Foods to Help With the Side Effects of Chemotherapy

woman going through chemo therapy eating

If you are in the midst of chemotherapy as one of your cancer treatments or just beginning your first course, keeping up your strength and mitigating the side effects is preeminent. If someone is helping you with grocery shopping or you are still doing it yourself, you might want to refer to this article: foods to help with the side effects of chemotherapy.

Most Common Chemo Symptoms

Most patients who deal with chemotherapy have similar symptoms like fatigue, dry mouth, taste changes, and nausea. These symptoms alone can make you dread eating anything, but eating nutritious foods will keep you going the day before chemo, day of, and the day after.

What to Do for Nausea

  • Eat small meals slowly and frequently.
  • Low fat, bland, and salty foods are best.
  • Drink clear liquids throughout the day, not with meals. A straw will help.
  • Don’t make yourself eat your favorite food. It could make you dislike it later.
  • After meals, rest but do not lie flat. Sit up for at least one hour and watch TV, read, or spend time with a friend or pet.
  • Keep crackers by your bedside.

What Foods Help With Nausea?

Try oatmeal, cold cereals, cottage cheese, soup, hard boiled eggs, toast, dry crackers, plain pasta, rice, noodles, applesauce, sherbet, popsicles, fruit bars, soft drinks without caffeine, plus ginger or peppermint teas served lukewarm.

What to Do for a Poor Appetite

This is quite common due to pain, sore mouth, vomiting, and diarrhea that can make you lose interest in food.

  • Eat 3 small meals and 3 snacks per day.
  • Fix several portions of a favorite food and freeze for later.
  • Make mealtime pleasant and invite friends and family.

What Foods Help a Poor Appetite?

Eat high calorie foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, pudding, cooked cereals, smoothies, protein drinks, sandwiches, fruit juices, Greek yogurt, granola bars, bread, pasta, and potatoes.

What to Do for Constipation

  • Stay active with daily walks
  • Drink plenty of liquids, especially water, 8 to 10 glasses per day.
  • Slowly increase fiber into your diet.

What Foods Help With Constipation?

Eat kidney beans, chickpeas, and lentils along with fresh fruits and leafy green veggies. Berries, peaches, cherries, green peppers, melons and mangoes are great choices. Have bran cereals, and drink a hot non-caffeinated beverage like lemon water in the morning.

What to Do for Diarrhea

  • Try frequent small meals.
  • Eating a bland low fiber diet will help to bulk up your stool.
  • Avoid dairy products, fried and greasy foods.
  • Drink plenty of water and limit caffeinated beverages.

What Foods Help With Diarrhea?

Try the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and tea with toast). Eat fresh or frozen bananas and sports drinks.

What to Do for Mouth Sores and Trouble Swallowing

If your symptoms are mild try the following;

  • Cut foods into bite size pieces.
  • Cook these foods until soft like mashed and sweet potatoes, carrots, apples, ground beef or turkey.
  • Keep baby food in the kitchen.
  • Drink supplements like Ensure or Boost Plus.
  • Puree the foods your family is eating.
  • Ease the pain by rinsing with baking soda, salt and water.

What Foods Help With Mouth Sores and Trouble Swallowing?

Chilled soups, fresh fruit, cottage cheese, canned fruit, cream of wheat, chicken noodle soup, custards and yogurt, jello, milkshakes, ice cream and sherbet.

Contact New Jersey Cancer Care if you have any other questions or concerns about dark urine, difficulty swallowing, weight loss, or other side effects of chemotherapy.