Ruth: In this series of blog posts, we will look at eating during chemotherapy from two aspects. Firstly, we’ll look at natural strategies to use when side effects of chemotherapy affect your eating – the “how to eat” part. Secondly, we’ll look at what foods are good to eat during chemo to optimize your health at this time, regardless of whether your treatment is affecting your eating – the “what to eat” part.

When undergoing chemotherapy (or other treatments for cancer), some common side effects that might impact your eating include:

  • changes in smell and taste
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • difficulty in swallowing
  • mouth sores
  • reduced appetite
  • diarrhea and/or constipation
  • fatigue
  • digestive problems
  • weight loss
  • weight gain; and the list goes on…

Any and all of these can lead to a marked change in your appreciation of food and can affect your eating habits, yet it is just at this time during treatment that nutrition is so very important. You require good nutritional support to maintain body weight and strength, to prevent breakdown of body tissues, to rebuild tissue, to fight infections and fatigue, and to get through your chemotherapy schedule.

So what can we do to encourage eating? And what should we be eating to support our treatment?

There are many different nutrition and lifestyle strategies we can use to promote health and to reduce chemo-related side effects. This series of blog posts will include the following topics:

How to eat during chemotherapy

  • food textures
  • food temperature
  • food flavor and taste changes
  • portion size and loss of appetite
  • meal times
  • food hygiene and left overs
  • presentation of meals
  • foods to help nausea and vomiting
  • lifestyle to help nausea and vomiting

What to eat during chemotherapy

  • foods to focus on
  • foods to avoid

From the information in these blog posts, you’ll be able to personalize your approach depending on your current needs – and adapt as your needs change.

It might take a little trial and error to see what works best for you, so enlist the help of family and friends and share these blog posts with them. To keep track of the posts, try bookmarking this page – as we go along, we’ll update it with links to new, related posts so you can read the full series.

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