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Published on March 17, 2015

Gentle Sustenance

March 17, 2015

Fruit SaladIf someone you love is undergoing chemotherapy, they may not feel much like eating. Read on for suggestions to help your loved one—or yourself—stay nourished while ill.

Serious illness and medical regimens such as chemotherapy and radiation can take a toll on the appetite. Foods may taste different and people may experience symptoms, such as constipation or diarrhea, which make them unwilling to eat. Nausea may also take away appetite. However, it’s important to maintain healthy eating habits, while respecting the body’s “new normal.”

  • Keep up the habit of eating. You or your loved one may not want to eat large meals or even smell food. Try snacks such as peanut butter and crackers, pita bread with a mild fruit or veggie spread, and pureed soups. Vegetarian cookbooks offer a selection of imaginative soups and broths that may pique the appetite.
  • Keep your foods safe. People with cancer may have a compromised immune system due to certain treatments. Be especially scrupulous about washing hands, rinsing fresh produce and preparing meats safely. Avoid raw honey, sushi and raw eggs.
  • Say yes to dessert. Try slightly sweet options such as custards, puddings and frozen fruit cups.
  • Stay hydrated. If water tastes metallic or unpleasant, try flavored, zero-calorie water beverages or fruit juice mixed with seltzer or mineral water.
  • Stay regular—gently. To avoid constipation, fiber is usually the nutrient of choice. However, high-fiber foods may irritate the bowels. Try cooked—instead of raw—veggies and soft fruits such as bananas. Rely on additional fluids and gentle exercise to keep things moving.

Milk and Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer among men after skin cancer, with 233,000 new cases diagnosed in the United States each year. Several studies found that avoiding dairy products lowers men’s risk for both getting and dying from prostate cancer. Why? It is possible that the calcium in dairy products changes how the body metabolizes vitamin D, resulting in lower vitamin D production, which has been linked with a higher risk of prostate cancer.

Interested in speaking with a personal nutrition consultant? Schedule an appointment with one of our registered dietitians, call:

Kishwaukee Hospital - 815.756.1521 x153310 or 
Valley West Hospital - 815.786.3719


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