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Diet During Chemotherapy

Diet During Chemotherapy

Cancer changes almost everything in one's life. It is hard to fight the repercussions of cancer treatment. Irrespective of whether you're getting treated in the best cancer hospitals, it is still the hardest thing you'll do in your entire life. Fighting cancer takes place in many forms. It may happen through your treatment processes such as immunotherapy, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy. It may happen as you push yourself to exercise daily to try and lead a healthy life. It happens within you when you fight depression and anxiety. Cancer is a war on all fronts, and we must win this war at all costs.

Chemotherapy is rough on your body and mind. If you used to be a foodie, you're going to hate chemo. Chemotherapy generally uses a combination of drugs to combat cancer. This may cause several side effects. Common cancer treatment side effects include dry mouth, less salivation, reduced appetite, frequent nausea, fatigue, aversion to food items, changed taste in the mouth, etc. All these side effects contribute to loss of appetite. Taking proper food during chemotherapy is very important.

How can we change that?

While you undergo preventive care, rehabilitative care, or if a loved one is going through palliative care, you must be cautious with food. Not only do you need to maintain your diet, but you must also make sure not to feel demotivated while looking at food.

How To Make Friends With Food During Chemotherapy

Also Read: Integrative oncology: Nutrition during chemotherapy

The first thing you can do is go for diet and metabolic counselling for cancer. This will help you understand the changes your body is going through and how you can accommodate these changes.

Let's look at all the other things you can do to be friends with your food:

  • Try sauce-ing it up - Chemotherapy can be harsh on your taste buds. You will find it very difficult to take food during chemotherapy. If you think the food is too bland, just add some flavorful sauces. Barbecue sauce, teriyaki sauce, and ketchup without preservatives are good options. Make sure that you don't add too much of anything spicy. For texture and flavour, you can also add tiny pieces of cheese and Nuts.
  • Mix it up for your taste buds- Food can taste different when you're on chemotherapy. If your food is starting to taste too sweet, you can add salt, lemon, etc. You can even opt for other options like healthy nachos, fruit juices, buttermilk, etc.
  • Broth for water - A lot of people will tell you that even water can taste different when you're on chemotherapy. The broth is an easy way to make water interesting and keep your body hydrated. Hydration is key when going through integrative cancer treatment. The broth can have pieces of vegetables, it can be mildly flavorful, and you can play with some spices.
  • Make it juicy- Is your food too dry? Just add some gravy! Gravy is a great alternative for your palate. You can have mashed potatoes with gravy or biscuits with gravy. It is nutritious and acts as a palate cleanser as well.

When you have cancer symptoms, you need to eat in such a way that you can preserve your energy. Eating enough food is often not a concern when you're in good health. But that can be a real challenge when you're dealing with cancer. This can be met with integrative Cancer Treatment.

How To Make Friends With Food During Chemotherapy

Also Read: Natural Remedies For Treatment Side Effects

You may need extra protein and calories when you're on cancer treatment. You can add some sauces and gravies to your food If you have difficulty chewing and swallowing. Occasionally, you might need to eat low-fiber food. An onco-nutritionist will assist you with any changes you might need to make to your diet.

The doctor, nurse, or once-nutritionist will be able to tell you more about the types of eating problems you may expect and how to cope with them. The doctor may prescribe you some medication and other ways to manage eating problems.

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  1. Conigliaro T, Boyce LM, Lopez CA, Tonorezos ES. Food Intake During Cancer Therapy: A Systematic Review. Am J Clin Oncol. 2020 Nov;43(11):813-819. doi: 10.1097/COC.0000000000000749. PMID: 32889891; PMCID: PMC7584741.

  2. Donaldson MS. Nutrition and cancer: a review of the evidence for an anti-cancer diet. Nutr J. 2004 Oct 20;3:19. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-3-19. PMID: 15496224; PMCID: PMC526387.

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