The Cancer Nutrition Handbook

Nutrition and Immunity

Immunity is important for both helping to avoid cancer for coping with treatments. By making wise eating choices you may be able to fortify your natural defenses and handle treatments with ease.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with cancer a nutritionist or dietitian may be able to assist you in making healthy food choices, as each person's nutritional needs are very individual. Make a weekly food and exercise diary and place it on the refrigerator. This way you can monitor your changes in a way that is valuable for you, your family and your health practitioners.


Nutrition and Immunity

The following nutrients are sources of nutrients that your body needs to maintain its immunity:

    Food Source
    Vitamin A Fish liver oils, liver
    Beta Carotene (proVitamin A) Orange, yellow and dark green leafy vegetables including carrots, cantaloupe, apricots, spinach
    Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) Whole and enriched cereals and breads. Lean meat, milk, eggs, liver, dried yeast
    Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) As for B2, and bananas
    Folic Acid Leafy green vegetables, meats
    Pantothenic Acid Brewer's yeast, legumes, salmon, whole grains
    Vitamin C Citrus; fruits, berries, broccoli, bell peppers
    Vitamin E Leafy green vegetables, egg yolk, liver, wheatgerm
    Selenium Garlic, legumes, fish, asparagus
    Iron Liver, peas, egg yolk, asparagus
    Zinc Liver, oysters, soybeans, sunflower seeds
    Magnesium Green leafy vegetables, nuts, seafood
    Manganese Bananas, bran, pineapple, nuts
    Protein Lean meat, poultry, fish, shellfish, eggs, legumes, broccoli, sunflower seeds
    Antioxidants Citrus fruits, legumes, whole grains
    Botanical Factors (Phytonutrients) All plant sources of food including medicinal mushrooms



    This is a vegetable based soup which is high in immune building nutrients. It is easy to digest and makes a filling meal despite being low in calories. It is high in dietary fiber which is supportive of colon health. A diet consisting of 25-30 grams of fiber each day improves the internal regulation of hormones. More than 35 grams may interfere with mineral metabolism and is not recommended.


      1 head of celery
      1 bunch parsley
      1/2 lb green beans
      4 zucchini
      1 lb fresh spinach, beet greens or chard
      1/2 green bell pepper
      1 bunch scallions
      1 large potato
      3 carrots
      1/2 head cauliflower or 1 head of broccoli
      1 turnip/rutabaga
      1 parsnip
      2 cloves minced garlic
      herbs to taste (thyme, oregano, marjoram, etc.)
    Any other vegetables are possible - experiment with seasonal and favorite varieties. Wash, slice, chop or grate all the vegetables into even sized pieces. Place root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, turnip, rutabaga or parsnip) into a large pot. Half fill with water and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Add all of the other ingredients and season to taste. Return to the boil and cook for a further 1-2 minutes uncovered. Cover and simmer for a further 40 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve hot or cold.

    This broth improves with age. Cool rapidly and keep refrigerated or freeze serving sized portions for a quick meal. Make sure you reheat thoroughly and boil for at least 2 minutes when reheating.

    Tamari, soy sauce or Bragg's liquid aminos improve the flavoring.

    You can add more carbohydrate energy by adding brown rice, barley, noodles, canned beans or corn. Serve with hot bread. Serves 3-4 bowls.

    There are many anti-carcinogenic botanical factors in vegetables which help your immune system. This soup is a good way of getting your daily protection. The soup contains less than 1 gram of fat.