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Cancer and Nutrition
What Every Caregiver Should Know
by Hillary Wright, Staff Writer
Loss of Appetite
Sometimes medical treatments and
therapies can cause a decrease in appetite. Here are
some ways that caregivers can help make favorite dishes
Try seasonings such as lemon juice,
mint, basil and other herbs and spices to perk up
the taste and smell of food.
Add sugar and salt to foods, if
intake is not restricted.
Serve food attractively and in a
Vary the colors of foods on the
plate and use garnishes such as lemon or lime
Colorful place settings and soft
background music can help make mealtimes more
Use a therapeutic nutritional
beverage such as ProSure to help reverse the
metabolic changes that can affect appetite.
Walk the dog or take an
early-evening stroll before eating.
Light exercise may help stimulate
Plan the biggest meal of the day
when a person with cancer is most hungry, even if
thatís early in the day.
Serve foods a loved one enjoys
whenever they feel like eating, even if itís not a
usual meal time.
Overcoming Vomiting and Nausea
If a person with cancer is suffering
from vomiting, nausea, or feels too full to eat, try
Drink liquids an hour before or
after eating to keep from filling up quickly during
Eat high-carbohydrate foods
such as crackers and toast if troubled by nausea.
They move through the stomach quickly and may be
particularly helpful if eaten first thing in the
Eat slowly and chew food thoroughly.
Rest after eating. Activity can slow
digestion and may cause discomfort.
food smells cause nausea, keep a person with cancer
out of the kitchen while meals are prepared - even
have them leave the house, if possible. Cold foods
tend to have fewer odors, so try serving more dairy
products, chicken or tuna salad sandwiches, cold
soups and cool desserts with fruit.
Change of Taste and Smell
Some therapies and treatments can change the way food
tastes and smells. Here are some tips that may help
alleviate these symptoms:
Serve food cold or at room
temperature to decrease its smell and taste.
Choose foods that provide
texture and crunch to help give a real sense of
eating that is not provided by soft, bland foods.
Use seasonings and condiments such
as salt, lemon juice, catsup, pickles and olives
that donít rely on smell to enhance food.
Avoid the area where food is being
prepared, as odors may increase the chance for
Eat several small meals during
the day rather than three large ones.