Mesothelioma patients are nothing less than brave warriors fighting the battle against this aggressive cancer every day. A proper diet can help in fighting this battle. If the patient takes all required nutrition, there are far better chances of an improved prognosis.
There are quite a few treatments available for mesothelioma. However, the treatments of mesothelioma affect the patients’ food intake to a great extent. Chemotherapy’s side effects include loss of appetite, mouth sores, and nausea. Radiation therapy impacts the taste of food. Surgery affects digestion. Even some medications might lead to less appetite and constipation.
No particular food can ensure curing cancer. But having a proper diet can majorly strengthen the patients’ immune system. This improves their chances of quick recovery.
Making simple improvements in diet can go a long way. So, if you or your loved one is fighting mesothelioma, here are seven simple diet improvements that can help.
Table of Contents
Consult Your Doctor Regarding Changes in Diet:
The first and the most important thing to do is to consult your doctor. Your doctor knows your case, medication, treatment, possible side effects, prognosis, etc. So ask your doctor what improvements you must make in your diet. Some foods, even if they are high in nutrition, might not be good for you. Your medication and treatment play a significant role in your life. Depending on your situation, you might need to avoid a food item that is otherwise considered healthy. So, make sure to ask your doctor to learn more about mesothelioma and improve your diet according to your case.
Incorporate Cancer-Fighting Foods in Your Diet:
According to scientists, some foods have cancer-fighting properties in them. They can help prevent the spread of cancer cells. Most fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants and phytochemicals help lower the risk of cancer. Antioxidants prevent cells from damaging, and phytochemicals fight against pathogens. Foods enriched with these are broccoli, cabbage, carrots, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, mangoes, oranges, spinach, apricot, corn, garlic, red peppers, cauliflower, legumes and flaxseeds, and spices such as turmeric.
Consume More Protein:
The prominent effects of treatment and medication are nausea and loss of appetite. These cause weakness in the body. Moreover, some patients face swallowing issues due to which they find it difficult to eat. So it is vital to eat foods enriched in protein to gain energy. Eating protein-rich foods prevents muscle loss as well as weight loss. Protein-rich foods include dairy products, eggs, seafood, and meat such as lamb, beef, and poultry.
Vegetarians can choose alternative options such as honey, tofu, nuts, peanut butter, cheese, and protein powders. You will gain more muscle by eating proteins, which will positively affect your health by overcoming weakness and weight loss.
Consume Less Sugar:
When we consume sweets and processed carbohydrates, our metabolism turns them into glucose. Glucose is a simple sugar that fuels cells, which means it will also fuel mesothelioma cancer cells. Hence, why consuming lots of sugar is not ideal for you. But glucose is necessary for the proper functioning of the body and mind. You cannot drop it as a whole. You also need to check your blood sugar levels. So the key is to consume less of it and avoid the highly processed form of it. You can consume various fresh fruits, whole grains, and vegetables to keep your blood sugar level balanced. Avoid processed desserts and go for more natural alternatives.
Intake High-Calorie Food:
During or after your treatment, you might find it hard to intake the required amount of nutrients. Nausea and mouth sores make you not want to eat anything. The effective way to tackle this is to have high-calorie foods. You might only want to eat twice a day, so make it count by consuming more calories to fulfill the required calories target. Less calorie intake leads to fatigue and weakness. Avoid it by adding oil and butter to your vegetables, rice, and pasta. Add an avocado to your salad or snack on guacamole with chips. On salads, use high-calorie dressings. Use cream sauces with baked potatoes or pasta dishes. Eat cream cheese with a bagel. Incorporate a bread stuffing as a side to your meal.
Make any other combination out of these options; remember, even the little things count. For example, avoid using low-fat or no-fat food. Eat what you normally would, just the version with higher calories.
More Fiber Intake:
Mesothelioma treatments often cause constipation in patients. This messes with the patient’s food intake. A good way to tackle this issue is to incorporate more fiber and whole grains into your diet. Whole grains and fiber are also essential for a healthy metabolism. You can add fiber to your diet by consuming more plant-based foods, especially fruits and vegetables. These have a pleasant taste and can help someone who feels nauseous and wants to eat food that tastes good and is not like medicine. According to doctors, soluble fiber intake is the best option; it is present in foods like oats and barley.
The Number of Meals and Meal Preparation:
These might seem unimportant, but they can greatly improve your diet and food intake. You might not want to have a full-fledged meal thrice a day because of loss of appetite or effects on the taste buds, etc. Try having several meals throughout the day, as your heart desires. Munch on little snacks that are high in nutrients and also don’t overwhelm you. Any food of your choice that you love, take it in small quantities throughout the day at different times to maximize your calorie intake. Similarly, meal prep can benefit you more than you think. Stock the patient’s favorite foods, so you do not have to shop frequently. Prepare and freeze individual portion-sized meals which are easy to heat.
Both these things go hand in hand. Whenever you feel hungry, you will know you can have your favorite food, you only need to heat it, and that’s it. This way, having a meal will look less like a burden, and you will feel more inclined to eat.
Food and diet greatly affect the recovery process of a mesothelioma patient. For a cancer patient, a proper diet can be a lifesaver. A patient’s diet impacts the prognosis before, during, and after treatment. There are simple ways to improve your diet as a mesothelioma patient. If you have mesothelioma, or you are taking care of someone with the disease, or your loved one has it, try making some simple improvements in the diet for better recovery.