Cancer treatments can affect and temporarily destroy taste buds. Your sense of smell may also be altered. Changes in taste and smell can reduce appetite and create aversions to food. To combat this, try combinations of foods that make food taste and smell better to you.
Some people find that tart flavors, like lemon wedges, vinegar, and pickled foods, are better tolerated and tasted. If you have a metal taste in your mouth, try drinking water flavored with lemon before you eat.
If your food tastes too bitter, salty, or sour, try adding sugar.
For a metal tasting meats, marinate in sweet juices, fruits, or acidic dressings. However, if you have sores in your mouth, avoid the acidic marinades.
To clear your taste buds before eating, rinse your mouth with a swig of this solution:
- 1 quart water
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda.
For smells that trigger nausea, try covering beverages with a lid and using a straw to drink, choose cold foods that don’t need to be cooked – cooking can release smells that can be nauseating or overwhelming – and avoid places that have strong odors, such as restaurants.
A health promoting outlook
Once your taste buds start coming back, train them! Instead of going back to your old favorite not-so-healthy foods, train them to like health promoting foods like unsweet tea, leafy greens and whole grains! Taste preferences are learned and you get to have a redo on your taste preferences.
- Try tart flavors like lemon wedges, vinegars, and pickled foods
- Marinate foods in sweet juices, fruits, or dressings with acids – just be sure not to hurt your mouth!
- Cover drinks, especially nutrition drinks, with a lid and straw so that you can’t smell them
- Eat cold or room temperature foods and avoid foods that need to be heated, which can make smells stronger
- Once taste buds do come back, train them to like new (and healthy!) flavors and foods