Foods to Eat with Mouth Sores from Chemotherapy
Patients who are battling cancer must maintain a healthy weight to ensure that their body has the resources it needs to win the fight. That can be easier said than done, however; a number of common chemotherapy side effects make it difficult to eat or drink – including chemo mouth sores, also called oral mucositis – which can lead to malnutrition in patients who simply cannot afford to be underweight. So how can a person who is grappling with the effects of chemo treatment get the nutrients they need at this critical time in their recovery? It all depends on what foods and beverages they can comfortably consume. Keep reading as the team at Chemo Mouthpiece™ discuss what to eat when you have mouth sores caused by chemotherapy.
What to Eat When You Have Chemo Mouth Sores
It can be difficult to generalize about what foods patients may or may not tolerate when undergoing chemo because nausea, mouth sores, and changes in taste can lead to unique dietary restrictions that vary from person to person. That said, there are a few guidelines that can help patients figure out what foods are or are not beneficial during chemo treatments:
Get Plenty of Protein
When recovering from an illness or injury, protein is perhaps the most important nutrient you can have. Though it is more widely known as a workout supplement, protein is also an essential component in the body’s healing process; failure to consume an adequate amount can lead to a delayed recovery, a reduction in muscle mass, and general weight loss. Many traditional sources of protein – beef, poultry, and fish, for example – can be difficult or unpleasant to eat, given the many side effects a patient can face, but other options are available. A powdered supplement added to food or drinks can help boost protein intake to appropriate levels without requiring solid food. Try mixing some protein powder into yogurt or blending it with milk or ice cream to create a tasty snack high in this key macronutrient. Protein shakes with powder and water/milk are also a go-to for many people!
Watch Your Calorie Count
In essence, weight loss is a simple equation: just take the calories you consume and subtract the calories you use to find out if you are likely to gain or lose weight. In that vein, keeping your total calorie count up during chemo treatments is critical for maintaining a healthy weight. Try adjusting your diet to accommodate your symptoms: if you struggle to eat large meals, eat smaller ones more frequently; if you can’t handle solids, switch to blended meals or nutrition/protein shakes. Whatever you decide, keep an eye on the total number of calories you take in each day.
Stick to Soft, Moist, or Bland Foods
The less you have to chew, the more comfortable you are likely to be. Foods such as yogurt, apple sauce, and soup are obvious choices, and they can be combined with dry foods to make them easier to consume. The addition of sauces, condiments, and gravies can be helpful too, not only because they can make foods easier to eat, but also because they can boost the calorie count of a dish. In more severe cases, blending or pureeing food can give you a drinkable meal that can make consumption less of a hassle.
Avoid Spicy, Rough, or Acidic Foods
It may feel like you have little control over your mouth once the symptoms of oral mucositis appear, but avoiding certain irritants can go a long way toward making you more comfortable. Given that you probably have one or more open wounds in your mouth, try to stay away from salty, spicy, or acidic foods, or foods that are rough in texture. Citrus products, tomato sauce, and even toast can cause discomfort, making it that much harder to get the nutrients you need. Alcoholic beverages can have a similar effect, so limiting your alcohol intake is highly recommended.
Try Nutrition or Meal Replacement Shakes
For those who lack the time or energy to prepare a meal – blended or otherwise – meal replacement shakes can provide a viable alternative. Because these beverages generally contain a variety of vitamins and nutrients, they can be an ideal addition to a diet that may otherwise be lacking in important elements. Whether they are consumed before, during, after, or in between meals, they can boost a patient’s overall calorie count – an important part of combating malnutrition; plus, meal replacement shakes require virtually no preparation or planning, and they can accompany you on the go.
Prevent Mouth Sores with Effective, Convenient Cryotherapy Treatments
Though it may be impossible to totally prevent all mucositis symptoms during chemo treatment, cryotherapy – the use of freezing or near-freezing temperatures as therapy – has shown great promise for significantly reducing the severity of those symptoms. A powerful oral cryotherapy device like the Chemo Mouthpiece™ can chill your entire mouth by as much as 30 degrees over the course of the treatment, shrinking the blood vessels in the area and keeping those harmful chemo drugs at bay. To learn more about how you can mitigate the symptoms of oral mucositis caused by chemotherapy, visit us online or call (866) 461-7518 today.