8 Foods to Nix Chemo-Induced Nausea

By Diana Bierman
Reviewed by Lillie Shockney, RN, BS, MAS

  • 8 Foods to Nix Chemo-Induced Nausea
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    Believe it or not, eating the right foods can help you better cope with queasiness. "An empty stomach may cause more nausea," explains Michael Stafford, RD, CSO, LD, oncology dietitian at the Medical University of South Carolina's Hollings Cancer Center in Charleston. "Treat food like medicine. Set times to eat and try to not skip meals, even if you're not hungry."

    For foods that tend to be easier on your stomach, click through our slideshow.

  • Bland, white foods
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    Bland, white foods

    Think white rice, toast, boiled potatoes or plain low-fat yogurt and puddings—these basic, low-fiber foods have little odor and flavor, so you'll easily be able to chew and swallow, says Stafford. Bonus: Prep time is minimal, so you'll spend less time and energy in the kitchen.

  • Starchy snacks
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    Starchy snacks

    Foods like crackers, toast or pretzels can help absorb stomach acid that may make you nauseated. Keep a few handy, like on your nightstand or in your car's glove compartment, in case your stomach acts up after a nap or during a car ride.

  • Oatmeal
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    Oatmeal

    Plain oatmeal or cream of wheat are easily digestible and don't have a strong smell. Not hungry in the morning? Don't be afraid to eat oatmeal for dinner! "If your appetite is better at a certain time of day, eat your biggest meal at that time. Or if you have favorite types of foods, eat them anytime, such as eating breakfast foods for dinner," Stafford says.

  • Ginger
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    Ginger

    Studies suggest that encapsulated ginger can help reduce the nausea associated with some types of chemotherapy. Pickled ginger or a piece of ginger candy may also help. If you choose to take a ginger supplement, make sure to talk with your healthcare provider beforehand.

  • Apples
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    Apples

    Fiber-rich apples may help clear nausea-related chemicals in your system. Not up for solid food? Skip the whole fruit and go for the soft stuff—applesauce or apple juice will soothe an upset belly or even help prevent nausea altogether. Not a fan of apples? Pears or pear juice may help in the same way.

  • Bananas
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    Bananas

    This fruit stimulates the production of mucus from the stomach lining, which blocks nausea-causing substances. And if you're having diarrhea, the bananas' pectin can help you find relief.

  • Clear beverages
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    Clear beverages

    "If you can't tolerate solid foods, try sipping clear liquids," Stafford notes. Water, sports drinks, tea and coconut water are just a few of the drinks that can help keep nausea at bay. They also prevent dehydration if you're vomiting. Stafford just has one caveat: "Drink between, rather than during, meals—ingesting fluids on top of food may fill you up faster and cause nausea." He recommends drinking at least 8 cups of fluids a day and adding ½ cup to 1 cup of additional fluid each time you vomit.

  • Icy cold foods
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    Icy cold foods

    Sherbet, Italian ices or even just sucking or chewing ice can all help settle your stomach, especially if you're too queasy to drink a whole glass of water.

  • Icy cold foods
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    Still not finding relief? Ask your healthcare provider about antinausea medications that you can take with your meals.

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