Eric Bakker N.D.March 30, 2022

With cancer, plant-based proteins are beneficial. Veggies, beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds are the best sources of vitamins and minerals. If you eat meat, choose for lean cuts like chicken or fish.


Healthy Diet Can Help Reduce The Risk Of Cancer

In this article we explore what is best to eat when you have cancer, in Part 3 of the cancer series of articles, I’ll have a look at what is good to take in terms of supplements & herbs. Before we go any further, it is important for you to bear in mind, that your doctor or oncologist has had literally no training in understanding how nutrition has any impact on human health. And, would you believe, it was only very recent in history that medical science would accept that a person’s diet had any bearing on their level of health and disease at all.

Reductions of 60 percent in breast cancer rates have already been seen in human diet studies, and a 71 percent reduction in colon cancer for men without the known modifiable risk factors.



Take A Quantum Leap In Your Own Healing

Now here is the first step in treating your cancer: Rule No. 1: Never let anybody tell you about your lack of having a good future. Be careful about what the so called experts say about your chances. No matter how important or qualified this person may seem, you may actually believe this to be true, and that would be a tragedy.

The Opinion That Counts Is The One You Have About Your Own Future

I have seen many cancer patients over the years live well beyond their use by date handed down to them by some medical professional. Don’t be a back seat driver; take control of the wheel yourself. The power is inside you, waiting to be unleashed all along.

In my opinion, every cancer patient would do well to read the book by Deepak Chopra called Quantum Healing This book has the potential to have tremendous impact on your vision of how your mind plays an extraordinary role in the development and progression of your cancer.
Deepak mentions that “thoughts become things” and explains how every single thought in your mind translates into a neuropeptide, a hormone essentially. And these are physical things which have physical actions on your body, good or bad. You program your own mind, and literally control your sickness or health, literally by how you think. If you are told “you only have six months left” you may likely die in six months, you told yourself that’s all the time you have left.

Help Your Body Fight Cancer Naturally

​As a Naturopath, the first thing I think of when someone comes in through our clinic with cancer, is how to strengthen their body and improve their health and diet to the highest level. I look at cancer like any other condition: always improve a person’s general health and well being first. Look at your weak link, and make it strong.
Does your gut play up? do you have problems passing regular motions? Are you eating a less than healthy diet? Do you live in a toxic relationship?  Let’s get this stuff sorted first. Forget about wasting your hard earned money on premium supplements and herbs if you are having take-away foods twice a week, drink wine every night, eat chocolate regularly, have a non-supportive or abusive partner, or even worse, you smoke.
Stop right here please, you need to keep one thing in mind. You have cancer; you need to change your direction. Do it now, you are not a child anymore, and for goodness sakes – become accountable for all your actions. My cancer patients all know this, they are accountable to themselves, and to me as well.
Your natural therapist really should be not be coming out with products to strengthen your immune system and ‘treat the cancer’ at the first consultation. Get your foundation right first, your diet and lifestyle. At the least, try to cultivate healthy habits, it costs you little to nothing and you’ll feel so much better for it.
So let’s get one thing clear from the start, we need to build the host (your body) up first. You are the host, and the cancer is feeding on you. The first line of defence, or ‘’plan of attack’’, is your diet. We are not talking about a weight loss program, about a three week elimination Blood-Type, Keto, Atkins or whatever dietWe are talking about you surviving cancer. This is serious stuff; you must be prepared to do whatever it takes. Not for a day, not for a week, but for the rest of your entire life! If I told you twenty years ago that you would have cancer right here and now, and that there was a 90% chance you could avoid it by changing your diet and lifestyle. Would you have thought about making the change back then? Of course you would. So let’s do it right now, because it can only alter the course of your cancer for the better.
Now, let’s get on with it.

Dietary Changes for Cancer

Reduce or better still avoid the intake of all refined and processed foods.

Highly refined carbohydrate foods such as sweets, cakes, chocolate, pastries, ice cream, lollies, biscuits, soft drinks, sugar, tea, and coffee, in fact, most supermarket foods have to be avoided, many are processed. These ‘’foods’’ are deficient in most vitamins and minerals and cause suppression of the immune system. Shop at your local “Farmer’s Market” for your organic meats, fruit & veges, and your health-food shop can supply you with the rest.
Eat 5 – 6 small meals per day, to reduce insulin secretion and insulin resistance.

 Have no added:

  • Salt – In any form (low salt tamari and miso can be used occasionally).
  • Sugar – Read labels too! 1 teaspoon cold extracted honey or (100% pure) maple syrup per day is okay.
  • Refined Foods (food from cans, packets, sachets or bottles)
  • Tobacco or Marijuana – absolutely, positively, and definitely not!
  • Caffeine – No tea, coffee or chocolate. Use herb teas, coffee substitutes and read labels carefully.
  • Chemical Additives (any foods with colourings, preservatives or flavourings, enhancers, etc.)


  • Fish is the best source of protein, two to four or more servings per week. Meat such as beef, lamb, veal, and fresh pork are best avoided. Why? You will eat this in preference to fruit & veges, besides consuming fat, chemicals and more than you bargained for.
  • Chicken are bred in a closed space so they have the tendency to feed on their own excreta. This is why they re-infect themselves with parasites, and why they are given lots of antibiotics. Insist on high quality free range chicken only, and then only eat small amounts sparingly. It cost a lot, but, what is your health worth?
  • Eggs Free range eggs are allowed in moderate amounts only. (two to three per week.)
  • Processed Meats such as: ham, bacon, frankfurters, sausages, corned beef, and different kinds of luncheon meats
  • have a high fat content and contain preservatives, such as nitrites and nitrates. Avoid them ALL, yuk!.
  • Cheeses Edam, mozzarella and low fat cottage cheese. Limit cheese intake to 50 grams per day. Cheese is often avoided by those with cancer, but small amounts are ok. Like anything else in your cancer diet, absolute moderation is the key.
  • Cereal grains. Eat more of the unrefined whole grain products. These include whole grain breakfast cereal, such as: oatmeal, millet, buckwheat, quinoa, amaranth as well as whole wheat, 100% stone ground bread and brown rice and wild rice. Bran can be sprinkled on top of other dishes and mixed with muffins, soup, etc.
  • Legumes are excellent sources of vegetable protein. They have good mineral and vitamin content. These include: peas, beans, and soybeans (ensure non GMO). (Note: a combination of cereal grain and legumes provides high quality complete protein and can be used in place of meats). Soy milk contains a flavonoid called genistein which has anti-estrogenic effects. It binds with estrogen receptor interfering with the effects of estradiol; this may play a role in inhibiting estrogen sensitive breast tumours. I feel that in cancer cases, soy is quite acceptable, in spite of all the negative publicity.
  • Nuts are high in vegetable protein and are a good source of vitamins and minerals. To be used with discretion due to high fat content. The best nuts are Brazil nuts and walnuts, no more than 20 per day in total, and make sure they are fresh. Stay away from peanuts, cashews, and pistachio nuts.


These vegetables are best ones for reduction of tumour formation, fresh and raw are the best: cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, spinach, green beans, cabbage, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, bean sprouts, celery, turnips, dill, capsicum, okra, squash, tomatoes and all the raw salad vegetables. Vegetables such as avocado, sprouts, wheat germ, beetroot, cherries, mango, papaya, are rich in enzymes should be taken raw every day if at all possible. Use plenty of garlic, onions, red onions, shallots, spring onions and freshly grated ginger in cooking.


You may have all the fruits you like, eat between meals or juice them. Fresh organic, pesticide-free fruits are the best and should be eaten with the peel (thoroughly and carefully washed). Include apples, pears, nectarines, apricots, plums, grapes, strawberries and any other berries, peaches, oranges, grapefruit, rock melon, papaya, mango and pineapple. Cherries contain a special substance which can induce tumour cell death. Bananas are best avoided; they are a suspect allergenic food for some. You may be allergic also to pineapple, trial and error again.

Coffee and Tea

Only (naturally or water processed) coffee alternatives and herb teas are really acceptable and should be taken in
moderate amounts only. (One to two cups per day.) I would recommend you avoid ‘’de-caffeinated’’ beverages.
Avoid filtered, expresso and all ‘brews’, you will soon get used to not craving them every few hours like so many do.

Useful Dietary Additions and Tips In Cancer

  • Sea Vegetables – Eat regularly. You can try nori, wakame, hijiki, dulse  A large variety is available from kelp powder for stews to Nori for salads and rolls.
  • Drinks – Water, fresh juices, herbal teas, coffee substitutes. It is best to have your drinks between meals.          I would like you to drink 30 – 35mls of fresh pure water for every kilogram of your bodyweight EACH DAY.
  • Sprouts – Highly recommended. Alfalfa seeds or Fenugreek seeds in jar. Use 1 kilogram jar, soak 1 Tblsp. seed in water 8 hours, drain through mosquito netting held over jar top by rubber band. Rinse and invert. Rinse and drain 2-3 times daily. Leave on bench away from direct sun. Eat when green tips are showing.
  • Sunflower & Pumpkin Seeds – Can be grown in 1-2 inch deep trays of soil. Water regularly, cut and eat when first shoots open out. Have in salads.
  • Herbs and Spices – Use any of allspice, anise, basil, bay leaves, black pepper (in small amounts), celery seeds, coriander, dill; fennel, garlic, mace, marjoram, parsley, rosemary, sage, saffron, tarragon, thyme, summer savoury. Ginger is very useful if changing to a vegetable base diet. Fresh ginger is also a fantastic addition to your fresh vegetable and fruit juices, experiment!
  • Wheat grass juice – You can buy a juicer for about $90.00. Have a talk with somebody in your area who can supply both wheat grass & juicer. Fresh wheat grass juice is absolutely brilliant for cancer patients.How much wheat grass juice do I need?  Start with about 30mls a day with a small amount of water. As you become accustomed, reduce then stop the water and work up to 150mls of wheat grass juice a day. Your energy level will be very high. Wheat grass juice should be mixed with your saliva before swallowing. Have in small sips one hour before meals. Wheat grass juice is a powerful cleanser and may cause nausea initially, through starting an immediate reaction with toxins and mucus in your stomach. Stay with it, I can tell you, it makes a difference. Green Barley Powder is great too, one heaped teaspoon twice per day ½ hr before meals, if you don’t or can’t do wheat grass.
  • 100 mls. of beetroot juice (raw) should be drunk every day. (At first you may want to dilute this down, and start with smaller doses. (It may cause a little nausea initially, as the high betaine content works on your liver)
  • Freshly squeezed fruit, vegetable juice approximately 6 cups per day. Dilute with water, start first with a 50/50 dilution, and make it more concentrated as your digestive system becomes accustomed to the juices.  The peel of oranges as well as celery seed oil contain limonene which inhibits tumour growth by preventing certain cancer proteins interacting on the surface membrane of cells.
  • Avoid all yeast foods. The cell wall of yeast contains a polysaccharide which has been found to be a potent stimulator of platelet activating factor (PAF). This factor can contribute to the establishment of clusters of tumour cells.
  • Fats and Oils such as almond oil, olive oil, and butter should be used only in moderation. Cooking with monounsaturated fat such as extra virgin olive oil is best. MCT (medium chained triglycerides) oil may also be used — coconut oil used sparingly is ok. Try rice bran oil for a change.
  • Reduce intake of fatty foods particularly pan-fried foods. Totally avoid the deep-fryer please!.
  • Food Allergies: A common problem. Most cancer patients are allergic or intolerant to milk and wheat, because of the compromised immune status. Frequent allergenic foods and possible alternatives in brackets are: wheat (other grains), cow’s milk (goat’s or rice milk) hen’s eggs (duck eggs), chocolate (carob), shellfish, tomatoes, bananas. Avoid allergenic foods if necessary. Often as general health improves, allergies can be cleared.
  • Food allergy testing can be done, or by developing your own sensitivity and awareness. Use your intuition.
  • Check for Food intolerances. You may also have a problem with salicylates or dietary amines, consul with your naturopath. You can have food allergies and/or food intolerances, two different things.
  • Preparation Wherever possible use chemical free produce e.g. organic vegetables, read labels and discriminate. If fruit and vegetables are contaminated, washing in 1% white vinegar helps. (But use organic apple cider vinegar only in your diet.)
  • Preferred utensils – Stainless steel, cast iron, glass, tin, enamel, and earthenware. Keep away from Teflon coated cookware and aluminium.
  • Preferred Cooking Methods – Steaming, dry baking, wok sautéing in water only, boil rice and other grains, bake bread, slow stewing on low heat. Avoid pressure cooking and microwave ovens
  • Food Combining To get the best from your diet and to make it easiest for your digestion some foods combine  well, others not. This aspect of food preparation is like fine tuning, but is worth considering. Again, good books on this topic are available.
  • Menus & Recipes There is not one recipe book which fully expresses my particular approach to cancer and diet. Regarding dietary principles and food preparation, bookshops have a number of good recipe books but many of these recipes require changes; eg. leave out salt etc. They will at least give you a lot of ideas. Careful of the internet, some advice is good, some is ok, and some is down right silly!

Cancer Diet SUMMARY

  • Calories should be but not excessive.
  • Aim for 10 or more servings of vegetables per day, particularly cruciferous and allium vegetables. Try include one fresh vegetable juice daily.
  • Aim for 4 or more servings of fruit per day.
  • Diet high in fibre.
  • Diet has no refined sugar and no artificial sweeteners.
  • Diet has no refined flour.
  • Diet is low in total fat, but contains necessary essential fatty acids.
  • Diet has no red meat, no pork. Animal protein is fresh fish or free range chicken.
  • Diet contains a balanced ratio of omega 3 and omega 6 fats including DHA).
  • Phyto-oestrogens in diet from flax seeds or cold-pressed flaxseed oil.
  • Selenium ~200 μg/day.
  • Vitamin B 12 (methylcobalamin) 1,000 μg/day.
  • Folic acid (dark leafy green vegetables),
  • Vitamin D – 1,000 IU/day supplement, plenty of sunshine.
  • Vitamin E – supplements and/or foods.
  • Vitamin C – supplements and/or foods.
  • Diet rich in antioxidants including α-carotene, β-carotene, β-cryptoxanthin.
  • Diet rich in chlorophyll (green leafy vegetables)
  • Diet rich in fermented and cultured foods, supplemented with probiotics.
  • Supplemented with digestive and systemic enzymes.


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