Fruits high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber may benefit people undergoing cancer treatment. Consuming more fruit may help with certain chemotherapy side effects, such as fatigue.

Antioxidant-rich foods such as fruit may be beneficial alongside conventional cancer treatments.

Research suggests that people with nutritious diets have an 11–28% lower risk of cancer death than those with less nutritious diets.

Read on to learn about some fruits that may benefit people undergoing cancer treatment.

Cancer resources

To discover more evidence-based information and resources for cancer, visit our dedicated hub.

Was this helpful?
Image of various types of berries in open containersShare on Pinterest
Hanan Isachar/Getty Images

Some research indicates that consuming more fruits high in certain antioxidants is associated with higher cancer survival rates. These antioxidants include vitamin C, α-carotene, β-carotene, and lutein.

Additionally, supporting the body with a nutrient-dense diet that includes fruits may help manage cancer side effects.

Some common side effects of radiation therapy and chemotherapy include:

While a balanced diet may not help with every side effect, the vitamins and nutrients in fruit may help the body stay healthy and fight infection. Fruit also makes for a light snack that is easy on the stomach during episodes of nausea.

Learn about diet before, during, and after chemotherapy.

Citrus fruit such as oranges, grapefruit, and clementines are excellent sources of vitamin C and other antioxidants such as lutein and β-carotene.

Oxidative stress is the imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants help the body fight cell damage from free radicals. The buildup of oxidative stress is responsible for many chemotherapy side effects.

Vitamin C also helps the body absorb iron. This can be helpful for people who experience anemia as a side effect of cancer treatment.

Strawberries are also high in vitamin C.

Additionally, just 1 cup of whole strawberries contains 2.9 grams of fiber. Consuming more fiber may help with chemotherapy-related constipation.

Similar fruits that offer the same benefits include blueberries and raspberries.

Bananas contain many of the same nutrients and compounds as the other fruits in this list, such as fiber and antioxidants.

However, as they are low-acid, bananas may be a more stomach-friendly fruit for people with chemotherapy-related nausea.

Bananas are also a good source of potassium and magnesium, so they are helpful for replacing the electrolytes the body loses from vomiting.

Avocados may be beneficial for helping hair regrowth after chemotherapy as they contain biotin, a vitamin helpful for hair growth.

A medium avocado contains about 1.85 micrograms of biotin, 6% of the daily recommended value. As with bananas, avocados are also a good source of fiber.

Since a weakened immune system is a potential complication of chemotherapy and advanced cancer, it is important to take steps to avoid a food-borne illness.

Raw fruit can carry harmful bacteria. Before eating fruit, a person can help prevent food-borne illnesses by:

  • Inspecting the fruit for any sign of mold or rot and discarding if any is present.
  • Washing the fruit thoroughly before consuming it.
  • Cutting fruit on a clean cutting board to avoid cross-contamination with other foods, such as raw meat.

Doctors can provide additional nutrition advice for people with cancer.

Additionally, it is important to report any side effects of treatment to a doctor. While diet and lifestyle changes can help manage cancer symptoms, they are not a replacement for doctor-prescribed therapies.

Consuming fruits high in antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber can benefit people undergoing cancer treatment.

Nutrient-dense foods may help manage chemotherapy side effects such as fatigue and support the body in fighting cancer.

People with cancer may have weakened immune systems and should take proper food safety precautions before consuming raw foods, such as fruit.