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Breast Cancer: Diet Tips

You may feel tired and smells may nauseate, but it's important to keep your energy up during treatment. Here are some suggestions.
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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!

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Purpose of This Summary This PDQ cancer information summary for health professionals provides comprehensive, peer-reviewed, evidence-based information about breast cancer prevention. It is intended as a resource to inform and assist clinicians who care for cancer patients. It does not provide formal guidelines or recommendations for making health care decisions. Reviewers and Updates This summary is reviewed regularly and updated as necessary by the PDQ Screening and Prevention Editorial...

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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 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.

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.

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