Treatments for cancer can affect your appetite, as well as your sense of taste and smell.
Yet good nutrition is really important to help support your immune system, rebuild body tissue and help you cope better with treatment. Here are our top 10 tips to ensure you get the nutrients you need.
Stay hydrated. This is important to help your kidneys function, and to reduce fatigue, control your appetite and regulate your bowel habits.
Experiment with flavour. Water and meat in particular can become distasteful when you’re having chemotherapy. Flavoured mineral water, carbonated water or fruit teas might be a better choice. And try alternative sources of protein to meat, such as fish, eggs, low-fat yoghurt or cheese and pulses.
Keep your weight stable. If you have lost your appetite, eat five or six small snacks throughout the day rather than three large meals. Include small portions of carbohydrate-rich foods such as bread, pasta, rice and potatoes in every meal and choose full fat versions of dairy produce.
Manage weight gain. If you’re gaining weight, be as physically active as possible, avoid high-fat or high sugar foods and fill up instead on fruits, vegetables and lean proteins such as fish and poultry.
Prevent constipation. Keep hydrated, consume more fibre in your diet from wholegrains and fresh fruit or vegetables and keep physically active.
Ease diarrhoea. Avoid fried foods, caffeine, artificial sweeteners, high fibre breakfast cereals or breads and raw fruits and vegetables. Foods that may help include white bread, rice, ripe bananas and apple puree. Remember to drink more to replace any fluid you lose.
Relieve mouth sores. Avoid salty, spicy, sharp or acidic foods. Also be wary of foods that are extremely hot or cold. Opt for tepid food and drinks instead. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day and rinse your mouth with salt water after meals too.
Control nausea. Eat cool, bland foods such as toast or crackers, chew on crystallized ginger, or sip some peppermint or ginger tea to help relieve this. Avoid fried or strong smelling foods and try to keep away from cooking smells when preparing food at home.
Avoid nutritional supplements. Some supplements may interfere with the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist or dietitian before taking any supplements.
Beat the metallic taste from chemo. Eat tart foods and use plenty of spices and herbs to boost the flavour in food and cut through any unpleasant paste in your mouth – add some ginger or cinnamon for example.
If you would like details about the nutritional advice on offer at the LOC, contact the supportive services co-ordinator on 0207 317 2628 or email firstname.lastname@example.org