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Jun 26, 2008 02:24 PM

Non-acid drinks for cancer survivor?

My Dad had cancer of the epiglotis a couple of years ago, and as a result of the radiation therapy, his salivary glands don't work quite properly...while he has recovered, he can't have acid foods...most specifically citric acid. He's getting tired of drinking water, but has found that many drinks contain citric acid (I'm talking about non-alcoholic drinks here)...any ideas? I thought of herbal teas, iced and hot...any other ideas? He was never a soda drinker, but any ideas are welcome. He's been drinking a lot of cold instant coffee. Feh! I have to help him find something more pleasant to drink! TIA

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  1. I found a small article in wikipedia
    that may be of a bit of help. It lists a few low-acid fruits, like peaches, apples, bananas, etc. Perhaps you can also flavour teas with these low acid fruits, or with cinnamon, etc. Green teas can be lovely too.

    Best of luck!

    2 Replies
    1. re: MrsCris

      Smoothies, Pacific brand lowfat vanilla almond mylk, chocolate hemp mylk ($$), carrot juice. Isn't coffee acidic?

      1. re: lgss

        Yeah I think it is, I don't know why he's drinking it. Thanks for the suggestions. I don't see him drinking smoothies, he is more of a seltzer with lime guy, but you never know. Thanks to both of you, I will take a look at that article!

    2. I have seen "low acid" orange juice for sale before - I dont know how truely gentle it is, but he might try it.

      Peach or pear or apricot nectar tends is much less acidic and patients under going chemo usally do fine with these.

      If the weather is not too hot, he might occasionally enjoy a warm mug of homemade chicken broth.

      I dont want to get off-topic onto medical advice - but ask his doc about meds (saliva stimulators and saliva replacers) that might help. There are many different types - do a google search to see some options.

      I have never tried this, but would adding a bit of a basic (base/opposite of acid) substance like baking soda or calcium carbonate (in Tums antacids) work to decrease the acidity of the beverage without sacrificing flavor too much?

      Dropping a cucumber or a few pieces of fruit dropped into water will flavor it lightly. I wonder if you could even get away with a slice - unsqueezed- of lemon or lime? The rind or zest of a citris fruit allowed to sit overnight in water may provide some flavor without the acid

      Would something like chai tea or chai latte work for him? Not sure how acidic it is, but it doesn't taste acidic to me.

      1. water infused with cucumber, mint leaves, and honey

        honey with hint of ginger or any other herb he enjoys, boiled in water and drunk warm or iced. i've done this with rosemary, thyme, sage, tarragon, and in various mixtures. add just a little bit of herb, since it goes a long way.


        barley 'tea' -- boil barley in a lot of water for an hour or more until you get a slightly thick liquid. lightly sweeten to taste and drink either warm or iced. (popular in singapore, taiwan and other parts of asia)

        if lactic acid is ok, try lassi (yogurt mixed with milk to a drinking consistency, with sugar and, if you like, fruit pulp added -- most commonly mango pulp). lassi may be especially good if he needs to gain weight.

        i really wish him my best in his recovery.

        1. You may want to google citric acide intolerance. It's not what he has, but I saw a site or two which may be helpful for you during this time :) Best of luck to you and your dad.

          3 Replies
          1. re: spellweaver16

            Thanks you guys for your generous help and ideas! I never cease to be amazed at the generosity of hounds. It's funny cimui, but I thought of barley tea this morning, and I actually have a big bag of roasted unhulled barley, which steeps pretty fast and results in a nice smokey robustly flavored drink, iced or hot. I think it's become clear to me that I need more info from him about what he can and can't have. I only know that he avoids citrus like the plague. And spellweaver, I also came upon some citric acid intolerance sites, they have something to offer even though it's a different situation. And to both of you, I love the cucumber idea. Great idea.

            1. re: prunefeet

              My husband's uncle makes and drinks alfalfa tea instead of coffee. We haven't tried it.

              1. re: prunefeet

                ah, boricha! yes, that stuff is wonderful, too, and you're right, it does steep much faster, so might be better for summer. all barley tea supposedly has medicinal properties for the throat.

            2. When my stepdad was recovering from radiation on his throat and chest, I tried coconut water (gentle and had calories for someone who needed them). I found it frozen in individual servings in a good Asian grocery.

              I second horchata. Oh, such good stuff, and very mild.