A woman looks up at a bunch of healthy foods floating above her head

Top “Power Foods” to Combat or Help With Side Effects

Sometimes cancer treatment can result in poor appetite, difficulty eating or challenges with digesting food. Note, there are no “magic foods”. The strategy is to eat and determine how can you cope, be well-nourished, and eat foods that you can tolerate. Here are some general tips to consider when combating the side effects of breast cancer treatment.


Eat foods that have been associated with good brain health including healthy fats – salmon, tuna, sardines, nuts, avocados, oils (olive oil, peanut, canola oil); and healthy carbs – whole grains, fruit, and starchy vegetables.


  • Take medications at least 30 minutes before plan to eat
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals approximately every 2 hours - try not to overfill or letting the stomach get too empty
  • Stay hydrated and rehydrate after vomiting - water or sports drinks are good options)
  • Avoid foods that are high in fat


  • Cooked foods are easier to digest than raw - e.g., nuts can be hard to digest but peanut butter would be better tolerated than nuts, mashed potatoes than french fries, cooked greens as opposed to a salad
  • Avoid carbonated beverages
  • Avoid greasy or high-fat foods
  • Hydrate and replenish fluids
  • Try salty, bland foods
  • Talk to your doctor about anti-diarrhea medications

Fatigue/energy boosting

Reminder - Calories are a measure of energy; the body needs a certain number of calories every day to properly function

  • Eat regularly throughout the day - don’t go long periods without eating, and have predictable mealtimes
  • Eat within 1 hour of getting up
  • Eat every 2-3 hours - small frequent meals or snacks (note: snacks should be intentional or have a purpose
  • Be sure to include healthy carbs as they are the building blocks of energy for our cells
  • Hydrate - drink water all day long
  • Being physically active can help energy levels
  • Caffeine is fine and can help give an energy boost - e.g., plain coffee or coffee with a little sugar or cream. Green tea/black tea are also healthy option. Stay away from energy drinks

General meal guidelines

  • Meals - it is recommended to include 3 to 4 food groups (fruits, veggies, protein, starch)
  • Snacks - it is recommended to have at least 2 food groups represented (fruits, veggies, protein, starch)

Boost immunity

  • Eat less - processed refined carbs, trans fat, added sugars, processed meats
  • Eat more - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, prebiotics, and probiotics

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