Diet is a huge determinant of our health and quality of life. While things high in carbs, sugar, and sodium taste delicious, they harm our body in more ways than we can imagine. For this reason, every person should maintain a balanced diet to live a healthy and fulfilling life. However, eating a nutritious diet is much more important for mesothelioma patients experiencing cancer symptoms and the side effects of its treatments. As a result, most mesothelioma patients are calorie deficient and lack protein, which is essential for their immunity and recovery.
A significant reason why mesothelioma patients should make an extra effort to maintain a good diet is that cancer treatments often reduce appetite. But to support recovery, the immune system needs lots of vitamins, protein, etc. Without these nutritional factors, treatment won’t have its full effect, and the process tends to become more challenging. Therefore, there are some diet improvements mesothelioma patients must make, which includes:
1. Maintain a balanced diet
Some people find it more challenging to eat meals in this condition than others. However, no matter what the state of their appetite is, every mesothelioma patient needs to maintain their energy and a healthy weight. Because energy is necessary to minimize the side effects of treatment and fight off diseases and infections when their immunity is weak, mesothelioma patients must increase their intake of proteins and reduce the percentage of whole grains from their diet.
High-protein products include fish, beans, eggs, chicken, cheese, seeds, and nuts. Moreover, they should increase their intake of fruits and vegetables as vitamins are necessary to restore their body. Hence, starchy vegetables and healthy fats like potatoes, nuts, avocado, olive oil, etc., are beneficial.
Lastly, hydration plays a crucial role in body function, but most mesothelioma patients are often dehydrated. Therefore, you must make an extra effort to complete your daily water intake.
2. Eat cancer-fighting food
Some foods have properties that can fight cancer. Hence, there is a claim that a high intake of vegetables and fruits can reduce a person’s risk of cancer as they lower the risk of disease. Moreover, vegetables also contain phytochemicals and antioxidants, which are necessary for fighting cancer, as antioxidants prevent damage to the cells.
Such antioxidants are found in vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, tomatoes, brussels sprouts, corn, carrots, sweet potatoes, mangoes, cantaloupe, spinach, celery, etc. Moreover, phytochemicals are compounds that help the body fight off pathogens. Hence, food rich in phytochemicals such as apples, cabbage, carrots, broccoli, garlic, onions, legumes, soybean, etc., is beneficial for the body.
3. Limit the sugar intake
When a person’s blood glucose levels spike, it increases their risk of cancer. Therefore, mesothelioma patients must make an effort to avoid eating processed food that has a high concentration of sugar. This means that pre-packaged foods, sugary drinks, and sweets are off the menu. Instead, they must consume healthier snacks such as fruits or nuts and check the nutrition labels for sugar concentration when they buy anything.
Apart from sugar, mesothelioma patients should also avoid refined carbohydrates present in products such as white rice, pasta, white bread, breakfast cereals, etc. Instead, they should opt for whole-grain carbs, which are present in sweet potatoes, whole-wheat bread, whole-wheat pasta, and brown rice.
4. Eat frequent small meals
Nutritionists recommend that mesothelioma patients eat frequent small meals throughout their day instead of eating larger meals. The reason for that is that mesothelioma treatments such as chemotherapy often diminish appetite, resulting in weakness. However, eating small meals throughout the day would mean that the patients eat more food without overloading their stomachs and feeling too full. In addition to that, small meals are easily digested, which is beneficial for patients whose bodies are already weakened by cancer and cancer treatments.
5. Try liquid meal replacements
Most often, cancer patients are unable to digest whole and heavy foods. Therefore, if there are only certain foods that you can eat, then stick to them until you feel a bit more energized. Then, slowly move towards widening your range and include more things in your diet. However, if you are not able to eat a sufficient amount of calories and protein, then try liquid meals. Liquid meals include soups, broths, gravies, milkshakes, smoothies, etc.
6. Identify your taste buds
Mostly, cancer patients are unable to eat properly due to taste changes, which is a side effect of chemotherapy. However, that doesn't mean that they stop eating properly. Instead, try eating different flavors such as sour, sweet, bitter, or salty to identify which taste your tastebuds can accommodate. Then, incorporate food that has similar tastes and make it a big part of your diet until you are able to eat other things.
While these are some basic diet improvements every mesothelioma patient needs to make, you should still consult your doctor before making a new diet plan. The reason is that some mesothelioma treatments require the patient to avoid eating certain foods. For this reason, meet with your doctor and then a nutritionist who can help you plan meals according to your body and treatment's needs. They can help you maintain a healthy diet that will fulfill your needs and help you recover.