Four Foods to Help You Stay Strong During Chemotherapy

Part of There Goes My Hero’s mission is to provide nourishment to blood cancer patients and their families. During treatment, nutrition can play a vital part in staying strong and as healthy as possible during chemotherapy and radiation. Here are 4 foods (and drinks) that might help you deal with the side-effects of the the disease and treatment.

Water

Water may be the most important thing you consume during chemotherapy. Medications can cause dehydration, constipation, diarrhea, and dry mouth, all conditions that can be made better by drinking water. Try to consume at least 8 cups of water a day, and if plain water upsets your stomach or causes nausea, consider sparkling water. Avoid sweet juices and soda, since they can further dehydrate your body.

Water | CC / Pixabay

Sauces and Spices

Losing your sense of taste is a real thing that happens during chemotherapy. Although adding salt can at least add some sort of flavor, be careful not to increase your sodium intake too much, since high levels of salt can have adverse effects on your health. Instead, try adding barbeque sauce, ketchup, mustard, or vinegar while cooking.

Soft Foods

While a crunchy chip might seem like the best food to get your appetite going, soft foods can be better during chemo for a number of reasons. If you have a sore or dry mouth, foods like mashed potatoes, bananas, pudding, and popsicles can help alleviate some of the discomfort. Soft foods can also have more water content, which helps with dehydration, and can be easier on your digestive system.

Fermented Foods

Chemotherapy kills fast-growing cells in your body, and one of the well-known casualties are cells that produce hair and nails. A lesser known casualty are all the fast-growing bacteria that make up your gut biome. These bacteria can help you digest foods better, and create a balance in your body. Some foods you might want to consider are yoghurt or miso, or if you are more adventurous, kombucha (fermented tea) or sauerkraut can also bring back good bacteria to your gut. Be careful, and don’t eat foods that are too acidic, as they might upset your stomach. 

This information is not supposed to take the place of advice from medical professionals, such as your doctors, nurses, or a dietician. If you think what you’re eating (or not eating) is affecting your treatment or how you feel, schedule an appointment with your doctor.