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Foods to Avoid While on Chemo
When battling cancer, it is crucial to maintain a healthy diet. That means eliminating certain foods from your pantry and fridge. But which foods should you specifically avoid while on chemo, and how can you easily do so?
As you go through chemo treatment, you should avoid certain foods. What you eat directly impacts your health and your body’s ability to maintain strength. It’s important to support your nutrition as you are treated for cancer. For the most part, avoid eating heavy and sugary foods. Anything excessively greasy or fatty isn’t good either. Acidic foods and drinks can irritate mouth sores and worsen other side effects of chemo. Strongly scented foods and large portion sizes can trigger nausea and vomiting. Even some natural foods should be avoided, depending on the side effects that you experience most. When you need added nutrition but are having difficulty, try drinking healthy meal replacement shakes.
At ENU, we formulate nutritional supplements for chemo patients. Our meal replacement shakes contain the right blend of nutrients to support nutrition while undergoing treatment. Visit our website today to learn more about why ENU Nutritional Shakes are ideal for chemo patients.
Why Should You Avoid Certain Foods While on Chemo?
Chemotherapy is an intense cancer treatment that introduces toxins into your body. The aim is that the toxins will kill cancer cells. During that process, patients can experience negative side effects. These include nausea, mouth sores, taste fatigue, and more. When you eat certain foods, they can contribute to those side effects.
Patients need to support their health with the right diet when undergoing chemo. Certain foods have attributes that interfere with chemo treatment or negatively impact a patient’s health. In truth, there are a lot of foods you should avoid while on chemo. These include foods that can cause other illnesses. While some foods worsen the side effects of chemo, others can cause food-borne illness, which can cause further complications.
As your body battles cancer, it requires additional nutrition. Eating foods that induce nausea or vomiting can prevent your body from absorbing the nutrients it needs. It can cause dehydration, which can result in weakness and fatigue. Aggravating side effects of chemo can lead to malnutrition and involuntary weight loss. A balanced diet, free from nausea-triggering foods, can help cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.
Maintaining that diet isn’t always easy. It’s important to speak with your doctor when creating a food plan while on chemo. There may be certain foods you didn’t know should be avoided that you’ve continued to eat.
Types of Foods to Avoid While on Chemo
There are certain types of foods to avoid while on chemo, as a general rule. Certain attributes can worsen the side effects of chemo, including nausea and mouth sores. If you’re unsure whether or not a specific food is good to eat while on chemo, see if it falls into one of these categories:
- Overly processed
While these are broad categories, they can help you determine whether or not you should eat certain foods while on chemo. Greasy foods can contribute to nausea and induce vomiting. Fatty foods can make you feel sluggish while on chemo. Undercooked foods make you vulnerable to infection or disease. Certain processed foods contain chemicals that interfere with health. Spicy and sugary foods can also worsen nausea from chemo. Acidic foods, even natural ones, can irritate mouth sores in cancer patients, which causes difficulty eating. Strong-smelling foods can also trigger nausea.
Chemo patients should avoid generally unhealthy foods. Eating your favorite guilty-pleasure snacks can feel great at the moment but may contribute to nausea and discomfort in the future. Chemotherapy is a rigorous treatment that can be very hard on the body. Eating these types of foods can worsen the side effects that you experience and make receiving chemo more difficult.
Specific Foods to Avoid While on Chemo
Some foods don’t necessarily fit into the types of foods to avoid or are just on the line. If you’re unsure if your favorite foods are safe to eat while on chemo, you can ask your doctor. Here’s a rundown of some foods that can be difficult to categorize.
Protein is crucial for chemo patients, but it can be dangerous in certain forms. Chemo patients should avoid getting their protein from deli meats or cold cuts. Smoked fish and raw shellfish are also a no-go. Even undercooked eggs should be off the menu. That means no runny yolks. Although dairy products can help add protein and calcium to cancer patients’ diets, unpasteurized yogurt or milk is not safe to eat. Cancer patients should also mostly avoid greasy pizza and fries while on chemo.
Whether or not other foods are okay will depend on your most prominent side effects. For example, after treatment, chemo patients dealing with certain stomach issues may need to avoid raw nuts.
All foods that you can eat should be properly washed and handled. Even eating leftovers that have sat in the fridge for a few days isn’t a good idea. When preparing to cook raw meat, try your best to prevent cross-contamination. Be sure to thoroughly wash your hands and all cookware. Immediately refrigerate perishable foods and pay attention to expiration dates.
How Much Food Should I Eat While on Chemo?
The amount of food you eat matters just as much as the kind of food you eat. Large portion sizes can induce nausea and vomiting, which cancer patients are already prone to experiencing. It’s important to avoid eating a lot of food in one sitting, even if it is the right kind.
Instead of eating three large meals a day, try eating smaller portion sizes more frequently. Because nausea is a common side effect of chemotherapy, patients can have difficulty consuming the nutrients they need. When large portion sizes are paired with suboptimal foods, the risk of sickness is higher.
That being said, eating more calories than you’re used to is necessary while on chemo. Try drinking protein shakes as an alternative to eating large portion sizes. ENU Nutritional Shakes have the right nutrients for chemo patients and are easily digestible. You can get a significant amount of the calories you need each day by drinking healthy shakes instead of eating overwhelmingly big meals.
Beverages to Avoid While on Chemo
Since there are certain foods to avoid while on chemo, there are also specific beverages to stay away from. Some drinks can worsen some side effects of chemo, like nausea and mouth sores. Avoiding these beverages can help cancer patients feel better while undergoing chemo treatment.
Drinking acidic beverages is not ideal for cancer patients. Chemo can cause mouth sores inside the mouth and around the lips. It makes drinking and eating much more difficult. Acidic drinks, like lemonade, can aggravate these mouth sores and deter chemo patients from eating or drinking. When mouth sources are further irritated, it can also be difficult to talk or breathe. Instead of having coffee, try another energizing drink. ENU Nutritional Shakes are easy to drink even with mouth sores, making them ideal for chemo patients. They contain complex carbohydrates, which give your body a natural energy supply.
Cancer patients should also avoid caffeinated beverages, like coffee. The caffeine in coffee is a diuretic, meaning that it draws water out of your cells and causes dehydration. It’s harder to retain water and fluids when drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages.
Drinks that are either very hot or very cold aren’t great either. Extreme temperatures can also irritate mouth sores and result in other complications.
Should I Avoid Natural Foods While on Chemo?
It can seem strange to avoid natural foods while on chemo. After all, that’s where so many nutrients come from, right? Certain natural foods can cause negative reactions in cancer patients and should be avoided.
Depending on the specific side effects you’re experiencing while on chemo, raw fruits and vegetables can worsen them. These natural foods are often high in fiber, worsening diarrhea in cancer patients. Nuts and seeds can have a similar effect.
On the other hand, bananas are a great natural food to eat if you’re experiencing severe nausea and vomiting from chemo. They are easy to digest and full of potassium, which your body requires after vomiting.
When eating any natural foods, like fruits or vegetables, make sure they’re washed. Organic, non-GMO foods are best, too. Any unnatural chemicals may cause an adverse reaction in chemo patients.
Specifically, avoid grapefruit. Not only is grapefruit acidic, which can aggravate mouth sores in cancer patients, but it can stop medications from metabolizing. This can worsen the side effects of chemo, as a higher concentration of toxins can remain in your body.
Should I Avoid Nutritional Supplements While on Chemo?
Not all nutritional supplements can properly substitute food. Choosing the right nutritional supplement can help cancer patients feel healthier and more energetic while on chemo. The wrong nutritional supplement can have the opposite effect. The ingredients and nutritional value of supplements can indicate whether or not they’re good for chemo patients.
Here are some qualities of a nutritional supplement to avoid while on chemo:
- Low in calories
- Low in protein
- High in sugar
- Low in complex carbs
- Low in vitamins
Here are some qualities of a nutritional supplement to use while on chemo:
- High in calories
- High in protein
- Low in sugar
- High in complex carbs
- High in vitamins
High-sugar, low-calorie nutritional supplements won’t help chemo patients maintain their energy while receiving treatment. They may contribute to malnutrition and involuntary weight loss. The nutritional supplement you choose must be formulated for chemo patients, like ENU Nutritional Shakes. Our healthy shakes contain the right blend of nutrients. They’re easy to digest because they’re made with whey protein and contain four added grams of medium-chain triglycerides for fast absorption.
Unlike ENU Nutritional Shakes, certain nutritional supplements contain too much sugar and unhealthy ingredients, which isn’t good for chemo patients. If your shake doesn’t have enough complex carbs, it won’t give you the energy you need. Without enough protein, you won’t be able to maintain muscle mass. Not enough calories can lead to involuntary weight loss. Too few vitamins can result in a lowered immune system.
Because of the difficult side effects of chemo, patients may rely on nutritional supplements. It’s much easier to drink nutrients, especially when experiencing persistent mouth sores, nausea, and taste fatigue. That’s why choosing a healthy nutritional supplement is so important for chemo patients.
Before adding nutritional supplements of any kind into your diet, talk with your doctor. A medical professional familiar with your treatment can advise you which nutritional supplements are best to use while on chemo.
How to Avoid Certain Foods While on Chemo
It can be hard to limit your diet to only healthy foods while on chemo. Cancer patients need to avoid many foods but preparing well-balanced meals while sick isn’t easy. People undergoing chemo need a convenient way to avoid certain foods.
Healthy meal replacement shakes can be the solution to that problem. Of course, eating solid foods is still important. However, stocking up on easy-to-make meals isn’t always an option. Not to mention, it’s time-consuming and requires energy that chemo patients may not have. Sometimes, not eating anything seems preferable to inducing nausea. Constant queasiness can deter chemo patients from getting the right nutrients. Cancer patients may turn to their favorite unhealthy snacks just to have a taste of something they enjoy, which can stoke some of the negative side effects of chemo.
Meal replacement shakes can offer the correct blend of nutrients when you need to eat but feel like you can’t. Soon, you may realize that drinking healthy meal replacement shakes is more enjoyable and tasty than eating bland foods that won’t trigger nausea. ENU Nutritional Shakes are ideal for chemo patients who want a delicious and convenient food supplement. Our shakes are made with whey protein, the easiest protein to digest. With the added grams of medium-chain triglycerides, our shakes are quickly absorbable, which is optimal for cancer patients.
Drinking healthy meal replacement shakes can be more enjoyable and beneficial than eating certain solid foods. Doing so makes it easier to avoid the foods you should while on chemo.
Chemo Patients Can Try ENU Nutritional Shakes Today
When you need nutrition and an easy way to avoid certain foods, drinking healthy shakes can help while on chemo. Chemo patients can start drinking ENU Nutritional Shakes by visiting our website today.