NUTRITIONAL HELP when you have cancer-related diarrhea

Nutrition plays a key role in keeping your strength up during cancer treatment.

Even when you have diarrhea, it’s important to stay nourished. Try these tips for fueling your body to help you keep pace with your treatment plan.

These tips may help you when you have diarrhea:

  • Low-fiber foods like plain yogurt, white bread, and white rice.
  • “Dry” forms of grains, such as crackers, pretzels, and toast, may be easiest to handle.
  • Try light meals of clear soups, such as chicken soup or bouillon cubes dissolved in hot water.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to replace what you are losing with diarrhea. Stay hydrated by sipping clear liquids throughout the day.
  • High-protein foods, such as skinless chicken or scrambled eggs.
  • Gingersnaps or ginger candy can be soothing to the stomach.
  • Potassium is an important mineral that is lost when you have diarrhea. Bananas, apricot or peach nectar, fish, and potatoes can help you replenish potassium.

Consider avoiding these foods while experiencing diarrhea:

  • High-fiber foods such as oatmeal and whole-wheat bread
  • Milk and milk products unless they are low lactose or lactose-free
  • Greasy, fatty, or fried foods
  • Raw vegetables and fruits
  • Legumes, broccoli, celery, and corn
  • Nuts and beans
  • High-sugar drinks such as juice and regular soda
  • Very hot or very cold drinks
  • Food or drinks with caffeine, like regular coffee, tea, some sodas, and chocolate
  • Alcohol

After a bout of diarrhea:

  • Eat 5-6 small meals and snacks throughout the day. Avoid eating three large meals a day.
  • Drink liquids between meals as well as during them.
  • Consider a nutrient-dense nutritional drink to help replenish and provide protein, vitamins and minerals.
  • Room-temperature drinks will be less of a shock to the system.
  • Avoid caffeine, carbonated drinks, alcohol, and milk.

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