Karen Schule

Nutrition Tips During Chemo


If you are currently undergoing chemotherapy, then your body’s nutrition deprivation is currently twofold – from the chemotherapy and also from the cancer itself. However, now more than ever, it is essential for you to maintain a well-balanced and nutritional diet. The following are a list of tips to help you gain optimal nutrition while undergoing chemotherapy.

  • Keep your food flavorful. While fighting cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, certain foods will begin to have an unpleasant taste. Learn which foods start to become unpleasant and use healthy ways to keep other foods flavorful and enjoyable. It’s important to do so because you don’t want to decrease your appetite. Your body needs all the nutrition it can get. If you find that drinking plain water is difficult, add some flavoring to it. If certain types of food provoke unpleasant tastes, try to find foods with similar nutritional content and see if they taste more pleasant.                                      spices_feat_1
  • Add more carbohydrates to your diet. Carbohydrates tend to be digested well and are easy to eat; therefore, they’re a good addition to any chemo diet. Foods high in carbohydrates include oatmeal, toast with any nut butter, hummus, etc.
  • Stay hydrated. This will help you avoid constipation, which is common among chemotherapy patients. Staying hydrated will also help you avoid diarrhea and vomiting. Stay hydrated with water or green tea and avoid sugary drink and caffeinated drinks. Peppermint and ginger tea can be especially helpful if you are experiencing a lot of nausea.             image10    
  • Know what foods to avoid. Avoid greasy foods as well as foods high in sugar content. Also, once again, avoid sugary drinks and caffeinated drinks (including coffee). Also avoid foods with any strong odors as they may be upsetting to the stomach.
  • Eat smaller meals. Smaller meals will be easier to digest. This will further help with any nausea you may be feeling during your treatment. Remember that if you are eating smaller meals, you will need to eat more frequently as to not lose weight and maintain nutritional intake.
  • Eat cool foods. Cool foods are less likely to be reactive with your stomach, also helping with any symptoms of nausea.     gree
  • Keep a food, symptom, and weight journal. Keeping a food, symptom, and weight journal will help you remember what foods provoked good reactions and which ones didn’t. By also monitoring your weight, you will remember which foods successfully helped you gained weight and which ones didn’t. Keeping a food and symptom journal will also help you pinpoint any direct or indirect causes of any constipation or diarrhea you may be experiencing.
  • Get some exercise. Nothing rigorous is necessary, but getting in some light exercise can greatly improve your digestion. Some light walking for half an hour a day should be plenty.

Consult a dietitian. This is ultimately the most important tip. If you’re ever unsure about how you are reacting to certain foods, consult a professional dietician. They will be able to help you the most especially when it comes to issues you may be having with specific types of food.

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Karen Schule and Nancy Kyburg are best friends and nutritionists. Nancy is a breast cancer survivor who specializes in creating nutrition plans for people suffering from diseases. Both Karen and Nancy have spent their careers focusing specifically on women’s health and nutrition, and they invite all women to book a free initial consultation with them.


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