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You may find that cancer treatment has affected your sense of taste. Here are some tips to help food taste better.
You may find that cancer or cancer treatment has affected your sense of taste. Food may seem to lack flavor or taste too sweet, salty or metallic.
Usually these changes are temporary and will improve with time. In the meantime, do what you can to maintain your calorie intake and meet your body’s protein, vitamin and mineral needs.
If you normally follow a specific diet, such as one that’s low in sodium or fat or designed for people with diabetes, it may be necessary to loosen those restrictions for a while. You’ll want to allow for more variety so that you can increase your chances of getting adequate nutrition. Check with your doctor to make sure it’s all right to relax your dietary restrictions, as changes to your diet may affect your medications.
Here are some suggestions for selecting and preparing foods. Experiment with these ideas until you find combinations that appeal to you.
Note: If your mouth or throat is sore, avoid spices, acidic foods, and hot foods or beverages, which may be irritating.
Try different sauces, marinades, seasonings and other ingredients. These can help perk up the taste of food.
While cooking, add:
Other suggestions to add flavor include:
Tone down overly sweet foods:
Try foods that are less sweet:
In place of sweet snacks, choose other foods, such as:
If syrup, jam or sugar tastes too sweet, try butter or margarine on cooked cereal, toast and pancakes.
A little sugar may tone down the saltiness of some foods. Cook foods without adding salt or seasonings containing salt. Avoid processed foods that contain a lot of sodium. Look for products labeled reduced sodium or low sodium. Try bland, mild-flavored foods.
If the meat is fresh and cooked properly, but it just doesn’t taste right, serve other foods that contain protein, such as:
Other suggestions for meat:
If your cancer treatment has weakened your immune system, some of these foods may not be safe for you. Practice food safety by keeping foods at safe temperatures. Don’t let perishable foods sit out for more than an hour. Avoid unpasteurized juice, cheese or milk, and raw or undercooked meats.
If these measures don’t help or if you’re losing weight, ask your doctor or a registered dietitian for further advice.
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