Williams Cancer Institute

How to Keep Your Immune System Fueled During and After Cancer Treatment

Immune System Fueled During and After Cancer (1)

How to Keep Your Immune System Fueled During and After Cancer Treatment

A strong immune system could be your first line of defense. In fact, good immune health helps you combat bacteria, viruses and cancer!

You have the daily support of billions of immune cells. But it’s vital that you keep your body (and your immune system) properly fueled.

A cancer diagnosis and related treatment can weaken your immune system. The loss of white blood cells is another factor that can increase your vulnerability for infection.

What To Do?

Lifestyle adjustments are certainly in order and recommended. That said, your first thought might be to make dietary changes, especially in the quality of your food choices.

But will diet build up your immune system? Good question!

The Truth About Food and Cancer

Good nutrition is basic to good, overall health including your immune system. Healthy foods give you necessary energy and protection against illness.

On the other hand, it’s important to realize that food doesn’t eliminate cancer.

According to Carole Lammersfeld, Vice President of Integrative Medicine at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), food can actually help keep unhealthy infections such as colds and flu at bay. She adds that its important to understand that nutrition isn’t a cancer treatment.

This does support the idea that the healthier you are as result of good nutrition the better opportunity your immune system has to fight for you.

Food fuels your ability to

  • Heal and recover faster
  • Feel stronger and have more energy
  • Increase your tolerance for cancer treatment and certain side-effects

Lammersfeld says, It’s important to think of your immune system as just that, a system, not a single entity. There are different things you can eat that will hopefully improve the function of different parts of the system.

  • Stimulate the production of vital antibodies with Vitamin C. Eat oranges, peppers, berries, tomatoes, and broccoli.
  • Increase the antioxidant support of Vitamin E. Consume seeds and nuts.
  • Support your immune system with protein. Include seafood, eggs, lean meat, and beans in your diet.
    Fruits and vegatables (especially orange-colored varieties) deliver Vitamin A to your system. Enjoy carrots, sweet potatoes, and apricots and add kale and spinach to the mix too.
  • Zinc is a beneficial nutrient. Increase your intake with lean meats, poultry, seafood, seeds, and nuts. 1

Feed your body properly and you’ll fuel your immune system. It helps to know that 80% of your immune system is in the mucosal lining of your intestinal tract. Keep it healthy with a proper diet and you’ll give your immunity a boost. 2

Here’s the fundamental truth about food and cancer: Good food is good fuel. And it helps strengthen your immune system’s recovery from the hit it takes during and after cancer treatment.

Reference: Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers, 2023, 5 Ways to Keep Your Immune System Healthy After Cancer Treatment, https://www.rockymountaincancercenters.com/blog/5-ways-to-keep-your-immune-system-healthy-after-cancer-treatment

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