller meals has a ton of benefits, and if you need a strategy to make this style of eating work, check out 18 Easy Ways to Control Your Portion Sizes.

blueberry, banana and spinach smoothie

Even when food seems less than desirable, you can still guarantee that you’re getting the right amount of nutrients through a particular drink.

“If you have a diminished appetite, fueling your body with nutrient-dense smoothies can be a great option,” Goodson continues. “Consider mixing in fruit, spinach, milk, Greek yogurt, and even nut butter to help provide the body with quality nutrition when you’re not hungry.”

If you love smoothies but don’t know where to start, take inspiration from The #1 Best Smoothie to Drink.

oatmeal, berries and nuts

The specific search for more nutrients than normal can also work wonders for people with colon cancer.

“Nutrient-dense foods like fruits, vegetables, 100% whole grains, healthy fats, and high-quality proteins provide the body with the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and plant compounds it needs to help to keep the immune system strong and fight off disease,” says Goodson.

fruits and vegetables

Eating vegetables is always a good decision and people with colon cancer in particular should look for more products.

“The American Institute for Cancer Research states that the best way to prevent cancer through dietary means is to eat cancer-protective nutrients like fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients,” says Trista Best, Dt.P. to Balance One Supplements. “These nutrients are found in vegetables, fruits, beans, grains, nuts and seeds. A plant-based diet increases all of these food sources significantly while reducing foods that can increase the risk of cancer. That doesn’t necessarily mean cutting out all animal foods and becoming a strict vegan, but making plants a staple in your diet.”

quick dinner chicken sweet potato spinach

“Make half your plate of colorful fruits and vegetables,” says medical advice expert Dr. Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDNauthor of Finally full, finally thin. “While there is no magic winner, the key is to vary your colors. Each produce color family contains different nutrients that support immune health. Orange produce like carrots, sweet potato and cantaloupe are rich in the antioxidant beta-carotene.”

greek yogurt

Eating the right types of dairy products can also ensure that people with colon cancer get the right amount of nutrition in their daily diet.

“Include minimally processed dairy products rich in calcium and vitamin D,” Dr. Young continues. “Plain Greek yogurt is great because it’s also a probiotic that supports immune health.”

Colon cancer is especially disruptive to anyone’s typical diet, but with a little planning, those living with the disease can get the right amount of nutrients they need to thrive.