Diet during cancer treatment: Tips to combat nausea
August 25, 2014 | by Dominique Grignetti
Nausea is the one of the most well-known, and dreaded, side effects of cancer treatment — and with good reason. Beyond the quality-of-life issues that it causes, severe nausea can prevent patients from receiving enough nutrients and calories at a time when they need every edge they can get.
A few simple actions, however, can help alleviate, or at least ease, food-related nausea, ensuring that patients can keep down the food they so desperately need. Here is what the National Cancer Institute (NCI) recommends to help control nausea.
Managing with food
- Eat foods that are easy on the stomach like white toast, plain yogurt and clear broth.
- Eat five or six small meals each day instead of three large meals.
- Do not skip meals and snacks. Even if you do not feel hungry, try to eat something. Having an empty stomach makes nausea worse.
- Choose foods that appeal to you, and avoid your favorite foods, so you don’t link them to feeling sick.
- Sip only small amounts of liquids during meals. Eating and drinking at the same time can cause fullness or bloat.
- Have liquids throughout the day. Drink slowly and through a straw or water bottle.
- Consume foods at a moderate temperature, not too hot or too cold.
- Eat dry toast or crackers before getting out of bed if you have nausea in the morning.
- Plan when is best for you to eat around your treatments.
- Check out this NCI guide of foods to that are easy on the stomach, along with questions to ask your doctor about nausea during cancer treatment.
- Do relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation.
- Talk with your doctor about medicine to prevent nausea.
- Rest after meals, sitting up.
- Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
- Keep a record of when you feel nauseous and why.
- Avoid foods and drinks with strong smells.
- Keep areas well ventilated with fresh air.
- Do yoga if you feel up to it. Many practitioners believe that yoga helps ease nausea and other side effects that come with chemotherapy.
Learn more about becoming a patient or getting a second opinion at City of Hope by visiting us online or by calling 800-826-HOPE (4673). City of Hope staff will explain what's required for a consult at City of Hope and help you determine, before you come in, whether or not your insurance will pay for the appointment.