Tips for eating well during chemotherapy

It's important to eat well when you're fighting cancer. Chemotherapy drugs can damage the lining of your stomach and intestines, though, causing side effects that can dull your appetite. They can also affect receptors in your mouth, changing how some foods taste.

Talk with your doctor about medications that can help ease these side effects. The following tips may also help.

If you have diarrhea

When you have diarrhea, consider these strategies:

  • Bake or broil foods instead of frying them. Fats can worsen your diarrhea.
  • Avoid high-fiber foods or cook them to reduce the amount of fiber. For instance, switch from whole-grain breads and cereals to those made with white flour; eat white instead of brown rice; and steam, bake or stew fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid dairy products except for yogurt and buttermilk.

If you're constipated

The following steps may help when you have constipation:

  • Eat high-fiber foods such as whole grains and fresh, unpeeled fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink hot beverages. They may help stimulate a bowel movement.
  • Exercise. Physical activity increases blood flow to your organs and can have favorable effects on the bowels.
Aug. 29, 2014 See more In-depth