Cancer and Nutrition: Foods to Manage Diarrhea
During cancer treatment, you need enough calories and protein. The foods you choose can also help you cope with side effects of cancer and its treatment. One side effect of cancer or cancer treatment is diarrhea. Diarrhea is when you have bowel movements that are frequent, loose, and watery. It happens when waste passes too fast through your bowel, and your body is not able to absorb enough water that it needs.
Foods to eat
These are good food choices if you have diarrhea:
Potatoes with skin
Farina or cream of wheat
Eggs cooked until the whites are solid (not fried)
Smooth peanut butter
Canned, peeled fruits
Chicken or turkey without skin, lean beef, and fish (not fried)
It may help to eat small meals and snacks often instead of 3 large meals a day. Eating foods rich in potassium and salt (sodium) are good choices. This can help replace electrolytes lost from diarrhea.
Foods to stay away from
Make sure to not eat:
Fatty or fried foods
Fruit seeds, skins, or stringy fibers
Vegetables with a lot of fiber, such as broccoli, corn, dried beans, cabbage, peas, and cauliflower
You may also need to not have milk or dairy foods. If you are not be able to digest the lactose in these foods, your symptoms may become worse.
Getting enough to drink
Diarrhea may cause dehydration. This means you don’t have enough water in your body. It is vital when you have diarrhea to drink at least 8 to 12 cups of fluids a day or as directed by your healthcare provider. Drink liquids that are at room temperature. If you have a sudden bout of diarrhea, drink only clear liquids for a short time. This lets your bowel rest. And it replaces the fluids lost during the diarrhea.
Your healthcare provider may also advise medicine to help stop diarrhea. Take this medicine exactly as directed.