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Dietary Guidelines for Blood Cancer Patients After Treatment
Posted: Jun 14, 2024
Dietary Guidelines for Blood Cancer Patients After Treatment image

On May 30th, as part of HealthTree’s Blood Cancers Webinar Program, oncology registered dietitian Joan Elizondo, RD, CSO, from Huntsman Cancer Institute shared an insightful presentation on nutritional recommendations for blood cancer patients after treatment. Watch the event’s recording or read the summary below! 

Where Do Dietary Guidelines for Blood Cancer Patients Come From? 

The American Institute of Cancer Research (AICR) updates its dietary guidelines approximately every eight to ten years, compiling a vast array of research studies focused on food's impact on various types of cancer. Implementing these guidelines has the potential to improve patients’ immune systems following treatment.  

5 Wellness Tips for Blood Cancer Patients After Treatment 

  • Plant-based eating
    • One core recommendation is to ensure that two-thirds of your plate consists of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and non-animal proteins, with the remaining third or less dedicated to animal proteins. This approach, known as the New American Plate model, promotes the intake of antioxidants and phytochemicals found in plant-based foods, which help support the immune system.
  • Limit red and processed meats
    • Red meat consumption should be limited to 12-18 ounces per week. This includes meats like pork, beef, and lamb. Processed meats such as bacon, sausages, and deli meats should be minimized or avoided due to their high sodium content and nitrate curing process. 
  • Limit processed foods 
    • Blood cancer patients should limit their consumption of processed foods, sugary treats, and fast foods. The guidelines recommend that such foods constitute no more than 15% of one's diet, emphasizing the importance of moderation.
  • Hydration and alcohol intake
    • Staying hydrated is crucial, but that doesn’t have to mean just sticking to plain water. Adding natural flavors like lemon, mint, or cucumber can make hydration more enjoyable. Regarding alcohol, it's advised to limit intake to one drink per day for women and two for men to minimize cancer risks.
  • Physical activity and weight management
    • Regular physical activity is another cornerstone of improving health following treatment. The goal is to achieve at least 150 minutes of moderate weekly exercise, such as brisk walking, where conversation is possible but slightly labored. Maintaining a healthy weight is also critical, with the ideal body mass index (BMI) ranging from 18.9 to 24.9. 

Interested in Nutrition Counseling?  

If you need additional nutrition counseling, contact a registered dietitian on your healthcare team. If you need help finding a registered dietitian, ask your doctor who they recommend. 

Audience Q&A 

During the event, Joan answered several patient questions. Some of these included: 

  • What are your thoughts on fermented foods for blood cancer patients? (Timestamp 29:12) 
  • Do you recommend intermittent fasting for patients? (Timestamp 32:46) 
  • After a stem cell transplant, are there any foods patients should avoid? (Timestamp 57:54) 
  • Do you recommend any superfoods for patients? (Timestamp 1:02:12) 

To listen to these questions’ answers, watch the event recording by clicking here

In conclusion, by consuming a diet rich in plant-based foods, reducing the intake of processed foods, staying hydrated, limiting alcohol consumption, incorporating regular physical activity, and maintaining a healthy BMI, blood cancer patients can increase their chances of improving their health following treatment. 

Interested in Learning More About Blood Cancers? 

Click the button below to watch additional HealthTree webinars and expert interviews! 

Watch HealthTree for Blood Cancers Videos

The author Megan Heaps

about the author
Megan Heaps

Megan joined HealthTree in 2022. As a writer and the daughter of a blood cancer patient, she is dedicated to helping patients and their caregivers understand the various aspects of their disease. This understanding enables them to better advocate for themselves and improve their treatment outcomes. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family. 

Thanks to our HealthTree Community for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia Sponsors:


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