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During chemotherapy, the energy provided by a healthy diet can help you rebuild normal cells. It can also help you keep up your strength and fight infection. As a result, you may feel better and be more able to cope with side effects. Ask your doctor about your nutrition needs.
Fluids help the body produce urine and decrease constipation. They help prevent kidney and bladder problems. They also help replace fluids lost from vomiting and diarrhea.
Try water, unsweetened juices, and other flavored drinks without caffeine. They flush toxins from the body. Avoid drinks with added sugar or those with artificial sweetener.
Calories are fuel. The body uses this fuel to perform all of its functions, including healing.
It’s okay to be lean, but be sure you are not underweight. If you are, try eating more calories.
Eat calorie-dense foods such as avocados, peanut butter, eggs, and ice cream.
If you need extra calories, add butter, gravy, and sauces to foods (if tolerated).
Limit the amount of processed foods you eat. Also try to limit foods that are fried, greasy, or high in fat or added sugar.
Protein builds muscle, bone, skin, and blood. It helps your body heal and fight infection. It also helps boost your energy level.
Good choices include yogurt, eggs, chicken, lean meats, and peanut butter.
Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and nutrition. Beans are high in protein.
Try to eat a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans.
Ask your doctor about instant protein powder or other supplements.
Side effects may make it a little harder to eat well on some days. The following tips will help you to continue to get the nutrition you need.
Be open to new foods and recipes.
Eat small portions often and slowly.
Have a healthy snack instead of a meal if you are not very hungry.
Try eating in a new setting.
Physical activity, such as walking, can help increase your appetite. Try to be active for at least 30 minutes each day.
Round off your diet with vitamins from fruit, vegetables, and grains.
If you live alone and are not up to cooking, ask your healthcare provider about “Meals on Wheels” or other outreach programs.
For more information, go to www.cancer.org or call 1-800-ACS-2345.