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Cancer and Cholesterol

Cancer and Cholesterol - How to Eat if You Have Cancer and High Cholesterol


Updated January 03, 2011

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Cancer and cholesterol are two conditions that are both influenced by diet. If you have high cholesterol and are actively undergoing cancer treatment, such as radiation or chemotherapy, your priority should be to follow the dietary guidelines for cancer treatment. These will be provided to you by your health care team.

Loss of appetite, taste changes, nausea and gastrointestinal side effects are common during cancer treatment. Eating enough calories to meet your body's needs can be a challenge. Creamy, cold foods and beverages are often better tolerated than solid, hot, or room temperature foods during your treatment.

Foods to Include

Monounsaturated Fats Selecting "good" fats like natural peanut butter and olive oil can help you meet your body's energy needs by providing high-calorie monounsaturated fats, which are also helpful for your cholesterol levels.

Tip: Try making a high-calorie Peanut Butter Smoothie, or spread peanut butter on whole wheat crackers as a snack.

Fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can aid digestion (insoluble fiber), as well as promote healthy cholesterol levels (soluble fiber).

Tip: Try a Fresh Fruit Smoothie for another easy way to add calories and nutrients. Experiment with different fruits. If a certain fruit does not appeal to you, keep trying until you find one that you can tolerate.

Tip: Keep Moderation in Mind Sometimes patients with cancer and/or high cholesterol are convinced to try "mega-doses" of dietary supplements in hopes of treating their conditions due to advertising claims that they have heard. Keep in mind that large doses of dietary supplements such as vitamins and minerals can actually be harmful to you, because they can undo the work of chemotherapy, which uses free radicals (also called "oxidants") to kill cancer cells. Tell your doctor about any dietary supplements you may be taking.

Always be sure to consult your health care team for specific recommendations.

This information does not replace the advice of your doctor.

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