Diet - Standard format (pdf)
Find out more about Diet and brain tumours in the full fact sheet.
If you have been diagnosed with a brain tumour, a balanced diet could help you keep your strength and energy up, lower your risk of infection and help you recover well from treatment.
The Department of Health has created the 'eatwell' plate to show what kinds of food make up a balanced diet, and in what proportions they need to be eaten.
Apart from the contents of the eatwell plate it is very important to remember to drink enough fluids (at least 8-10 glasses).
Below is a list of diet-related side-effects of cancer treatments and some common suggestions on how to manage these side-effects.
If you are too tired to cook or eat you could:
Chemotherapy or radiotherapy can cause nausea as a side-effect. Your doctor can give you anti-emetic medication which can help you manage this. If you are having trouble eating because of nausea, you can try to:
These are some common suggestions for how to ease or prevent constipation:
Treatments such as chemotherapy can sometimes affect your senses of taste and smell. People have often described a bitter or metallic taste in the mouth. Below are some suggestions on how to make your eating experience more enjoyable:
A side-effect of steroids is to increase appetite significantly, and maintaining a healthy weight might become more difficult.
The list of food related side-effects addressed above is not exhaustive. If these side-effects get worse or if you are experiencing other food related side-effects of treatment, discuss them with your doctor or a registered dietitian who can assist you further.
The ketogenic diet (KD) is a special high fat, low carbohydrate diet which also requires careful measurement of proteins. It is called ketogenic because it restricts carbohydrate intake, forcing the body to produce an alternative form of energy molecule from fat, called ketones. This diet was first used almost a century ago as a way to manage epilepsy in children who didn't respond to existing medication.
Over the past few years there has been a surge in interest regarding the potential of the KD in treating brain tumours and related seizures. Supporters of the KD argue that cancer cells are dependent solely on sugars (simple carbohydrates) and so strictly reducing the intake of carbohydrates and sugar can starve the tumour, while the body fulfils its energy needs by producing and using ketone molecules.
Unfortunately, there is currently no scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of the KD in treating brain tumours. If you still want to try this diet, please consult with your doctor or registered dietitian because, without proper monitoring, KD can cause a rapid and potentially harmful loss of weight. It can also affect your standard treatment and interfere with observations of your condition by your medical team. Consultation with your doctor is particularly important for anyone with a pre-existing medical condition, such as diabetes.
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