Nutrition Tips to Manage Difficulty Swallowing
It can become a pain when you have difficulty swallowing. It will cause you to be unable to eat the foods and liquids that you normally would have. When you have a problem with swallowing it is called dysphagia.
Dysphagia can be painful, but it causes a person to be unable to swallow. It can cause them to lose weight because they are unable to get the proper nutrition that they need. When they do try to eat, it may come back up.
In order to combat this problem, you will need medical attention, but there are eight nutrition tips to manage difficulty swallowing. Chemotherapy and radiation treatment can also cause a person to have a difficult time swallowing.
The reason for this is because it can make the lining of the throat sore and inflamed. It will make it feel as if your throat is burning or a lump is present.
1. Eat smaller meals throughout the day instead of three large meals.
This will allow you to eat what you can without feeling guilty that you didn’t eat as much. When you eat smaller meals, it will make it easier for you to eat your food when you have a difficult time swallowing your food.
It won’t take you long to eat a small meal. For instance, for breakfast, if you normally eat a small bowl of oatmeal, eat half of it at 7:00 a.m. and the other half around 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. That way it is still like you are getting a full breakfast.
You are just spreading it out to make it easier for you. Oatmeal and grits will be easier for you to swallow since they are thin.
For oatmeal, you won’t want to add any fruit like blueberries because you’ll have to swallow them, unless you mash it up.
2. Cook and eat softer foods
Since you are unable to swallow, you’ll need to cook all soft foods, such as mashed potatoes. You can make the food softer, if it’s hard by adding sauces, gravy, or broth to them. You may not like that you have to soften all of your food, but it will make it much easier for you to eat and swallow them.
Some softer desserts you may want to eat include applesauce and yogurt. You’ll have to give up potato chips and cookies, unless you want to water them down, but they won’t have the same taste.
Since you are eating softer foods, you’ll notice that the foods you consume are much healthier. You may begin losing weight and feel better overall because you’re not consuming the same junk food you would normally eat on a daily basis.
3. Drink liquids with every meal
Every time you take a bite to eat, take a sip of water or juice. You will want to avoid liquids like alcohol and soda. These are acidity beverages, which will make it difficult for you to swallow the more you drink them. It may be a good idea to use a straw when you drink liquids because it will make them easier for you to swallow them.
After you take a sip, rest to make sure that the food and liquid is going down and not coming back up. Since you will be eating smaller meals, there is no need to drink a lot.
For instance, if you plan on drinking a cup of water with every meal, you can drink half of it since you will be spreading your meals out. There is no need to force food and drink down your throat.
4. Avoid spicy foods because it will make your throat burn.
Whenever you eat, don’t add spicy seasonings to it. Even when you cook, you want to make sure that the food isn’t too hot because will burn your throat as well. It should be at a temperature that it won’t cause irritation to your throat.
When your throat burns, it’ll make it more difficult for you to swallow. You may not even be able to get it down before vomiting. In order to avoid burning your throat, after you cook a dish, sit it aside for a few minutes, until it’s warm.
Don’t add any spices to it. Even pepper can burn your throat. Since you are avoiding hot and spicy foods, you’ll have to make different food choices when you go out and eat. If you happen to eat some spicy or hot food, you’ll end up either vomiting or not being able to eat it at all.
5. Cut the food into smaller pieces or mash it up fine it is a good nutritional tip to remember when you have a difficult time swallowing.
Foods such as tuna in a can don’t have to be mashed up. It is things like chicken and fish. You’ll need to cut them as small as you can and try to mash it up with your fork or spoon.
Even though, you are having a difficult time swallowing, you will have to give up some foods that you would normally eat, such as fried chicken. Baked chicken has a softer texture and easier to swallow.
To make it even softer, you can boil the meat first for an hour and then bake it. It may take longer for you to get the food as soft as it needs to be, but it will help you. You’ll still need to cut or mash it up.
6. Chew your food slowly
When you take your time to chew your food, it makes it easier for you to swallow. When people are eating food that is good or they are hungry, it will cause them to put big chunks of food in their mouths.
They will end up getting choked and have a sore throat. It can also make them vomit if they eat too fast. Since you are eating smaller meals, take your time to chew your food.
There is no need to rush to eat. It won’t take you long to chew a few bites of food. When you chew your food, it allows you to stay full longer. A way for you to chew your food is to not talk when you’re eating.
When you try to eat and talk at the same time, it will cause you to take big bites and get choked.
8. Choose salad options, such as tuna, chicken, and egg salads whenever you eat.
You may get tired of eating them, but you will at least be getting a good source of protein. At the grocery store, they have snack packs of tuna and chicken salads with crackers, but you don’t need to eat the crackers since they are crunchy.
Just eat the tuna and chicken salads by themselves. Since they come in small portions, you can eat the entire can at one meal. Since you may not get full by eating a small can of chicken or tuna salad, you may want to eat another one a couple of hours later.
Just make sure you chew it slowly. If you do happen to eat the crackers, soften it in a sauce first. It will be easier for you to swallow. You don’t have to eat all of the crackers. Just what you can until the next meal.