How to Ease Chemotherapy Side Effects with Food


Cancer treatments, especially chemotherapy, can make eating well and enjoying food a challenge for many patients. Food may start to taste strange, appetite may diminish, and other symptoms, such as fatigue, bowel changes, nausea, and mouth sores, may make finding nutritious, delicious foods difficult.

“During chemotherapy, it’s very common for patients to not feel like eating, for appetite to be low, or the taste of food to be off,” says Dana-Farber nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, who stresses the importance of maintaining a healthy diet to manage symptoms. In the video below, Kennedy explains how to combat symptoms by incorporating tart or sour flavors, eating small and frequent meals, and staying hydrated:

Hydration is one of the most important factors in staying healthy and managing symptoms throughout treatment, but water may not be appealing to chemotherapy patients. Try recipes like this pear, apple, and carrot juice, which not only hydrates, but also gives you several important servings of fruits and vegetables, boosts energy levels, and supports your immune system. The video below shows how to make your own fresh juice:

Additional health tips and recipes are available on the Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center Nutrition Services website or through Dana-Farber’s free “Ask the Nutritionist: Recipes for Fighting Cancer” app for iPhone or Android.

View more videos from Dana-Farber on Eating Well During Cancer.

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All content in these blogs is provided by independent writers and does not represent the opinions or advice of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute or its partners.