Recipes for Iron-rich Diet during Cancer Treatment

by Team Onco
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In this article, we give you some easy to cook, and tasty to eat Indian recipes for iron-rich foods. These will help you improve your red blood cell count, improve haemoglobin levels and prevent anaemia. Cancer and cancer treatment can often cause anaemia.

Anaemia is a condition where you do not have a sufficient number of healthy red blood cells. In blood tests, this may also show up as lower than normal levels of haemoglobin. Anaemia is a common condition in cancer patients. 

The recipes given below will help you eat better and prevent anaemia during and after your cancer treatment.

To prevent anaemia, have iron rich foods like ragi roti

Ingredients

2 cups ragi flour

¾ cup hot water

5 tbsp methi leaves

2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves

1 tsp jeera/cumin

1 tsp salt

3-4 finely chopped curry leaves

1 finely chopped onion

1 tsp ginger paste

1 tbsp oil

Method

  • In a large bowl, combine the ragi flour with the onions,methi leaves, coriander leaves, curry leaves, cumin, salt and ginger paste
  • Add the hot water and mix well.
  • Use the oil to knead the mix into dough. Use more water if required. The dough should be soft to touch.
  • Heat a heavy bottomed tawa. 
  • Make small balls of the dough.
  •  Using your fingers flatten it into a thin roti shape. 
  • Roast it on the tawa, till both sides are golden brown.
  • Serve with curd or butter. 
  • Buckwheat Dhokla / Kuttu Ka Dhokla

Indian dishes recipes for cancer patients

Ingredients

1 cup buckwheat flour

¼ cup little millet flour

½ cup curd

¼ tsp baking soda

5 finely chopped sprigs of coriander

1 tbsp oil

Salt to taste

Freshly grated coconut (optional)

Method

  • Combine all the ingredients except the baking soda in a large bowl. 
  • Add the oil and the baking soda to the mix.
  • Grease dhokla plates and pour the batter.
  • Steam for 12 minutes or till the centre is fully cooked. 
  • You can garnish with fresh grated coconut before serving. 
  • Pumpkin Rajma Soup

iron rich diet recipes for cancer patients with anaemia

Ingredients

½ cup chopped pumpkin

¼ cup kidney beans (rajma)

½ tsp chopped garlic

½ tsp chopped coriander

Salt to taste

Method

  • Pressure cook the rajma.
  • Blend the pumpkins into a puree.
  • Heat oil in a pan, add the garlic and saute till the raw smell disappears.
  • Add the pumpkin puree.
  • Add the rajma, with the salt and coriander. Mix it well together. 
  • Use some water if required, so that the mix has the consistency of a soup. 
  • Let it simmer. 
  • Serve warm or at room temperature. 
  • Sprouts Soup

recipes for better blood count during cancer

Ingredients

½ cup sprouts (any type of sprouts)

1 cup chopped vegetables like carrots, potato, pumpkin, bottle gourd etc

½ tsp cumin

1 tsp ginger

A pinch of turmeric powder

1 tsp butter

Method

  • Pressure cook the vegetables and sprouts till soft. 
  • Puree the steamed vegetables and sprouts. 
  • Heat the butter in a deep pan, and add the ginger. 
  • Saute till the raw smell of ginger disappears. 
  • Add ¾ cup, salt and turmeric powder. Bring it to a boil. 
  • Add the puree and simmer.
  • Sprinkle the cumin powder before serving. 
  • Spinach, Orange, Pomegranate Salad

iron rich Indian diet for cancer

Ingredients

1 cup fresh spinach

Seeds of 1/2 pomegranate

1 large orange

½ cup cooked tofu or grilled paneer

Almonds for garnish

For salad dressing

1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 tbsp olive oil

Salt to taste

Method

  • Slice the orange segments into one inch pieces.
  • In a blender, blend together all the ingredients of the salad dressing.
  • Combine the spinach, pomegranate and the orange slices. 
  • Add the paneer/cooked tofu and the almonds. You can also toast the almonds if you prefer.
  • Pour the salad dressing over the salad mix. Some may prefer to pour only half the salad dressing and keep the remaining half for adding as they eat the salad. 
  • Serve immediately.
  • Almond Dates Ladoo

almonds and dates dishes for cancer patients

Ingredients

1 cup almonds

10 soft dates

2 tsps chia seeds

Method

  • De-seed the dates.
  • In a mixer or blender, crush the almonds, dates and chia seeds together. 
  • Roll the mix into ladoo shaped balls. 
  • You can store this in an airtight container, or in the refrigerator for longer durations. 
  • Til Chikki

best food for cancer patients in india

Ingredients

1 cup white til /sesame seeds

1 cup jaggery

1 tsp ghee

Method

  • Dry roast the sesame seeds till they splutter.
  • In another pan, heat the ghee and add the jaggery.
  • Keep stirring till the jaggery melts completely. 
  • Keep boiling the jaggery till it turns thick and glossy. 
  • You can test if you have reached the right consistency by dropping a bit of the jaggery syrup into a bowl of water. It should form a ball. 
  • Once you have reached the right consistency, turn the flame to low. 
  • Add the roasted sesame seeds and mix well. 
  • This paste will harden quickly, so you will need to work fast. 
  • Transfer the paste into a greased steel plate. You can also use butter paper instead of greasing the plate. 
  • Make sure the paste is spread thickly and evenly. 
  • While it is still warm, cut it into pieces. 
  • Serve after it has cooled down. 
  • Cauliflower and Methi Sabji

Indian dishes for vegetarians with cancer

Ingredients

2 cups cauliflower florets

1 cup peeled and chopped potatoes

1 cups fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves

2 large chillies 

3 tbsp oil

1 tsp jeera (cumin) seeds

¼ tsp asafoetida (hing powder)

Salt to taste

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds and saute. 
  • Add chopped chillies, turmeric and hing powder. 
  • Add the cauliflower and potato cubes. Mix well so that the spices are evenly coated.
  • Add the methi leaves and salt to taste. 
  • Add water if required, and cook on low flame till the vegetables have softened. 
  • Serve with rotis or as a side dish with rice and dal. 
  •  Egg & Chickpea salad

recipes for iron rich salads

Ingredients

1 cup chickpeas (kabuli chana)

4 eggs

½ cucumber

¼ onion

2 spring onions

½ tbsp chopped mint leaves

1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

For dressing

1 tsp lemon juice

¼ cup olive oil

1 chopped garlic

½ tsp pepper powder

½ tsp cumin powder

Salt to taste

Method

  • Pressure cook the chickpeas till soft but not too mushy.
  • Hard boil the eggs. Peel them and place aside.
  • Mix all the ingredients of the dressing.
  • In a bowl, mix the cucumber, onions, spring onions, mint and coriander into the chickpeas. 
  • Half the boiled eggs and place them inside the same bowl. 
  • Pour the salad dressing over it. 
  • Serve immediately. 
  • Chicken Liver and Vegetable Salad

chicken liver iron rich recipe

Ingredients

100 gms chicken liver (100 gm of chicken liver can be consumed weekly once)

1/2 cup green peas shelled

1 tomatoes

1 onion

½ cucumber

½ capsicum

2 tbsp vegetable oil

1 tbsp lime juice

1 bay leaf

1 tsp allspice mix

Pepper and salt to taste

Method

  • Boil the chicken liver in water, with the bay leaf and all spice mix, till the liver is soft. 
  • Drain the water. Once cool, chop the liver coarsely. 
  • Marinate the liver in pepper, vinegar and salt. Set aside for 20 minutes. 
  • Chop the vegetables into bite sized pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Mix the vegetables with the liver pieces, add vegetable oil and let it infuse for 10 minutes. 
  • The salad is now ready to serve. 
  • Soya Upma

easy recipe for soya Upma

Ingredients

¾ cup of soya granules

½ cup grated carrot

½ cup finely chopped onions

1 tbsp oil

1 tbsp urad dal

1 tsp cumin (jeera) seeds

¾ tsp ginger garlic paste

1 green chilli

Salt to taste

Coriander leaves (finely chopped) for garnish

Method

  • Soak the soya granules in water for 15 minutes, squeeze and drain them.
  • Heat the oil in a pan. Add the cumin seeds.
  • Add the urad dal and saute till they are golden.
  • Add the green chilli, ginger garlic paste and onions. Saute till the onions turn soft.
  • On medium flame, add the carrots and the salt.
  • Finally add the soya granules and mix well. 
  • Add the coriander leaves & lemon juice  before serving. 
  • Tuna Fish and Vegetable Salad

fish dishes for cancer patients

Ingredients

1 cup tuna shredded pieces

1 small radish, thinly sliced

½ cup thinly sliced carrots

½ cup chopped cucumbers

½ cup halved cherry tomatoes

2 tbsp sliced almonds

2 tbsp lime juice or any salad dressing

Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  • Steam or pan sear the tuna till just cooked.
  • Add the vegetables and the lime juice.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Oats, Strawberry and Almond Milkshake

iron rich drinks and smoothies

Ingredients

½ cup uncooked rolled oats

1 cup strawberries

1 cup plain yogurt or curd (not very sour)

1 cup milk (you can also use almond milk or soy milk)

½ banana

2 tsp honey

¼ tsp vanilla extract

Method

Mix all the ingredients together in a blend and make a smooth puree. Serve immediately. 

  • Halim (Garden Cress Seeds) Ladoo

best foods for cancer diet in india

Ingredients

½ cup halim seeds

½ cup chopped jaggery

¼ cup bombay rava or sooji (semolina)

1 tbsp desiccated coconut

1 tbsp ghee

¼ cup powdered almonds

Method

  • Soak the halim seeds in water in a deep bowl for 3 hours. 
  • In a pan, heat the ghee and add the jaggery, halim seeds, semolina and mix well.
  • Keep stirring on medium flame till the jaggery melts completely. 
  • Add the coconut and almonds and mix well. 
  • Transfer the mix into a plate to cool down slightly. 
  • Divide it into portions and roll into ladoo shaped balls. 
  • You can store these in an airtight container to preserve them for longer. 

Click here to read more about why your blood count is affected by your cancer treatment

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