Food Therapies for Cancer: Max Gerson Cancer Diet (1 of 2)


Diet and nutrition are the foundation of a Holistic Health program. Experts like Max Gerson have created the Max Gerson Cancer Diet, specifically to deal with Cancer? Let’s understand more about food therapies for cancer.

These were the only answers I got when I asked my friends and family what they thought was the best cure for cancer. I was disappointed, although this was all I myself knew about a month ago! Wasn’t anyone aware that there are food therapies as well?

A somewhat controversial food-based approach was proposed by Dr. Max Gerson as far back as the 1930’s. (Yes, it is the same Gerson who is more ‘infamous’ for inventing the caffeine enema!)

Max Gerson Cancer Diet 

how Max Gerson Diet works
Gerson was a pioneer who realised that diet, immunity and illness are closely linked. He let the world know that a carefully regulated diet can restore an impaired immune system to its best functioning and this is a crucial factor in healing.

Although his specific dietary recommendations have not been scientifically validated (we recommend that readers should consult their physician and/or a qualified nutritionist before trying out any new approach), we can at least understand and apply Gerson’s general principles, which are now well accepted.

Early connections between diet and immunity

Gerson first used a dietary regime in the mid-1920’s to cure himself of an otherwise untreatable migraine. He then developed his regime to successfully treat tuberculosis and in 1928, he treated his first cancer patient (who had cancer of the bile duct) reluctantly and with little optimism. She had a complete remission.

In his book ‘A Cancer Therapy – with Results of 50 Cases’, he admits :

“I didn’t know enough about cancer and it was such a difficult problem to go into. But once it was in my head and in my hands and in my heart, I could no longer separate myself from that problem”.

He explains further, that with the help of his patients themselves, he really understood Hippocrates’ ancient idea of detoxifying the body thoroughly by “giving patients a special soup” i.e. restoring digestion with fresh, pure and suitably prepared food, thereby correcting any vitamin and mineral imbalances. Gerson also emphasized the importance of patients maintaining a positive attitude towards life in general and towards diet in particular.

Using this approach, he claimed a 50% success rate with terminally ill patients.

Connection between diet and cancer

Effect of Max Gearson dietGerson was considered an eccentric in his time although he modified his theories through constant practice and observation. Yet, his principles have been sufficiently authenticated over the last 50+ years.

He believed that cancer is:

  • A multi-factorial, de-generative, lifestyle disease.
  • An inevitable outcome of our food and environment becoming too polluted and too far removed from nature. Over a period of time, these factors combine to weaken the body’s normal functioning and resistance to a point where one final trigger-factor can produce illness.
  • Involves an impaired immune system and that a careful dietary regime can restore immunity to optimum functioning.

Can it really be as simple as that? Does the Max Gerson Cancer Diet really work? Speaking for myself, the very idea that cancer is a degenerative lifestyle disease has changed my outlook towards it. It is encouraging to know there are other ways of treating what I believed to be a terminal illness.

While mainstream treatments like chemotherapy and radiation are of course important, I now believe that a holistic diet-based approach can be very effective (and maybe even pleasant!) when used to supplement these.


  • How involved are you in your own recovery plan?
  • What is the right balance between your mainstream treatments and complementary/ holistic approaches to healing?
  • Hippocrates said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food”. How can you manage your diet choices better for both prevention and recovery?



Maitri Vasudev is a student of Communications at Mount Carmel College, Bangalore. She actively participates in the ‘Wipe a Tear, Remove a Pain,’ mission of UN-recognised Shree Public Charitable Trust. With this background, Maitri has enjoyed writing for Cancer Awakens immensely.

More from this series

Title About the article
The Budwig Diet After studying Max Gerson’s intriguing dietary principles with regard to cancer, I started exploring other food therapies and this led me to Johanna Budwig’s diet, whose principles are similar and the specifics, very different!
The Gerson Diet A somewhat controversial food-based approach was proposed by Dr. Max Gerson as far back as the 1930’s. (Yes, it is the same Gerson who is more ‘infamous’ for inventing the caffeine enema!)


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