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Staying Healthy through Sound Nutrition During Cancer Treatment

By Faith Franz:

When treating a cancer such as mesothelioma, patients often overlook one of the most powerful ways to heal the body: nutrition.

A whole foods-based diet does more than supply the body with calories for energy; it provides the body with valuable vitamins and minerals that actually can help the body fight off cancer. During treatment, a proper diet can help patients also manage the side effects of aggressive mesothelioma therapies.

To optimally fuel the body to fight asbestos cancer, patients should eat a varied diet of whole foods while avoiding empty calories. Although patients will need to increase their calorie intake, fast food, greasy food and alcoholic beverages are not healthy ways to meet a newly raised calorie quota.

Cancer-fighting “superfoods” are often recommended to mesothelioma patients. Fresh, colorful produce should be present at every meal, and plant-based foods (including produce, whole grains and plant proteins such as soy, beans and nuts) should fill the majority of a patient’s plate.

More specific dietary recommendations can be made to help counteract the side effects of therapy. Nausea, diarrhea, constipation, mouth sores, dehydration and fatigue can all be managed with food choices. Often, hospitals offer patients access to a cancer nutritionist to help develop a dietary plan for dealing with these treatment-related conditions.

Specific Nutrition Recommendations for Mesothelioma Patients

Each patient will have different nutritional needs (depending on their current weight, activity level, dietary preferences and response to treatment), but all of the following foods can be incorporated into a mesothelioma patient’s diet with numerous benefits:

· Figs (aid with cancer recovery)
· Carrots (may actively prevent cancer recurrence)
· Mushrooms (boost immunity)
· Garlic (a natural antibiotic that can also curb cancer growth)
· Green Tea (rich in antioxidants)

Most other fruits and vegetables offer valuable nutrients (including vitamin A, C and K) to mesothelioma patients.

Even when making a conscious effort to consume these foods, some patients may find it difficult to ingest adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are notorious for suppressing appetite, and the treatments may make it difficult for patients to eat large meals. In these cases, vitamin supplements can be extremely helpful. Nutritional drinks such as Ensure or Boost can also provide fat, calories and protein in an easy-to-consume liquid.

Chemotherapy-induced nausea or vomiting (some of the most common side effects of mesothelioma treatment) can be combatted through starchy foods, such as rice or toast, that help absorb stomach acid. Sugary, spicy and salty foods should be avoided, since they can irritate the stomach.

Treatment-related digestive issues also can be managed through nutrition. High-fiber foods such as oatmeal can help correct constipation, while a low-fiber diet is appropriate for patients experiencing diarrhea. These above conditions can be improved by removing greasy or spicy foods from the diet.

Author’s bio: Faith Franz is a writer for the Mesothelioma Center. She combines her interests in whole-body health and medical research to educate the mesothelioma community about the newest developments in cancer care.

 

 

 

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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