Healthy Juices if You Have Breast Cancer

Breast cancer can be hard on your appetite. Whether you’re recovering from surgery or doing radiation, chemotherapy, or another kind of treatment, there may be days when you don’t want to eat anything. You may also have days when only certain foods taste good.

When you feel nauseated, stressed, or depressed, food can lose its luster. Treatment can change the way you’re able to taste and smell, too.

It’s important to listen to your body, but good-for-you food is a form of medicine. It rebuilds healthy cells and tissues, gives you strength, and helps fight infection. Some treatments work better when your body has enough nutrients.

Healthy juices on their own don’t make up for entire meals. But they’re an easy way to work fruits and vegetables into your day.

Juicy Details

Whether you make your own at home or buy pre-made, these juices are loaded with the most benefits:

Beet juice: Often mixed with fruit juice to offset its earthy taste, beet juice has betalains, or plant nutrients that are anti-inflammatory and full of antioxidants. Betalains also give beets their color.

Pomegranate juice: Fruit and vegetable juices that contain pomegranate juice have polyphenols. These naturally occurring chemical compounds have anti-inflammatory properties that can suppress cancer growth.

Orange juice: Acidic liquids may not sound or feel good, especially if you have mouth sores from chemotherapy. Mix it with another juice, like carrot or beet, to get the benefits and avoid the drawbacks.

Work in other citrus juices, like lemon and lime, if they taste OK. Both are good for digestion. But avoid grapefruit juice, which can interact with chemotherapy and certain drugs.

Cruciferous vegetable-based juices: Look for juices that contain vegetables like kale, collards, bok choy, cabbage, or spinach. They’re all in the cruciferous family of vegetables and have loads of vitamin A. They also have phytonutrients, or plant-based compounds known to decrease cancer risk.

Carrot juice: Carrots have beta-carotene, which your body uses to make vitamin A. It’s good for your eyesight, reduces your risk of certain cancers, and can offset some of the side effects of chemotherapy, like white patches, swelling, and ulcers in your mouth.

Try these juice combos:

  • Orange, carrot, turmeric
  • Kale, green apple, beet
  • Beet, carrot, orange, cucumber

Feeling nauseated? Add ginger. This spicy root has compounds that soothe your stomach and intestines. It also absorbs into your body easily.

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All About Balance

Juices are a good way to get your fruits and vegetables, but whole foods are always best. The juicing process strips most of the fiber from fruit.

Juice is also low in protein, which you need more of during treatment to rebuild healthy cells.

To make more of a meal out of it, and to keep your energy levels stable, shake an unflavored protein powder into your juice or pair it with a side of Greek yogurt, nuts, or a peanut butter sandwich.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Sabrina Felson, MD on May 19, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Breast cancer.”

Susan G. Komen: “Managing Side Effects and Supportive Care -- Metastatic Breast Cancer,” “Beta-carotene.”

Yale Medicine: “Perk Up Your Appetite During Cancer Treatment.”

Breastcancer.org: “Healthy Eating During Treatment,” “Expert Tips on Eating Well During Chemotherapy.”

Yasi Ansari, registered dietitian nutritionist; national media spokesperson, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Los Angeles.

UT Southwestern Medical Center: “5 foods containing potentially heart-healthy polyphenols.”

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “The Beginner’s Guide to Cruciferous Vegetables.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center: “Ginger.”

University of Rochester Medical Center: “Ginger Quells Cancer Patients’ Nausea From Chemotherapy.”

OncoLink: “Protein Needs During Cancer Treatment.”

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