What are dietary recommendations for leukemia?


My mother has recently been diagnosed with stage 0 leukemia. The doctors say that there is no treatment done at such a stage, but my sister and I are curious. We both believe that diet can have a positive impact on the growth/ development/prevention of cancer. We would like to know the following:

  1. Are there some good guidebooks to which we may refer?
  2. What are your dietary recommendations for someone such as our mother?

It is true that what you eat or don’t eat plays a big role in most cancers as does your heredity, lifestyle, and environment. However, with leukemia, what you eat has not been shown to be a factor except in childhood leukemia. One study found that children who eat oranges, orange juice and bananas in the first two years of life have a 50% reduction in the incidence of childhood leukemia between the ages of 2 and 14. The consumption of fruits and fruit juices high in vitamin C and/or potassium may reduce the risk of childhood leukemia. They did not find an association between the consumption of hot dogs or lunchmeats on the incidence of childhood leukemia.

A healthy eating plan with enough vitamins and minerals to meet your mom’s Recommended Dietary Allowance is recommended. She should eat a wide variety of foods including fresh and frozen. See the My Plate for more information about the recommended number of servings per day for a healthy eating plan. Weight loss at this time would not be recommended and it may negatively impact your mom’s immune system.

There is some promising research about low-fat vegetarian eating plans that include soybean foods such as soy milk, tofu, and other soybean-based products. Soy is not specifically recommended for leukemia and is contraindicated in estrogen-dependent breast cancers. For information about the food and physical activity, cancer connection read this by the American Cancer Society.