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Food For Pancreatic Cancer: What To Eat And Not Eat

Medically reviewed by Regina Victoria Boyles, MD · Pediatrics

Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Mar 09, 2023

    Food For Pancreatic Cancer: What To Eat And Not Eat

    No matter where you are in cancer therapy, your diet will be impacted because the pancreas is essential for controlling blood sugar and digesting food. What is proper food for pancreatic cancer patients? What can you eat to aid healing and recovery? 

    Tips for Healthier Eating With Cancer

    Maintain a healthy weight by keeping track of it.

    It is common to have weight loss following  pancreatic cancer diagnosis and starting therapy. The body’s capacity to fight illness and endure therapy can be reduced by excessive weight loss and poor nutrition.

    Remain hydrated.

    To avoid being dehydrated during cancer treatment, drink plenty of fluids.

    Eat little meals frequently.

    Your body will have enough nutrients to endure therapy if you consume little, frequent meals. When dealing with medication side effects like nausea and anorexia, smaller meals are frequently easier to tolerate. Set an alarm to remind yourself to eat five to six meals a day, every three to four hours.

    Eat foods high in protein with each meal.

    What is food for pancreatic cancer? Foods high in protein aid the body’s ability to repair damaged cells and aid the immune system in recovering from disease. The following foods should be included with every meal and snack because they are easy to digest: eggs, baked, grilled, or boiled lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish; nut butters like almond, cashew, or peanut; low-fat dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese; beans; soy products/tofu; and protein bars.

    Think about consuming smoothies or liquid vitamins.

    Sometimes food loses its appeal or becomes difficult to digest as a side effect of treatment. Liquids are typically better tolerated and easier to digest when eating is challenging. Ensure that these supplements are high in protein. Protein beverages, bone broth added to soup broths, shakes made with Greek yogurt or high-protein mils, pureed soups, and smoothies are some foods that could help you eat more calories.

    Pick simple-to-digest meals for your diet.

    Digestion may be impacted by pancreas cancer therapy side effects. Foods that are chopped, mushy, or boiled are simpler for the body to digest. When digestion is difficult, stay away from foods like red meat, pork, and raw vegetables. 

    Select whole grain products that are important.

    The body can get its energy from whole grains since they contain fiber and complex carbohydrates: oatmeal, whole grain bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, bulgur, corn, farro, quinoa, and whole grain pasta.

    Foods with color are best.

    Whole fruits and vegetables are vibrant foods that are packed with antioxidants that can help prevent cancer. Consume at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day.

    Add some good fats.

    Unhealthy fried, greasy, and fatty foods can upset your stomach and raise your chance of developing heart disease. These beneficial fats protect organs, encourage cell growth, and supply energy: Avocado, seeds, nuts, fatty fish, canola oil, avocado, and seeds.

    Limit sugary foods and beverages.

    Foods high in sugar are frequently difficult to digest for people with pancreatic cancer. Foods like soda, cake, candy, or desserts can raise blood sugar levels while frequently offering no nutritious value. Avoid these items and swap them out for high-nutrient ones.

    Keep an eye out for changes in bowel habits.

    Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas are just a few of the bowel habits that might change as a result of pancreatic cancer and its therapies. Inform your medical staff if you notice any changes in your bowel routine. It’s possible that you’ll need to adjust your diet, take other medications, or take extra pancreatic enzymes with meals. These might facilitate the assimilation of vitamins and nutrients from your diet.

    Remain active.

    Exercise can increase hunger and release endorphins naturally, and remaining active may make you feel better and encourage you to eat more. To make eating more enjoyable, converse with loved ones and friends while you are eating whenever you can.

    What Must I Abstain From?

    What are some types of food for pancreatic cancer patients? Some foods may be difficult for you to digest, which could make your symptoms worse. Foods that seem to worsen symptoms like diarrhea or vomiting should be avoided, even for a short time. Also, consuming some foods can raise your risk of pancreatic cancer recurrence.

    Don’t eat these things:

    • Red meat and processed foods are hard-to-digest foods that have also been related to cancer risk.
    • Fried, fatty, or high-fat meals can exacerbate uncomfortable symptoms like diarrhea, indigestion and flatulence.
    • Alcohol and heavy drinking might worsen pancreatic cancer or increase your risk of getting it in the first place.
    • Refined carbs, sugar, simple carbs, and sugary foods or drinks are sometimes difficult for patients with pancreatic cancer to digest. They also contain empty, nutritionally worthless calories.

    What Supplements and Enzymes Should I Take?

    What if it’s difficult to keep down food for pancreatic cancer patients? Your body uses enzymes to break down proteins and lipids. If you need surgery, a portion of your pancreas will be removed. As a result, it will produce fewer enzymes, which will make digestion more difficult. If your body isn’t producing enough pancreatic enzymes on its own, your doctor may advise you to take supplements, which are typically taken right before a meal to help your body better digest the food you’re about to eat.

    If you’re unable to tolerate meals while trying to manage your weight, nutritional supplements could be a great answer. To help you meet your daily nutritional needs, talk to your doctor and nutritionist about smoothies, protein powders, and vitamins.

    There is conflicting evidence regarding vitamin D’s effects at the moment. Fatty cold-water fish like salmon, cod, herring, and sardines are among the foods highest in vitamin D, but sunlight is frequently the best source. Research shows that vitamin D has anti-cancer effects and may be helpful for those with pancreatic cancer. 

    Key Takeaways

    A healthy diet can also help you stay active, engaged, and better prepared to take on cancer and win. The meals you pick can help you lessen many of the most difficult symptoms related to your diagnosis.

    What food for pancreatic cancer is there? Discuss with your doctor and dietician. Together, you may develop a customized strategy that is centered on your needs.

    Learn more about Pancreatic Cancer here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD


    Written by Hello Doctor Medical Panel · Updated Mar 09, 2023

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