Nausea is a common side effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This may be due to the treatment or the cancer itself. If you encounter this situation after surgery, be sure to discuss it with your doctor or medical team.

Here are some practical tips to help relieve nausea:

  • Eat slowly.
  • Eat small amounts of food often. Eating some food in your stomach may make you feel better.
  • Low-fat, light, and salty foods usually work best. Avoid greasy, fried and spicy foods.
  • Recommend refreshing drinks. Drink liquids between meals, not during meals. Drink or sip liquids slowly throughout the day-a straw may help.
  • When you feel sick, don't force yourself to eat your favorite foods, because you may not like them.
  • Keep quiet after meals. Try to sit down for about an hour to rest-you can watch TV, read a magazine, talk to your loved ones, or enjoy the company of your pet. Do not lie down for at least two hours after meals.
  • If nausea is a problem in the morning or after a nap, place cookies by the bed.
  • Stay away from peculiar smells. If possible, ask others to cook. Dine in a room other than the dining room or kitchen.
  • If the smell of food makes you feel sick, avoid eating hot food and liquids. Try colder foods and main course salads.
  • Keep track of your nausea by writing down any specific food or event that triggered it. Check if there is a mode, if there is, try to change the mode.
  • Tell your nurse or doctor about your nausea and ask about medications that control this side effect.

Recommended food

  • Wheat cream, oatmeal and cold cereal
  • soup
  • Cold sandwich
  • cottage cheese
  • Fully cooked egg
  • Regular pasta, rice, noodles and mashed potatoes
  • Toast, dry crackers, natural potato chips or pretzels
  • Canned fruit, applesauce and jelly
  • Custard and pudding
  • Sherbet, popsicle and frozen fruit bars
  • Soda, juice and herbal tea
  • Low-fat protein sources such as skinless chicken or tofu that is grilled or grilled instead of fried
  • Peaches or other soft, mild-tasting fruits and vegetables
  • Clear liquids, such as apple juice and cranberry juice, low-salt broth, and decaffeinated carbonated drinks
  • Tea such as ginger and mint, warm or cold


Vomiting may be accompanied by nausea and is caused by treatment or food odors. If the vomiting is severe or lasts more than one or two days, please contact your doctor. Imagination and relaxation exercises may help. Here are some other tips:

  • Do not eat or drink anything until vomiting is controlled.
  • Try a small amount of clear liquids, such as water or broth, apple juice or cranberry juice, fruit ice without fruit pieces, ginger ale or 7-Up, pure gelatin desserts, popsicles, sports drinks (such as Gatorade), Vegetable soup and tea.
  • Start with 1 teaspoon every 10 minutes, gradually increase to 1 tablespoon every 20 minutes, and then try to use 2 tablespoons every 30 minutes or if you can tolerate it.
  • Once these liquids are tolerated, if you have problems digesting milk, try eating light foods such as mashed potatoes, rice, fruit puree, smoothies, fruit nectar, yogurt, and cereals with milk or soy.
  • When you feel better, drink and eat more potassium and magnesium-rich foods. Foods rich in potassium include bananas, potatoes, orange juice, tomatoes, and apricots.


Chemotherapy, certain medications, or lack of exercise may cause constipation. Adding more fiber to your diet may help. Here are some simple ways to add fiber to your diet and help constipation.

  • Try to include high-fiber foods in your diet, such as kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils, fresh fruits and vegetables, and dried fruits. Try to add some fiber to each meal.
  • Start the day with bran cereal or bulgur, or foods made from whole grains, such as bulgur or wheat berries. The goal is for cereals that contain at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.
  • Add unprocessed wheat bran to hot cereal and yogurt.
  • If you are not used to eating a lot of fiber, increase your intake slowly, as you may increase flatulence (gas) at first until your body gets used to more fiber in your diet.
  • You can also reduce the flatulence caused by eating beans by first soaking the beans in water and dumping the water.
  • Drink plenty of water-eight to ten glasses a day. A high-fiber diet requires a lot of fluids to function effectively.
  • Reduce your caffeine intake, because caffeine may cause you to lose water, thereby promoting constipation.
  • Drink a hot, decaffeinated beverage such as lemonade when you wake up in the morning.
  • Add exercise to your daily life. Please consult your doctor first.

Recommended food

  • Whole wheat bread and pasta, bran cereal
  • Cooked beans, peas and lentils
  • Raw fruits and vegetables
  • dried fruit
  • Prune juice and hot lemonade


Diarrhea can have many causes. You may get an infection from chemotherapy, radiotherapy of the lower abdomen, malabsorption, or antibiotics. It may also develop due to intolerance to milk or difficulty in absorbing fat. If you lose weight due to diarrhea, it may be due to dehydration, which means your body does not have enough water. Talk to your health professional to try to determine the cause of weight loss and get appropriate treatment.

If you have diarrhea:

  • Drink plenty of room temperature liquids to help prevent dehydration. These may include water, tea, Gatorade, ginger ale, peach or apricot nectar or juice. Limit caffeinated beverages.
  • Before drinking carbonated drinks, let them lose their fizz or stirring.
  • Eat more potassium-rich foods, such as orange juice, tomato juice, bananas, and potatoes.
  • Try the BRAT diet, which includes bananas, rice, applesauce, tea, and toast.
  • Try to eat smaller meals more often.
  • Avoid fried, greasy foods. Only eat spicy or highly flavored foods within a tolerable range.
  • Reduce high-fiber foods, such as whole grains, bran grains, and vegetables.
  • Try breads made with oatmeal flour or refined flour that do not contain seeds or nuts.
  • Avoid eating raw vegetables and unpeeled fruit skins, seeds, and gluten fibers.
  • Once the diarrhea stops, resume eating high-fiber foods, fruits and vegetables (consult your nutritionist and doctor first).
  • If you are lactose intolerant, please use dairy products with caution. Try Lactaid, yogurt or soy milk instead of regular milk.
  • The use of probiotics, L-glutamine and/or digestive enzymes may help improve symptoms. Please discuss the use of these supplements with a dietitian to determine whether these products are appropriate and which brands you may wish to choose.
  • Don't eat milk, ice cream and pudding for the time being, because they will make your stomach upset. Yogurt, sherbet, cheese and custard can be tolerated because these foods contain less lactose.

Recommended food

  • Creamy wheat, oatmeal and regular rice and corn grains
  • Canned fruit, nectar and applesauce
  • Skinless white rice, pasta and potatoes
  • Sandwich on white bread
  • Soup without cream
  • Cheese and crackers, graham crackers and peanut butter
  • Egg
  • Jelly and popsicle
  • Soda water and herbal tea
  • Nutritional drinks such as Sure, Resource, Sustacal, Pediasure and Boost

Loss of appetite

Problems such as pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or mouth pain or dry mouth can cause eating difficulties and cause you to lose interest in eating. Depression, stress, and anxiety can also cause loss of appetite. If your appetite no longer prompts you to eat, here are some suggestions to help ensure you get the nutrients you need.

  • Eat three small meals and three snacks every day. Eat by time, not according to your hunger mechanism-9 am, noon, 3 pm, 6 pm or any of your daily patterns.
  • Choose high-calorie foods, such as avocados, nuts, seeds, pudding, cooked grains, dried fruits, and vegetables dipped in hummus or cooked in olive oil. Use extra olive oil in the salad.
  • Snacks between meals. Choose fruit smoothies, high-calorie puddings, milkshakes, high-calorie and protein beverage supplements, sandwiches, avocados and nuts. Also, put snacks by your bed.
  • Plan for special situations. If you have to miss or postpone your meal due to testing or treatment, please bring snacks such as nuts, dried fruits or cheese and biscuits. Ask your dietitian whether these foods are suitable for your medical diet.
  • Plan your daily menu in advance. Make a shopping list of your favorite foods and drinks, and prepare the food. You may want to distribute snacks and place them in a Ziploc bag in the refrigerator so that they are readily available.
  • Ask for help preparing your meals. Friends or relatives are usually happy to help by preparing food for you. Some grocery stores offer shopping services that can be accessed through your computer. You are very important-ask for help when you need it, preferably before you anticipate that you will need it.
  • Fix a few servings of your favorite food and freeze them. This can make it easier for you to decide what to eat when you have a poor appetite or do not want to cook.
  • Make food visually attractive. Attracting attention is often the first step in eating. Charming colors and decorations, such as parsley, lemon wedges, olives and cherry tomatoes, help boost appetite.
  • Attract your sense of smell. Use smells to stimulate happiness, such as the smell of fresh bread baking. However, if you find yourself overwhelmed by smells at this time, please stay away from the kitchen and let others prepare for cooking.
  • Make your meal time enjoyable. Your dining atmosphere is important to encourage eating. If allowed, set the table and maybe add candles and wine. Whenever possible, eat with family or friends.
  • If you find it difficult to cook due to symptoms of chemotherapy, please consider calling Project Open Hand at (415) 447-2300 or Meals on Wheels at (415) 920-1111 to deliver meals directly to your home organization.
  • When you don’t want to eat, try milkshakes or supplements, such as ensuring an instant breakfast with carnations.

Mouth ulcers, difficulty chewing or swallowing

Pain and tenderness in the mouth and throat are not uncommon. If you have less difficulty swallowing, the following suggestions may help. If you have a serious problem, you may need to work with a nutritionist or swallowing therapist, or consider other feeding methods.

  • Eat small meals and snacks to make sure you get enough calories. Choose cool, smooth and light foods. Soft solids and liquids work best.
  • Cut the food into bite-sized pieces or grind it to reduce the frequency of chewing.
  • Choose soft foods or foods that can be cooked until soft, such as mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter melon (pecans and acorns), carrots, applesauce, ground beef or turkey, and tofu.
  • Consume liquid supplements such as Prosure, Ensure Plus, Boost Plus, or milkshakes that can be made in a blender.
  • Consider using a blender to puree the food your family is eating. When adding liquids to process food, remember to add high-calorie liquids—such as gravy, milk or soy milk, or broth—not water.
  • Use plenty of nutritious liquids with meals.
  • Adventurous. Try new sauces, gravies or different oils on food to make swallowing easier.
  • If you are sensitive to citrus juice, try apple juice, cranberry juice or grape juice or fruit nectar.
  • Prepare some baby food on hand to make it delicious quickly.
  • Try drinking liquids through a straw or as recommended by a swallowing therapist.
  • Avoid spicy, salty and acidic foods and drinks.

Recommended food

  • Nectar and apple juice
  • Canned fruit and applesauce
  • Wheat cream
  • Potato soup, chicken noodle soup and rice soup (juk)
  • Custard, pudding, yogurt and jelly
  • Popsicles, ice cream and sherbet
  • Instant breakfast with milkshakes and carnations
  • Nutritional drinks such as Sure, Resource, Sustacal, Pediasure and Boost

Changes in taste and smell

  • If red meat tastes metallic, don't eat it. Eat more chicken, turkey, dairy products and casseroles.
  • When the food tastes light, try sour foods such as yogurt, lemon or orange jelly or lemonade.
  • When food tastes or smells strange, try cold or room temperature food.
  • If you do not have nausea, vomiting or mouth sores, try pickled or spicy foods such as enchiladas, chicken with herbs or pasta.
  • Use hard candies to remove unpleasant tastes between meals.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene.


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