Helpful Strategies For Managing Side Effects Of Cancer Treatment Through Diet
Nausea & Vomiting Management
Nausea with or without vomiting can be caused by your cancer, chemotherapy, or radiation therapy. We strive to prevent nausea and vomiting by taking specific measures. These include receiving IV anti-nausea medications prior to the administration of chemotherapy and prescribing anti-nausea meds for home. Your provider and nurse will go over these medications in detail. It is important to take your anti-nausea medications at the first sign of nausea. Please notify us if your medication is not working, as there are many other medications available to treat your nausea. Sometimes nausea can be from increased anxiety and fatigue. Physical and mental relaxation techniques, as well as diet changes, can often help in this area.
Some helpful eating tips surrounding nausea include:
Effective treatment for nausea may be different for each person. If your symptoms persist, please call the office.
Constipation is defined as being unable to move your bowels, having bowel movements less often than is normal for you, or having to push harder to move your bowels than you have in the past. It causes bloating, pain, and discomfort. Being less active, eating or drinking less, or taking certain medications can cause constipation.
Tips to avoid constipation include:
What you can do:
Increasing Calories in Your Diet
Some tips to help you stay hydrated include:
Coping With Dry Mouth
Sore Throat Management
Can I Drink Tea After Chemotherapy
There are potential drug-nutrient interactions that can interfere with the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Talk to your doctor about taking any supplements when you are undergoing chemo. Limit Green Tea. Some physicians limit the amount of green and white tea consumed by patients who are undergoing chemo.
Other Tips For Treating Nausea
Besides consuming certain foods and beverages, you can take other steps to relieve your nausea :
- Eat something small every 12 hours. Avoid skipping meals, since an empty stomach can worsen nausea.
- Eat and drink slowly and in small amounts. This allows you to relax during meals and take time to enjoy your food. You may also want to avoid consuming liquids and solids at the same time.
- Do not lie flat after eating. Avoid lying down for at least 30 minutes after eating, as this can put pressure on your stomach, making nausea worse.
- Avoid food preparation. The smell while cooking and preparing food can worsen nausea. If possible, avoid or shorten the time spent in the kitchen.
- Keep your mouth clean. Nausea and vomiting can leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth, which may prevent you from eating. Rinse and brush your teeth regularly and use sugar-free mints to keep feeling fresh.
In addition, avoid the following types of foods when you feel nauseous (
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Foods To Avoid During Chemotherapy
Oliver Eng, MD, is a double board-certified surgeon and surgical oncologist and an Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Chicago.
Are there any foods that you should avoid during chemotherapy? The short answer is: yes. Understanding why certain foods could be dangerous can help you stay healthy.
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Should You Take Supplements During Cancer Treatment
If youre not eating as much as usual during treatment, or if you have side effects like vomiting and diarrhea that cause you to lose vitamins and nutrients, you might consider taking a multivitamin.
Vitamin D tends to be the most common vitamin deficiency, says Rajagopal. Vitamin D helps keep your immune system strong, reduces fatigue and supports bone health. Especially if youre on steroids, youll be at risk for bone density loss.
Talk to a registered dietitian and your oncologist before adding any vitamins or supplements to your diet.
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Food Ideas For Cancer Patients With No Appetite
During cancer treatment, you may find yourself eating less than usual due to side effects from chemotherapy or radiation. While everyone experiences different symptoms, some common nutrition-related side effects include lack of hunger, feeling full quickly, an odd sense of taste, nausea or generally feeling unwell. This may lead to unintended weight loss, which could affect the way your body tolerates treatment. Thats why, if your appetite isnt up to par, its important to take steps to meet your nutritional needs.
What Foods Help With Nausea From Chemo
Chemo patients are all too familiar with feelings of nausea. Battling cancer and persistent sickness can result in extreme weight loss and malnutrition. Knowing which foods help with nausea from chemo can help cancer patients get the nutrients they need.
After chemo, you may feel nauseous for hours or a few days. To combat those feelings, try eating small amounts of bland foods frequently. Toast, crackers, and bananas are a few examples of foods that help with nausea from chemo. Taking nutritional supplements can also give your body the nutrients it needs without triggering nausea. Avoid fatty or super sugary foods when nauseous. Preparing for feelings of nausea before you receive chemo can help you reduce discomfort.
At ENU, we care about providing nutrition to chemo patients. Our Pro3+ is easily added to post-chemo meals and snacks to help with feelings of nausea. To learn more about Pro3+ Nutritional Powder for chemo patients, visit ENU online today.
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Patient Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a prescription for enterade®?
No, you do not need a prescription for enterade®, but since enterade® is a medical food, it is intended to be used under the supervision of a healthcare provider. You will need a prescription if you are seeking reimbursement from your insurance company.
How should I take enterade®?
Use as directed by your healthcare provider, typical use is two 8 ounce bottles per day.
When should I drink enterade®?
Directed by your healthcare provider, typical use of enterade® is 30 minutes before a meal or 1 hour after consuming food. Patients preferred chilled or over ice. Do not mix enterade® with other products.
What side effects can enterade® manage?
- Diarrhea secondary to cancer treatment
- General GI symptoms
What are Amino Acids?
Amino Acids are the building blocks of cells in your body that make the proteins you need to survive. They are obtained from the foods you eat and drink.
What side effects can I expect from enterade®?
enterade® is a medical food. Ingredients are determined generally recognized as safe or approved by FDA.
In clinical studies with enterade® no side effects were reported. If you nevertheless experience negative effects, please contact your health care provider.
Does enterade® interfere with any medications?
enterade® has not been reported to interfere with any medications, but consult your healthcare provider with concerns.
How much sugar is in enterade®?
Can I take any other medications for nausea, vomiting, diarrhea?
Why Some Foods Are Taboo
Chemotherapy suppresses your immune system, which may affect what you should and should not eat until your immune function is back to its full potential.
Many people experience neutropenia related to chemotherapy. Neutropenia refers to a reduced number of white blood cells called neutrophils. These are white blood cells that fight off bacteria that enter the body.
Ordinarily, when you eat foods containing harmful bacteria, these white blood cells fight them off and youâre not aware of their presence. Chemotherapy can change that.
Certain foodsthink raw or under-cooked foodscan actually make you sick. If your immune system is already tied up fighting on other fronts, the sickness can become more serious than a case of diarrhea or a bellyache.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 48 million Americans suffer foodborne illnesses annually. If your immune system is weakened, the chance of severe illness, hospitalization, and even death increase with one of these illnesses.
Not only are ordinary infections worse than they otherwise would be, but you are more likely to develop infections that would never even begin if your immune system was in good order.
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What Helps Nausea Beyond Your Prescriptions
In another article, I taught you how to Identify Your Source of Nausea. Now that we have been able to identify where the nausea is coming from, you may be asking yourself what helps nausea? Here are some ways to avoid or treat nausea that have worked for other people. There are many options for herbal and folk remedies that have been time tested to combat mild nausea. Here are a few of my recommendations that worked for us.
It is available in tea and candy form. Peppermint has long been used as a folk remedy for nausea. I can say that it does work for mild to moderate nausea. For us, it seemed to be that the peppermint candies or breath mints worked a little better than the peppermint teas. This is most likely because the intensity of the mint is much higher in breath mints than in tea.
A classic sore stomach soother. Ginger, which originated in east Asia, has been in use for thousands of years to sooth a sore stomach. It is available as a fresh root, a dried powder, a tea, or in soda form. Ginger does in fact work for mild to moderate nausea. Be warned in advance though, ginger is in fact a warm spicy flavor, not a mild sweet flavor. Its warm spicy flavor often takes people by surprise!
3. Sipping Liquids
4. Rubbing Alcohol
5. Farting and Burping
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.
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Avoid Foods And Behaviors That Tend To Trigger Nausea
- Some foods are triggers for nausea for unexplained reasons. Some of these reasons may be psychological. It is best to avoid these foods for optimal nutrition. The time that it takes to recover from an episode is time that the body is missing out on good nutrition.
- Foods that are harder to digest and stay in the stomach longer can be triggers for nausea. These foods are usually higher fat foods such as fried foods and foods prepared with a lot of butter or oil.
- Spicy foods are usually not tolerated well.
- Some behaviors such as eating in a restaurant may trigger nausea. If this is the case, order food to carry out and eat it in a more relaxing environment.
- Caffeine and smoking contribute to nausea.
- Limit or avoid smoking, and drink only decaffeinated beverages.
Request An Appointment At Moffitt Cancer Center
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Will Breast Cancer Treatment Affect What I Eat
Many people wonder what foods they should eat and avoid while having breast cancer treatment, and how their diet may change.
Breast cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and hormone therapy can have a range of side effects, some of which may affect what you want to eat and drink. Your usual routine may be disrupted, which can affect your eating pattern. You may also find that going through a stressful and anxious time affects your appetite, causing you to eat more or less than normal.
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Techniques To Help Avoid Nausea Entirely
As the old expression says an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So, is this still true today? While not all nausea can be avoided, here are a few ideas and techniques that you can try to employ in your every day life.
1. Avoid pungent smells.
Pungency is a concept that has to do with the strength of odors. Whereas smell describes the character of an odor. Pungency has to do with the strength irregardless of the pleasantry. For example, roses have a low pungency and it can be hard to detect their scent. Inversely, rotting fish has a very high pungency. Foods that have high pungency can induce nausea more easily than other foods.
2. Use soothing herbs in your cooking.
Rosemary, sage, thyme, basil, parsley, and ginger all have soothing scents that can help to keep nausea from occurring while eating.
3. Mask pungent smells when necessary.
A great way to mask pungent smells is actually through the palate cleansing technique. Red wine vinegar can actually help to remove the pungent scents that foods like brussels sprouts emit during the cooking process. This can help you to make more nutritious meals while still catering for a loved ones preferences.
Hopefully these tips and techniques have answered the question What Helps Nausea? Remember the key is not just to treating it, but avoiding it in entirety.
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Foods To Eat During Chemotherapy
Chemotherapy is a common cancer treatment that uses one or more drugs to combat cancer cells in your body.
Its symptoms, which may include dry mouth, taste changes, nausea, and fatigue, can make eating seem like a chore.
However, its important to eat a healthy, balanced diet during cancer treatment to keep your body functioning optimally. Foods that are mild in flavor, easy on your stomach, and nutrient-dense are some of the best options (
Regular Diet Sample Menus
Has information on diet and cancer prevention research and education as well as recipes.
Cook For Your LifeMany recipe ideas for patients with cancer. Recipes can be filtered by diet type or treatment side effect.
FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied NutritionHas helpful information on food safety.
MSK Integrative Medicine Servicewww.mskcc.org/integrativemedicineOur Integrative Medicine Service offers many services to complement traditional medical care, including music therapy, mind/body therapies, dance and movement therapy, yoga, and touch therapy. To schedule an appointment for these services, call .
The Integrative Medicine Service also provides counseling on nutrition and dietary supplements. You can find more information about herbal and other dietary supplements at www.mskcc.org/herbs.
You can also schedule a consultation with a healthcare provider in the Integrative Medicine Service. They will work with you to come up with a plan for creating a healthy lifestyle and managing side effects. To make an appointment, call .
MSK Nutrition WebsiteUse our diet plans and recipes to help with healthy eating habits during and after cancer treatment
National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements
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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.
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