How do I maintain a healthy diet when I'm nauseated?
There are many good anti-nausea drugs today, so not every woman has a severe problem. Still, even mild or moderate nausea is enough to ruin your diet! Between the treatment and the stress, many of us turn to comfort foods that settle the stomach: mashed potatoes, crackers. But there are healthier alternatives, as well as little tricks that can help you through treatment.
Smoothies are nutritious and often easier to eat than other foods. They're so popular today that you can find plenty of recipes online or in most cookbooks. If you really aren't eating well, add a supplement drink like Ensure or Slimfast to your smoothie for the extra nutrition. Many softer, cooler foods also appeal during treatment. This is a good time to explore the yogurt shelf at the store. Also, experiment with alternatives to those comfort foods of childhood. Mashed sweet potatoes have more vitamins than regular mashed potatoes. So does oatmeal. And you don't need to load either up with butter for flavor!
Chemotherapy and radiation destroy breast cancer cells. But these treatments can also affect healthy cells and can change how you feel. They might cause:
Loss of appetite
Nausea and vomiting
Weakness and fatigue
A higher risk of infections
Medications and other therapies can help ease many of these side effects.
A nice, warm cup of soup may help you feel better. But remember, a cup is better than a bowl. Eating small amounts can help both your nausea and your weight.
Ignore traditional mealtimes and eat when you feel like eating. Some people find their appetite is better in the morning. In that case, eat your large meal then, and a snack at night.
Your doctor will tell you that you need to drink a lot of fluid during chemo. Don't ignore the advice! Those fluids help flush away the toxins in your body. You may find that water doesn't sit well on your stomach. You might try green tea or ice tea.
It is harder to eat healthy during treatment, but it's worth your effort to give it a try. You really do need those nutrients to build your strength to withstand the side effects of treatment. Even the National Cancer Institute will tell you that people with good nutrition withstand chemo better. Also, you'll feel better after treatment if you don't gain too much weight.