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
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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
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.
What helps when I have mouth sores or dry mouth from chemo?
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can reduce your saliva and cause dry
mouth. Expect mouth sores or tender gums as well, because treatment pummels
your immune system. Here are a few tricks that may help.
When you have dry mouth, keep water by your side and take small sips to help
you swallow and talk. Sweet, tart foods like lemonade help create more saliva
-- but don't try this if you have mouth sores. Also, you may find that adding
gravy or sauces to food will help you swallow bites more easily.
Some women have found that sucking on a peppermint, ice chips or a Popsicle
during chemo can help keep mouth sores from developing.