Ovarian Cancer Nutrition

Ovarian Cancer Nutrition


We all know that, no matter who you are, getting the proper nutrition is a way to maintain your health and feel good.

Ovarian cancer itself, as well as treatments associated with it, can drastically affect your day-to-day. Symptoms like constipation, gas, bloating, and stomach pain take their toll, and general fatigue can make it harder to do the things you normally do. A good diet can make those symptoms more manageable and get you closer to living your life the way you want to.

It’s all about ensuring your body is getting the vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients it needs to perform its best. Of course, there’s no “one size fits all” diet for ovarian cancer patients. Everyone’s situation is different. But, we have some suggestions to help you get started on your journey to wellness and healing.

The Importance of a Balanced Diet

As you’re being treated for ovarian cancer, you may find that things like chemo and surgery affect your body in unexpected ways. It can change how you absorb nutrients and even your appetite. It’s important to listen to your body (and your doctor) when it comes to getting all the nutrients you need to stay well.

During treatment for ovarian cancer, you’ll want to:

  • Try to stay at a healthy weight
  • Make sure your body is getting the proper nutrients and calories
  • Maintain muscle mass

A well-balanced diet is the key to all of these things. Your body will be fighting to regulate itself as you’re being treated for ovarian cancer, meaning it will need more nutrients and calories as it works to heal. Getting enough calories and drinking plenty of fluids will help keep your body strong and improve your immune system so you can continue receiving treatment. It can even make side effects from treatment more manageable.

Often, your appetite will fluctuate during treatment. You may find that eating is the last thing on your mind as you deal with stomach issues and fatigue. Still, it’s important to make sure your nutrient needs are met. Try small meals throughout the day, supplemented with a quick snack in between, to meet your nutrition goals.

What Is a “Balanced Diet”?

When we talk about balanced diets, whether you have ovarian cancer or not, we typically are describing a diet that incorporates all six food groups. Additionally, it’s a diet that cuts out as much processed food as possible. These foods tend to fill you up without getting you much closer to your nutrition goals.

Eating nutrient-rich, whole foods will make it easier to hit your protein and calorie goals throughout the day, often without needing to worry about vitamin supplements. While useful for some patients, experts caution that high dose supplements can carry more risks than rewards. Always chat with your doctor to decide together what’s best for your situation.

Now, let’s meet the six food groups and some serving recommendations. Of course, you should steer clear of any suggestions you have an allergy or intolerance to.

In addition to eating a proper diet, make sure you’re staying hydrated. Experts recommend at least 64 oz of fluid a day, mostly in the form of water.

These examples of a balanced diet are just starting points. Always talk with your doctor about what’s best for you.

Dealing with Digestive Problems

Unfortunately, stomach issues are all too common in women during and after ovarian cancer treatment. Nausea, vomiting, heartburn, bloating, gas, and diarrhea can alter your nutritional needs. You may feel less hungry and feel fuller faster when dealing with some or all of these issues.

Luckily, there are ways to manage and even minimize these symptoms to make it easier to get the nutrients you need to maintain your health.


  • Cut out as much fatty, greasy foods as possible. The same goes for sweets. 
  • Insoluble fibers like produce skins and peels can be tough on your stomach. Boost your intake of soluble fiber, like rice, bananas, and potatoes (no skins). 
  • Try to avoid sugary drinks like soda and juice and limit caffeine. After each loose bowel movement, drink a cup of fluid.

Gas and Bloating

  • Just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it won’t give you gas. Think beans, broccoli, cabbage, and bok choy. Try to limit them in your diet. When you do include them, cook them thoroughly to break down the sulfur and carbohydrate compounds that your body would have a hard time digesting. 
  • Try not to eat large meals. Smaller meals throughout the day will be gentler on your digestive system. 
  • Try to cut out greasy, fatty foods. They digest slowly, which can cause bloating. 
  • Using straws or chewing with your mouth open can cause you to swallow air, which leads to bloating. Try to avoid carbonated beverages as well, like soda or beer. 
  • Lactose intolerant patients may find their reaction to foods like cow’s milk and ice cream are heightened. Take extra care to avoid them.


  • Hydration is your best line of defense against constipation. Aim for at least 80 oz of fluid, preferably water, every day. 
  • At least 25 grams of high fiber foods like vegetables, nuts, and whole grains can help regulate your bowels. Only incorporate these foods if you’re not at risk for a small bowel obstruction. 
  • Boost digestion with low-intensity exercise. A simple 20 minute walk can help. Plus, staying active can improve your overall health in general. 
  • Ask your doctor before using laxatives, stool softeners, or other supplements.

Minimizing Bowel Obstruction Risk

Some people with ovarian cancer are prone to experiencing bowel obstructions, which is simply an intestinal block that doesn’t allow foods or fluid to pass through. Some foods can increase the risk of a bowel obstruction. If you have a history of bowel obstruction or your doctor said you’re at risk, avoid foods such as:

  • Raw veggies, potato skins, cabbage, legumes, beans, and cooked or raw mushrooms and corn.
  • Meat casings
  • Dried or fresh fruit and their skins, coconut, canned fruit
  • Grains with seeds, popcorn, coarse whole grains

What to Eat During and After Treatment

Treatment and surgeries for ovarian cancer can be extremely tough on your body. Some foods can keep you energized, like:

  • Rice. It’s gentle on your stomach and easy to digest, making it a great source of calories while you’re undergoing treatment. 
  • Eggs. They’re packed with protein and easy to digest.  
  • Greek yogurt. It’s full of protein, easy to eat, and doesn’t have fiber.  
  • Bananas. They’ll fuel you with good carbs and contain plenty of great vitamins and soluble fiber.  
  • Creamy peanut butter. Lots of protein, great for smoothies and snacks, and it’s a healthy fat. 
  • Cottage cheese. It may not look pretty, but it’s easy to eat and packed with protein.

Foods to Avoid During Ovarian Cancer Treatment

Of course, there’s a flip side to every coin. There are some foods that are just too difficult to digest, and even some that can interfere with your treatment. Always speak with your doctor about what foods are safe to eat.

Here are some examples of foods that you may need to avoid:

  • Grapefruit and Seville oranges. Some women find these citrus fruits can interact with certain medications.  
  • Raw or undercooked seafood or meat. If you’re being treated with chemotherapy, your immune system is likely weakened. Foodborne illness will be much harder to fight off and could even delay your treatment. These foods can contain harmful bacteria, so avoid them at all costs.

Staying Fit Can Reduce Your Risk of Cancer

Some research suggests that being overweight can increase the risk of certain cancers, including ovarian cancer. A healthy, balanced diet as well as smart portioning can help you maintain a healthy weight and possibly reduce your risk for ovarian cancer.

As mentioned before, what is considered a “balanced diet” for you depends entirely on your situation. But, as a rule, experts suggest that half your plate be made up of produce at every meal. Throughout the day, they recommend at least five handfuls of fruits and veggies. This is a good place to start when aiming to maintain a healthy weight.

Meet the Nutritionist

Nationally Board-Certified Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Angela Rahm, specializes in full body health, safe and easy detoxing and long-lasting health fundamentals. She works with people all over the country to help them get out of the fear-based system, sypher through the informational chaos, regain energy and motivation to heal so they can get their lives back and feel alive again!

Dr. Angela Rahm, Nationally Board-Certified Naturopathic Doctor, has dedicated her life since 2010 to the pursuit of holistic health and well-being. Providing her patients with a personalized and holistic approach to healing that’s driven by a profound desire to get to the root cause and to empower individuals to take charge of their health naturally.

Additionally, Dr. Rahm is a Certified Nutritional Coach, a Certified Digestive Health Specialist, Certified Thyroid Specialist and Certified Blood Work Specialist. She takes a unique approach to the healing process and believes Dis-Ease is suggesting a malfunction in the body. Like a machine, it too can be revived, fixed and put back into working, you just have to figure out what is causing the problem.

She is known for her compassion, empathetic, funny, and form bedside manner. She takes the time to truly understand her patients’ unique needs and concerns, forming a partnership based on trust and open communication.

She is an author, speaker, trainer and has been a guest on several podcasts. She lives in Wisconsin with her husband, 2 dogs (Jett and Piper) and Harley (THE cat). Together they have 5 grown children and 4 grandchildren.

She loves to travel, attend health education conferences, educate on natural health, research, cook and enjoys their panoramic country view.

Have a question or want to schedule a consultation with Dr. Rahm?

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