One of the keys to surviving the stress, physical and spiritual changes during a cancer diagnosis and treatment is certainly the unconditional support of family and loved ones. Here are some foods to include in your dishes for loved ones with healing foods for cancer care.
Chinese dietary therapy is one of the 5 branches of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), which also includes acupuncture, massage, meditation and herbs. Diet recommendations are based on patient’s whole body and individualized foods plans are prescribed.  Acupuncturists do not treat diseases, they treat the person though there are general dietary recommendations for healing foods for cancer care.
In TCM, every food is organized according to its nature; cold, cool, neutral, warm or hot.  In general, choose neutral and warm healing foods for cancer patients, unless side effects of medications are causing too much heat in the body, then  include cooling foods as well.   Tumors are classified as excess phlegm and dampness in Chinese medical theory, so add foods that dry dampness and transform phlegm.  
Ready for more details about Chinese medicine? Check out our free video, Demystifying Acupuncture.

Foods to Avoid

Fatty, fried foods, concentrated fruit juices, soy, bananas, peanut butter, and dairy are foods to avoid during cancer care.  Other things to avoid are salt, miso and soy sauce.  Salt intake should come from algae as much as possible.   Avoid poor quality cooking oils, refined foods, and anything from a can.

Foods to Include


Fats are widely valued in Chinese medicine whether from oils, nuts, seeds or animal products.  They are yin nature which means they create a sense of security, heaviness and grounding.  They build tissues, help with fluid metabolism and direct nutrients to the nervous system.  DHA (docohexaenoic acid) is an omega 3 fatty acid and may be useful to include.  It is also major structural component of the brain.   DHA levels are increased by eating fish and fish oils, and foods rich in alpha-linolenic acid such as seeds of flax, chia, and pumpkin, walnuts, and dark greens.   There have also been studies regarding another omega 3 oil, flax oil, and its use to complement dissolving tumors.


Shitakes:  These mushrooms are neutral in nature and enhance immunity and have a strong effect against tumors and cancers.   Chines herbalism uses other mushrooms such as ling zhi (reishi), turkey tail and maitake in herbal formulations for cancer care.  Some of our favorite mushroom blends are Host Defense from Fungi Perfecti.
Beets:  Both roots and tops, cleanse the liver and blood, strengthens the heart and spirit.  Also helpful for constipation that often comes along with cancer medications.
Onions and garlic:  Contains the bioflavonoid quercitin, said to inhibit malignant cell growth.
Radish and daikon:  Very cleansing
Cabbage, turnip, kale, cauliflower, broccoli, brussel sprouts- are all recommended by the National Cancer Institute.  They contain dithiolthiones, a group of anti cancer compounds.  In particular, fermenting these foods, like sauerkraut, is particularly useful.


Oats and rye stimulate the flow or Qi and drain dampness (candida).
Millet and roasted buckwheat groats (kasha): Detoxifies
Barley:  Decreased dampness, strengthens digestion.
Amaranth:  Eliminates excesses


Chinese medicine recommends the use of seaweeds to dissolve dampness and accumulations (tumors).  Seaweeds are highly concentrated sources of iodine, which speeds thyroid activity and oxidizes cells.  Because they are high in sodium, they should be used regularly but sparingly.  Avoid seaweeds if digestion is cold (loose stools).


Sprouting foods allows the fats and proteins to be readily available and digestible. They move the Qi of the liver, which is very helpful for detoxification.  Some sprouts to include: mung bean, alfalfa, aduki, sunflower greens.  All spouts should be lightly cooked to avoid loose stools, gas and bloating, as most patients will be dealing with some form of Qi deficiency in their digestion.
For more information, and the source where much of this information is from, consider owning Paul Pitchford’s book, Healing with Whole Foods.
Here are some other references to continue to support your loved one:
Consider an appointment with a licensed acupuncturist near you to discuss healing foods for cancer care. Find a qualified and nationally board certified acupuncturists here.
 Try this simple square breath technique to get started with mediation for cancer care.

This post is not meant to diagnose, treat, mitigate or cure any disease or medical condition. The statements contained in this document have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Please consult your doctor before starting ANY health, exercise or nutritional supplement program and/or before using our products and services during pregnancy, and/or if you have a serious medical condition.
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