10 Healing Foods That Help Minimize Chemo Side Effects

If you are undergoing chemotherapy, you want to stay as healthy and comfortable as possible during treatment. What you eat during treatment can make a big difference in helping you achieve that goal.

“Chemotherapy and radiation treatments place their own burdens on the nutrition system in addition to the cancer itself,” explains Charlie Pieterick, RN, MS, ARNP, a nurse practitioner with the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle.

These healing foods may help minimize chemo side effects, though every diet for cancer patients should be personalized with a doctor during chemo.

Carrots give chemo a boost

Carrots are common in every diet for cancer patients. Certain plant compounds, which are also found in parsley, can make chemotherapy more effective by stopping a mechanism in the body that can sometimes interfere with cancer treatment, according to a study by the New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research. Researchers hope these foods “could be used to complement conventional treatments to potentially deliver better results for patients,” says senior scientist Arjan Scheepens, PhD.

Gravy combats dry mouth

If your dry mouth—a common side effect of chemo—makes swallowing difficult, try moistening your food by covering it with sauces, gravies, or even low fat milk. Liquefying foods in a blender will also help your meal go down a little easier.

Rice and bananas for diarrhea

Bland foods like rice, bananas, cooked apples, and dry toast will help bind your stool if you have diarrhea from chemotherapy. Avoid fatty foods, raw fruits, and whole grain products, which can make diarrhea worse.

Whole grains battle constipation

On the other hand, if you are constipated, drinking plenty of fluids and eating foods high in insoluble fiber, such as whole-grain breads or cereals, dried fruits, and dried beans or peas, will aid your digestive system. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends drinking eight to 12 cups of liquid a day for those undergoing cancer treatment.

Small meals help with appetite loss

Loss of appetite is a common side effect of chemotherapy, but instead of forcing yourself to eat three big meals, eat five or six smaller meals throughout the day to stay properly nourished and energized. Adding protein supplements and higher-calorie foods to your diet will help you sustain a healthy weight. However, every diet for cancer patients looks different, so consult your doctor to personalize your meals according to your condition, diagnosis, and needs.

Ginger candy eases nausea

Chemo often leaves you with a queasy stomach, but ginger candy and lemon drops work like a charm. Suck on them before eating, or sip on some flat ginger ale or cola during your meal. This will help ease your dizziness and settle your stomach.

Custard for mouth sores

Mouth sores can make it painful to eat even the softest of foods. If treatment has left your mouth in pain, try pureed foods that are easy to swallow, such as custards, rice, eggs, porridge, and soups. The blander the better, since salt or spices can make sores even more painful. Avoid sharp or crunchy foods like crackers, chips, and raw vegetables, as well as spicy foods like hot sauces, curry dishes, salsa, and chili peppers, which also irritate sores.

Orange juice prevents dry mouth

Ward off dry mouth before it takes hold by filling your diet with plenty of sweet and tart foods. According to the NCI, drinking liquids like lemonade and orange juice will help you produce more saliva because their tartness stimulates your saliva glands. However, do not eat or drink these foods if your treatment has left you with a sore mouth or throat, as they will make your symptoms worse.

Onion and garlic boost your immune system

A healthy diet for cancer patients always includes onions and garlic. Grilled, cooked, or raw, these cancer fighters contain high levels of antioxidants, which have been shown to stimulate the immune system’s natural defenses against cancer. In fact, Cornell researchers found that strong-flavored onions could even inhibit the growth of some cancer cells.

Lean protein maintains energy and muscle

The NCI recommends eating more protein when undergoing chemotherapy to give you energy and keep your muscles strong when treatment is draining. Opt for lean proteins like eggs, fish, tofu, and chicken. Many people with cancer find that red meat takes on an unpleasant metallic taste.

Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp
Pinterest
Reddit
Delicious
LinkedIn
Facebook
Twitter
WhatsApp

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

READ NEXT

8 Foods That Are Healthier Than You Thought

You will be surprised to see how many foods are actually healthy for you, despite of their myths and rumors. For example, spaghetti and meatballs is a great choice to

8 Dangerous Viruses That Can Cause Cancer

Viruses are tiny, infectious microbes. They’re technically parasites because they require a host cell to reproduce. Upon entry, the virus uses components of the host cell to complete its life

How to Make Water Taste Better (6 Ways)

Everyone knows they need to drink more water, but glass after glass of plain H2O can get boring. Flavored water alternatives, though, may not be worth it: There’s little or

6 Bad Habits That Are Damaging Your Brain

Many of us fall into a trap of bad habits that are damaging our brain. You should take care of an essential part of your body—YOUR BRAIN. Almost everything you

These Are the Worst Habits for Your Heart

The heart is one of the most important organs in our bodies. It pumps blood to deliver the needed oxygen and nutrients to the cells and tissues. As you probably

8 Easy Tips to Make Your Coffee Super Healthy

Many scientists believe that coffee is one of the healthiest beverages in the world. For some people, it’s the single largest source of antioxidants in their diet, outranking both fruits

6 Surprising Health Benefits of Eating Watermelon

Watermelon is not just water and sugar—it is nutrient dense food. This delicious fruit provides high levels of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants and just a small number of calories. Also,

8 Things That Can Damage Your Liver

Most people associate alcohol abuse with damage to the liver, but other factors can also play a role. These are the health conditions, drugs, and lifestyle habits that can cause

5 Reasons You Have Swollen Fingers

You have arthritis pain, and the inflammation in your joints causes your fingers to swell up and resemble little sausages. Or maybe you’ve chowed down a salty meal, and now

Scroll to Top