How to Reduce Metallic Tastes During Cancer Treatment

Cancer treatments like chemotherapy can affect how your taste buds interact with different flavors, changing the way you experience certain food. A recurring metallic taste while eating or drinking water is one of the most common taste changes reported by patients. Although this symptom typically subsides after treatment ends, Dana-Farber nutritionist Stacy Kennedy, MPH, RD, CSO, recommends these tips to overcome those meddling metallic tastes:

 

Stay hydrated
Hydration is one of the most important factors in managing symptoms throughout treatment, but patients often describe a metallic taste during chemotherapy, making this a difficult tip to follow. “Add fresh lemon, lime, or orange to water for flavor, or a splash of 100-percent juice if plain water is unappealing,” Kennedy suggests. Being underhydrated can intensify taste changes, so it important to drink fluids regularly.

KRR_IMG_1451_15

Try adding a strong flavor, like fresh ginger, to your food or water. Sour, sharp or bitter flavors produce saliva, which helps to alleviate dry mouth (a symptom that intensifies taste change).

 

Eat foods that are more sour or bitter in flavor
Foods that are sour or bitter can be more appealing and may help produce saliva, which helps to alleviate dry mouth (a symptom that intensifies taste change). Kennedy suggests trying flavors in cooking like pomegranate, kiwi, citrus, and ginger.

 

Clear your taste buds
Before eating, try rinsing your mouth with beverages like tea, ginger ale, salted water, or water with baking soda. Then, try chewing on lemon drops, mints, or gum to eliminate any lingering “off-tastes” after meals.

 

Look into other options
Every patient experiences taste changes differently and it is important to speak with your doctor or care team about any side effects that you are experiencing during a treatment. Seeking a referral for a nutritionist may help you determine the best diet for you.

 

Check Dana-Farber’s Health Library for additional healthy recipes for taste changes, or browse through Dana-Farber’s free nutrition app for iPhone or Android.

Make An Appointment

For adults: 877-960-1562

Quick access: Appointments as soon as the next day for new adult patients

For children: 888-733-4662

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.

Latest Tweets

Dana-Farber @danafarber
Dana-Farber #researchers have shown that clonal hematopoiesis of indeterminate potential (CHIP) - the presence of s… https://t.co/ZlmXSeyKfZ
Dana-Farber @danafarber
CRISPR, a powerful new tool for editing the #DNA instruction manual in animals and humans, is proving a boon to… https://t.co/pCzS3riHPS

Republish our posts on your blog

Interested in sharing one of our stories on your blog? Feel free to republish this content! We just ask that you credit Dana-Farber, link to the original article, and refrain from making edits that change the original context. Questions? Email the editors at insight_blog@dfci.harvard.edu.