Home > All Blogs > Nutritional Strategies for Stomach Cancer Patients

Nutritional Strategies for Stomach Cancer Patients


Diet and nutrition play a crucial role in cancer treatment and recovery. For stomach cancer patients undergoing therapy like chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation the effect of diet and nutrition can have an even greater impact on treatment outcomes and quality of life. The process of diagnosis and treatment is physically and emotionally taxing as the body works to combat the disease.

During this time, stomach cancer patients must focus on fueling their bodies with nutrients that promote healing while also managing some of the difficult side effects of treatment like nausea, loss of appetite, taste changes and digestive issues.

In this post, we will explore different nutritional strategies and dietary modifications that research shows may help support stomach cancer patients through their treatment journey. Our aim is provide you with practical and science-backed recommendations to support your health and recovery, helping you to feel as energized and nourished as possible during this challenging time.

Changes happening in your body during cancer treatment

During the treatment of stomach cancer, your body undergoes several changes that can affect your daily life and dietary habits. Chemotherapy and radiation therapies, whilst targeting the cancer cells, can also damage healthy cells. This can lead to side effects such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and changes in taste or smell, making it difficult for you to eat normally.

Surgery may result in a reduced size of the stomach or removal of part or all of the stomach, which can impact your ability to eat large meals or certain types of foods. This may also lead to difficulty in digesting food and absorbing nutrients, necessitating modifications in diet and eating habits. Additionally, emotional stress during this period can further exacerbate these issues.

Understanding these changes can play a crucial role in planning and implementing effective nutritional strategies that can help manage these side effects, maintain your weight and strength, and enhance your body’s ability to recover.

Need help? Talk to Our Cancer Surgeon

Get the Most Effective Cancer Treatment in India by Consulting Dr. Nilesh Chordiya, One of the best stomach cancer surgeon in Mumbai.

Choose foods high in protein and nutrients

Protein is a fundamental building block for our bodies, playing a pivotal role in tissue repair and recovery, particularly after rigorous treatments such as surgery or chemotherapy. It supports the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, which is often compromised in cancer patients due to the disease itself or as a side effect of treatment.

Furthermore, protein acts as a key player in our immune system, aiding in the production of antibodies to combat infections and promote healing. Therefore, incorporating high-protein foods into the diet of a stomach cancer patient can significantly support their recovery and overall wellbeing

Include Lean Proteins

Lean proteins, such as fish, poultry, beans, lentils, nuts, and nut butters, are highly recommended for stomach cancer patients. These sources of protein are not only low in saturated fat, but they also provide essential nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids in fish, and fibre in beans and lentils.

Fish like salmon and mackerel, and white meats like chicken and turkey, are excellent choices. Legumes like beans and lentils, and nutrient-dense foods like nuts and nut butters, are valuable vegetarian protein sources. Including these lean proteins in your diet can help maintain muscle mass and energy levels throughout your treatment journey.

Minimize Acid and Irritants

For stomach cancer patients, managing dietary intake to minimise irritation to the stomach lining is crucial. Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits and tomatoes, can heighten discomfort by irritating the stomach lining. Therefore, it’s advisable to avoid these types of foods. Similarly, spicy foods can also cause irritation and should be consumed in moderation.

Carbonated beverages, known to cause bloating and discomfort, should also be limited. Balancing your diet with soothing and easy-to-digest foods can significantly enhance your comfort and wellbeing during treatment and recovery.

Eat Smaller, More Frequent Meals

Eating smaller but more frequent meals can aid digestion and absorption of nutrients for stomach cancer patients. This approach places less stress on the stomach compared to consuming three large meals a day.

Ideally, aim to schedule six small meals throughout the day. This can make the digestive process smoother and may reduce the discomfort and bloating associated with eating larger meals. It also allows the body more opportunities to absorb the essential nutrients it needs, supporting healing and recovery. Remember, it’s not just about what you eat, but also how and when you eat.

Drink Plenty of Fluids

Staying hydrated is paramount during cancer treatment. Keeping fluid levels topped up can assist in the prevention of dehydration, which can often exacerbate symptoms of fatigue and lead to further complications.

Sip water regularly throughout the day – this not only helps to maintain hydration, but can also help to soothe the stomach lining and aid digestion. In addition to water, it can be beneficial to incorporate nutrient-enriched drinks into your dietary regimen. Bone broth, for example, is packed with essential minerals and can provide a comforting, easy-to-digest option. Remember, every sip counts towards your overall wellness and recovery.

Enrich Meals with Superfoods

Superfoods introduce an additional nutrient punch to your meals and can significantly promote healing and bolster immunity. Foods high in antioxidants, such as turmeric, ginger, berries, and green tea, are particularly beneficial.

Turmeric, renowned for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, can aid in soothing the digestive tract. Ginger, whilst also having anti-inflammatory benefits, can mitigate nausea, a common side effect of cancer treatments.

Berries, abundant in antioxidants, can help combat oxidative stress, supporting cellular health and stability. Green tea, rich in polyphenols, may have cancer-fighting properties and aids in maintaining hydration.

Incorporating these superfoods into your dietary regimen not only boosts nutrient intake but also adds a variety of flavours to your meals, making the eating experience more enjoyable. Remember, every bite contributes to your overall wellness and recovery.

Try Lactose-Free Alternatives

Dairy products can cause stomach upset for some individuals, particularly those with lactose intolerance. Opting for lactose-free alternatives can help alleviate these symptoms while still ensuring you get the necessary nutrients. Lactose-free milk, yoghurt, and hard cheeses offer similar benefits to regular dairy products but are easier for many to digest. These alternatives are now widely available, making them a practical and simple switch to incorporate into your diet. Remember, choosing the right foods contributes to your overall wellness and recovery.

Ask your dietitian

Before making any substantial changes to your diet, it’s crucial to consult with a dietitian. They can provide guidance tailored to your specific dietary needs and health conditions. These professionals have the expertise to suggest alterations to your diet based on your individual nutritional deficiencies, digestive capabilities, and the side effects of any ongoing treatments. Therefore, always remember to ask your dietitian before making dietary adjustments. Your dietitian is your partner in health, and they’re there to guide you towards the best eating habits for your recovery and overall wellness.

In conclusion,  nutrition plays a vital role in cancer treatment and recovery. Eating a well-balanced diet that incorporates superfoods, lactose-free alternatives, and guidance from your dietitian can help support your body’s healing process. Remember to listen to your body and make dietary changes based on what it needs most.

By making smart choices and being mindful of what you eat, you can nourish your body and improve your overall well-being during and after cancer treatment. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a nutritionist or dietitian for support and guidance on your journey towards better health. With the right approach, you can use food as medicine to help aid in your recovery and feel better every day.

So keep nourishing your body with nutritious, delicious meals, and always remember to ask your dietitian for advice along the way. Here’s to a healthy, happy, and nourished life!

Contact Us

If you have any further questions or would like to schedule a consultation with our experienced cancer specialist, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to support and guide you on your journey towards better nutrition and overall wellness. Let us help you make the most of your cancer treatment by incorporating healthy eating habits into your daily routine.


    About Author

    Dr. Nilesh is a renowned Cancer surgeon/consultant practicing at SSO Hospital, Infinity Media Surge Hospital, and Navkaar Cancer Clinic Mumbai and he is also a visiting consultant at various hospitals in Mumbai, Thane, Dombivali, Kalyan, Navi Mumbai, etc. With over 10+ years of experience, he is highly trained and specialized in performing GI & Gynae cancer surgery procedures from the simplest to the most complicated surgeries.

    Related Blogs