Nausea may be one of the most infamous and unpleasant side effects of chemotherapy, but there are several things you can do to take charge of symptoms. Shayna Komar, a licensed and registered dietitian at Cancer Wellness at Piedmont, shares these seven tips for preventing and easing feelings of nausea:
1. Eat frequent mini-meals. “The best thing you can do from a nutritional standpoint is to eat small meals throughout the day,” says Komar. “Make sure you are putting something in your stomach every two to three hours.”
2. Stay away from strongly scented foods if you feel nauseous. Think bland, cold or room temperature food if you’re in the cycle of nausea.
3. Incorporate ginger into your diet. Try ginger candy or store-bought tea or make your own tea at home.
“Combine hot water, chunks of fresh ginger, fresh lemon and agave nectar if you need a little sweetener,” she says. “Warm ginger tea is well-tolerated if you have nausea.”
4. Utilize aromatherapy. Peppermint and cinnamon are also helpful for combatting nausea. Try peppermint or cinnamon tea, sprinkle cinnamon or fresh mint leaves on your food, or even sniff peppermint essential oils.
5. Stick to plain carbohydrates when you feel nauseous. Try dry toast, crackers or rice to settle your stomach.
6. Eat something before bed to prevent nausea the next morning. “My clients like dry cereal, such as cinnamon shredded wheat, whole grain oat cereal, corn flakes or Rice Chex, as well as cinnamon raisin toast,” says Komar.
7. Avoid the cycle of nausea in the first place. “Take the anti-nausea medications your doctor gives you and keep food in your stomach throughout the day by eating small, frequent meals,” she says. “Chemotherapy has come such a long way — I rarely have clients experience long bouts of nausea.”
Learn more about other chemotherapy side effects.