When Mouth Sores Make Eating Difficult Try These Ideas
If mouth sores or difficulty swallowing make it hard to get enough healthy food during and after chemo, try these ideas:
- Choose soft, bland foods that are easy to swallow if mouth sores are a problem, or if you have a hard time chewing or swallowing
- Soften foods by adding sauce, broth or yogurt
- Cut food into smaller pieces
- Puree foods using a blender
- Drink with a straw to push the beverage beyond the painful parts of your mouth
- Suck on ice chips to numb and soothe mouth sores. Frozen grapes or other fruits may also provide relief
- Avoid foods and drinks that can aggravate sores, such as citrus fruits and juices, alcohol, spicy food, salsa, tomatoes and ketchup
Why Does Chemo Cause Nausea
Chemotherapy is an intensive cancer treatment that has some negative side effects. One of the main ones is nausea. Chemo patients can feel nauseous for several reasons while undergoing treatment. Its helpful to understand why nausea occurs after chemo so you can learn how to minimize it.
When the medicines from chemo enter your body, they are treated as foreign substances. Chemo is a rigorous treatment that targets cancer cells and can negatively impact other bodily processes and cells. As you receive chemo, your body triggers feelings of nausea intentionally. Because chemo can be seen as harmful by your body, it will try to rid itself of toxins through vomiting. Thats what causes that queasy feeling.
That being said, everyones body responds to chemo differently. You may feel nauseous before receiving treatment, as your body anticipates it. You could feel very nauseous immediately after treatment or feel sick for several days after. Chemo patients can expect to feel nauseous because of the nature of the treatment.
How Can I Prevent Nausea From Chemo
Thinking ahead can help reduce feelings of nausea from chemo. Taking nutritional supplements for chemo patients can be beneficial. Maintaining a healthy diet and eating beforehand can also prevent extreme nausea after chemo.
Try to eat a good breakfast in the mornings before you receive chemotherapy. A large breakfast may be out of the question because anticipatory nausea can happen before treatment. However, eating a balanced breakfast of proteins, fats, and carbs is wise. Have a small snack about an hour before, just so that you have something in your stomach as you receive chemo. Its good to include a nutritional supplement designed for chemo patients, like Pro3+ Nutritional Powder, into that snack. Pro3+ can provide the extra nutrition that your body needs during chemo.
Again, avoid nausea-inducing foods. Drinking liquids is very important while prepping for chemo. Because Pro3+ is super soluble and formulated for chemo patients, you can add it to your drinks before, during, and after treatment. Eating bland foods frequently in the hours and days after chemo can help prevent extreme nausea. Getting plenty of rest and preparing your body for treatment beforehand can reduce the effects of nausea from chemo.
Eating Well During Chemotherapy
Eating while undergoing chemotherapy may be challenging but it doesnt have to be impossible! By focusing on nutritious foods like lean proteins, healthy fats, complex carbs, and plenty of fluids you can ensure that your body gets the nutrients it needs during this difficult time in your life. With the right food choices and an open mind about trying new things, eating during chemo could become something enjoyable instead of overwhelming!
New Companies Are Supporting People Undergoing Chemo With Food And Drinks That Taste Good
Luckily, in our foodie-obsessed world, creative companies are coming to the rescue.
Launched earlier this year in the Czech Republic, Mamma Beer is an alcohol-free brew specifically formulated to taste good to folks experiencing dysgeusia.
Created by Jana Drexlerová after undergoing chemotherapy herself for breast cancer in 2011, the entrepreneur told NPR she was motivated by disappointment at how much everything tasted like sand.
She set out to craft a formula that would circumvent the newly unsavory flavors and not only taste good to people undergoing chemo, but also boost nutrition and improve health during treatment.
This is why Mamma Beer is alcohol-free , crafted with apples , and fortified with potassium and vitamin B .
The secret weapon to Mamma Beer, though, lies in Drexlerovás other goal.
In a country where beer is a crucial part of the culture, she wanted to give women back a sense of normalcy during a process that transforms your body and life into anything but normal.
Its not just beer thats coming to the rescue of impaired taste buds.
Home Care Nutrition, a meal company for caretakers, launched the line Vital Cuisine, which offers high-protein, high-nutrient shakes and ready-to-serve meals featuring special additions like algae protein to give the bland meals a nicer, gourmet mouthfeel.
These foods and drinks are specifically designed to taste good to chemo patients. But they can also help people find more interest in eating healthy food.
Difficulties Eating During Cancer
Having cancer and cancer treatments can make eating difficult for several reasons.
- If cancer is affecting your digestive system, it might cause symptoms like sickness, stomach pains and constipation. This might put you off eating.
- You may feel tired, low or in pain from cancer or your treatments. This may affect your appetite.
- You may find you dont have the energy for buying and preparing food.
- Treatments may cause side-effects such as feeling sick, mouth ulcers and a dry or sore mouth. These symptoms can make it hard to eat and drink as much as you need to.
- Chemotherapy can change your sense of taste and smell, which might put you off eating.
- Radiotherapy and chemotherapy can cause digestive problems such as diarrhoea or constipation. You may need to change your diet to help control this.
What Foods Should You Avoid During Cancer Treatment
Be aware of whats going into your body during cancer treatment. Read nutrition labels and prepare as much of your own food as you can. Its best to stay away from highly refined, processed food. You should also avoid fried foods that contain a lot of hydrogenated oils, which can increase inflammation.
Since people with cancer often have compromised immune systems, consider skipping foods that carry the risk of foodborne illnesses, including:
- Lightly cooked or raw fish, such as sushi
- Soft-cooked eggs or foods that contain raw eggs, such as homemade mayonnaise
- Unpasteurized cheeses and dairy products
- Unwashed fruits or vegetables
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How To Cook And Store Food Safely
Make sure that you are cooking and storing your food properly. Follow these rules when cooking and storing food:
Make sure your food is fresh. Eat fresh, canned, and packaged food before the “use by” or “best before” date on the package.
Always cook meat, poultry, and seafood to the right temperature. If meat is not cooked to the right temperature, bacteria can remain on the food.Use a food thermometer to check for a safe internal temperature of all cooked poultry and meat. For instance, a ground beef hamburger should be cooked to at least medium . Get a full list of recommended internal cooking temperatures on the U.S. government website of foodsafety.gov.
Chill food promptly. Refrigerate or freeze all food that can spoil within 2 hours after it leaves the grocery store’s cooler or freezer. Also, freeze or refrigerate leftover cooked food within the same timeframe. In warm weather, do it sooner. Bacteria can grow on cooked food that is left out too long. Food in the refrigerator should be kept at or below 40ËF . Food in the freezer should be kept below 32ËF .
Thaw frozen food properly. Thaw frozen food in the refrigerator rather than at room temperature. You can also safely thaw food in frequently changed cold water or in the microwave, but cook it as soon as it thaws.
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If You Have Diarrhoea
- Make sure you drink plenty of fluid but avoid alcohol and coffee.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently.
- Stick to plain foods such as white bread, pasta and well-cooked eggs. Avoid fatty, greasy and spicy foods.
- Reduce your fibre intake until the diarrhoea improves.
- Contact your doctor or nurse if the diarrhoea is severe.
What To Eat Before Chemotherapy
Before chemotherapy begins, a person should eat a healthy diet and try to maintain a moderate weight. A healthy diet should include various fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, lean proteins, whole grains, and legumes. People should try to limit refined carbohydrates, added sugars, and ultra-processed foods in any healthy diet.
Eating a healthy diet before chemotherapy may help a person lower their risk of infection, cope with side effects better, and have a greater chance of receiving treatment without unplanned breaks.
During this time, a person can prepare for eating while going through chemotherapy. It can be helpful to stock the freezer, refrigerator, and cupboards with healthy foods that a person enjoys. Foods that require little or no cooking and preparation time, such as frozen dinners, can be helpful.
It might also be helpful to cook food ahead of time and freeze meals. A person should include items they know they can eat even when they feel unwell.
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Shopping And Cooking During Treatment
Simple tasks like shopping and cooking can seem exhausting during your treatment and as you recover. Try to accept any offers of help, even if youre used to coping on your own. You can also take advantage of online shopping or ask local shops if they have a telephone ordering and delivery service.
Its important to have fresh food in your diet, but if you can’t shop regularly, frozen and tinned fruit and vegetables are full of nutrients and can be eaten every day. Choose tinned fruit in juice rather than syrup and tinned vegetables that have less salt.
Find out more about coping with fatigue during and after treatment.
Eating For Cancer Prevention Vs Eating Well During Cancer Treatment
Its easy to be confused about the difference between eating for cancer prevention and eating a diet that is suitable for someone undergoing cancer treatment. Lets clarify.
Eating for cancer prevention focuses on reducing your exposure to potential carcinogens. When eaten regularly over an extended period, dietary carcinogens include meats cooked at high temperatures and those preserved using nitrates. During treatment, however, some of these foods may stimulate appetite and thus be beneficial.
During cancer treatment, you should choose foods that taste good, dont cause heartburn, and help you have regular bowel movements. Typical cancer treatment involves surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and targeted therapies like immunotherapy. Lets look at each in turn and see what diet modifications are most beneficial for each type of cancer treatment.
Surgery: After surgery for cancer, you need to eat more protein to aid in your recovery. For most people, this means adding another 20 grams a day, or the equivalent of about 3 ounces of fish, chicken, lean meat, or shellfish. Or about 8 ounces of beans, tofu, or quinoa.
Radiation: During radiation, avoid high-dose single antioxidants, such as Vitamin C, beta carotene, and Vitamin E, as these may blunt the effectiveness of your treatment.
Chemotherapy: Hydration is especially important during chemo. Protein needs are also increased. A ready-to-drink amino acid or peptide supplement can help you get both.
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Will Radiotherapy Affect My Diet
Having radiotherapy should not cause any dietary problems but its still good to eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids.
If you have to travel for your treatment, take a drink and snack with you and plan meals that are easy to prepare for when you get home. Read more about shopping and cooking during treatment.
Foods For Cancer Patients To Avoid
If youre losing too much weight, try to avoid foods that provide little energy or nutrients. These include low-calorie drinks, salads and clear soups. These fill you up without giving your body the calories and protein it needs.
You might find you need to avoid certain foods because of side-effects youre having during treatment. If you have a sore mouth, you might want to avoid spicy foods. If your immunity is low , you may need to avoid foods that could cause infection. These include cheeses that are mould-ripened or made from unpasteurised milk, raw meat and seafood, and runny eggs. Your nurse will discuss this with you.
Check with your doctor or nurse before drinking alcohol when youre having treatment for cancer. Youll usually be able to drink small amounts of alcohol with most types of chemotherapy. But alcohol can interact with certain chemotherapy drugs and make you feel unwell. It can also irritate any sores in your mouth caused by cancer treatment.
You can read more about foods to avoid in our section: Tips for eating well during cancer.
With our health assessments you get an action plan thats tailor-made for you. Find out more about health assessments >
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Foods To Avoid During Or After Chemotherapy
Certain cancer treatments can make you more likely to get infections, so it’s especially important to take precautions with what you eat. During or after chemo, it’s probably best to avoid:
- Unpasteurized milk and milk products
- Prepared salads containing ham, chicken, egg, or seafood
- Refrigerated pâté
- Soft-boiled, over-easy and poached eggs
- Raw cookie dough
Dietary Supplement Safety Considerations
Many people believe that a pill or supplement they find in stores, is safe and it works. The Food and Drug Administration has rules to help ensure that supplements contain what their labels claim they do, but the supplements safety and its effects on the body are not addressed by any FDA rules. The FDA does not make manufacturers of these products print possible side effects on their labels. And the FDA cant pull a dietary supplement or herbal product from the market unless they have proof that the product is unsafe.
Its also been shown that many herbal products arent what the label says they are. Some products dont contain any of the herb theyre supposed to. Some also contain potentially harmful drugs, additives, or contaminants that arent listed on the label. This means theres no sure way to know if a supplement is safe or how it will affect you.
Tell your cancer care team about any over-the-counter products or supplements youre using or are thinking about using. Take the bottle to your doctor to talk about the dose and be sure that the ingredients do not interfere with your health or cancer treatments. Some other safety tips:
- Ask your cancer care team for reliable information on dietary supplements.
- Check the product labels for both the quantity and concentration of active ingredients in each product.
- Stop taking the product and call your cancer care team right away if you have side effects, like wheezing, itching, numbness, or tingling in your limbs.
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Cancer Diet: Foods To Add And Avoid During Cancer Treatment
Cancer can affect every aspect of your health, including your appetite and diet. Selvi Rajagopal, M.D., a specialist in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Medicine, explains why your diet is so important during cancer treatment, and provides tips on foods to add and avoid.
Be Prepared Stock Up On Healthy Foods
Another ingredient to a healthy diet during radiation therapy is to plan ahead.
- Stock up your pantry with diverse and healthy foods.
- Prepare and store healthy meals in your refrigerator and freezer before you begin therapy.
- Always have your favorite snacks available at work or on the go.
A small amount of pre-planning and preparation will make it easy to eat well even if you are not feeling your best.
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If You Are On Your Cancer Treatment Journey Then You Must Add These Foods To Your Diet In Order To Recover Fast
Written by Satata Karmakar|Published : October 14, 2022 10:37 AM IST
Cancer is a condition in which the cells in the body start to grow uncontrollably, leading to the formation of tumours, which can further lead to cancer. One of the leading treatment options for various types of cancer is chemotherapy. This procedure includes radiation which is sued to burn the cancer cells and stop them from growing or developing further. Therefore, it is important to make ensure the diet of the patient who is undergoing chemotherapy. A balanced diet during cancer treatment helps in keeping the body functioning optimally. Take a look at 7 such foods that you should add to your diet when undergoing chemotherapy.
Getting Help With Your Diet
If youre having difficulties with eating or managing your weight, speak to one of your healthcare team. They can advise and support you and prescribe medicines to help you cope. These may include medicines to boost your appetite, anti-sickness medicines, and medicines to combat constipation and diarrhoea. There are also artificial saliva products, which can help if you have a dry mouth.
A dietitian can help to plan your diet to make sure you get all the calories and nutrients you need. They can also give you advice on the best way to prepare your food. If youre not getting enough calories and protein from your diet, they may suggest trying food supplements. These come as a powder that you make up as a drink or add to food. Some types you can buy from a pharmacy but for others, your doctor or dietitian may give you a prescription.
If other measures arent helping, your doctor, nurse or dietitian may suggest artificial nutrition as a last resort. This means having a tube into your stomach or a vein to supply you with all the nutrients you need. Your doctor, nurse or dietitian will discuss this with you if they feel this is needed.
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