An unhealthy diet can weaken your immune system, increase inflammation, and interfere with the healing process for cancer.

Eating a healthy diet is always important, but it’s particularly vital when you have cancer, as it can greatly affect your well-being and treatment outcomes.

However, a healthy diet involves more than just eating more fruits and vegetables. It’s equally important to be aware of which foods to avoid for the best results.

When it comes to cancer, diet matters. Research indicates that inadequate nutrition is linked to ovarian cancer and that dietary habits contribute to about 30% of all cancers.

Avoiding the following types of food may help support cancer prevention and better treatment outcomes.

Processed and cured meats

If you have ovarian cancer, it’s a good idea to avoid cured and processed meats such as sausages, hot dogs, and deli meats. Processed meats often contain additives, preservatives, and nitrates, which have been linked to an increased risk of cancer.

In addition, these meats are often high in saturated fats, which can increase inflammation and negatively affect your overall health. Some research suggests that chronic inflammation, which is a long lasting immune response, may play a significant role in the development of ovarian cancer.

Sugary foods and beverages

By limiting sugar intake, you can potentially create an environment less favorable for cancer cell growth.

Cancer cells have a high demand for glucose as a source of energy. Consuming sugary foods and beverages can lead to elevated blood sugar levels, providing a readily available fuel for cancer cells to thrive.

Excessive consumption of foods that contain calories but provide few nutrients can also lead to weight gain. Research suggests that excess body weight is associated with an increased risk of various cancers, including ovarian cancer. Obesity also promotes chronic inflammation and insulin resistance, which can fuel the growth and progression of cancer cells.

Refined grains

Highly processed grain foods such as white bread, white rice, and refined pasta have less nutritional value than whole grains. They also have a high glycemic index, which means they can cause spikes in blood sugar levels similar to those that sugar would cause.

Additionally, refined grains have been stripped of their fiber and nutrients during processing. Adequate fiber intake is important for maintaining bowel regularity, supporting gut health, and promoting satiety.

Trans fats and fried foods

Foods high in trans fats, such as fried foods, commercial baked goods, and some types of margarine, can increase inflammation and lead to oxidative stress, which occurs when there is an imbalance between harmful free radicals and protective antioxidants in your body.

Oxidative stress can cause cellular damage and has been associated with various diseases, including cancer.

Fried foods are often high in unhealthy fats, calories, and added sugars. Frequent consumption of fried foods can contribute to weight gain and obesity, which are known risk factors for various cancers, including ovarian cancer.

Raw fish and shellfish

During cancer treatment, your immune system’s ability to fight off pathogens may be compromised, leaving your body less equipped to defend against bacteria, parasites, and viruses that can be present in raw or undercooked foods, including raw fish and shellfish.

Several studies have investigated the relationship between certain foods and the risk of ovarian cancer.

A 2002 study conducted in China found that women who consumed more animal fat and salt-preserved vegetables had a greater chance of developing ovarian cancer, while those who consumed more fruits and vegetables had a lower risk.

Specifically, women who preferred fatty, fried, cured, and smoked foods were at an increased risk for ovarian cancer.

Some research suggests that a greater intake of coffee and eggs may be associated with a greater risk of ovarian cancer. However, a 2019 review found no significant association between overall coffee intake, caffeine intake, or caffeinated coffee consumption and ovarian cancer risk.

Interestingly, this review found a link between consumption of decaffeinated coffee and a reduced risk of developing ovarian cancer. But more research is needed to understand this relationship.

During cancer treatment, your body encounters various challenges, including the side effects of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.

Proper nutrition helps keep your immune system functioning at its best, which is crucial for fighting infections, supporting recovery, and managing side effects.

It’s important to consume enough calories, proteins, and essential nutrients to provide your body with the necessary energy and building blocks for tissue repair and recovery.

Keto for ovarian cancer?

Consuming animal fat in a typical diet is often linked to a higher risk of cancer. However, a small 2018 study suggests that following a ketogenic diet (low carb, high fat) may offer potential benefits for people with ovarian or endometrial cancer.

Cancer cells rely on glucose and insulin for growth. The ketogenic diet shifts your body’s fuel source from carbohydrates to fats, which makes it harder for cancer cells to get the energy they need. Additionally, ketones produced during fat metabolism can inhibit cancer cell growth.

Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery can cause side effects that have an impact on appetite, taste, digestion, and nutrient absorption.

Consuming smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day may be easier on your stomach than consuming larger meals.

Additionally, eating a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains and staying properly hydrated can help optimize your nutrition and relieve these treatment-related symptoms.

By maintaining a nutritious diet, you can support your body’s strength, manage treatment-related side effects, and enhance your overall quality of life during ovarian cancer treatment.

It’s important to work with a healthcare professional such as a registered dietitian, who can provide personalized guidance tailored to your specific needs and treatment plan.