If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, you should take special care to maintain proper nutrition before, during, and after treatment. This is because mesothelioma treatment can cause side effects that interfere with your nutritional needs and weaken your body in its fight against this cancer.
Stanford Health Care suggests that cancer patients eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.
Fortunately, many fruits and vegetables hit their nutritional peak in the fall. Read more about mesothelioma nutrition and the in-season foods that can help you or a loved one heal.
Why a Healthy Mesothelioma Diet Is Essential During Treatment
A healthy diet for mesothelioma patients is crucial during treatment because it can help improve your overall well-being and quality of life. It can also strengthen your body to help you recover from treatment and continue fighting the cancer.
Proper mesothelioma nutrition can help you:
- Improve your energy level
- Keep your strength up
- Lower your risk of infection
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Recover more quickly
- Tolerate treatment side effects
Unfortunately, side effects from mesothelioma treatment may cause patients to lose their appetite and make it difficult to chew. Mesothelioma survivor Arthur Putt was told he might never eat solid foods again due to side effects from chemotherapy and immunotherapy.
However, thanks to a careful liquid nutritional plan that blended fruits, vegetables, proteins, and fats together, Art was able to recover and return to eating a solid diet.
“At one time, doctors told me I’d never eat solid food again, but we showed them wrong.”
Getting Vital Nutrients
For most patients, eating a variety of foods is the best way to ensure the body is getting the nutrients it needs to fight mesothelioma.
Patients should ensure they’re getting enough:
- Carbohydrates: The biggest source of energy needed for organ functioning and physical activity
- Fats: Important for boosting energy, insulating tissues, and transporting vitamins through the blood
- Proteins: Strengthen the immune system and repair body tissue. Extra protein is often needed after chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery
- Vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants: Needed to help the body use energy and function properly
- Water: Vital to health because all cells need water to function
Every patient undergoing mesothelioma treatment has different nutritional needs. For this reason, it’s very important to talk with your mesothelioma doctor about your diet.
8 of the Best Cancer-Fighting Foods in Season for Fall
Fall fruits and vegetables include many cancer-fighting foods that can be beneficial during treatment. According to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, many fruits and vegetables hit their nutritional peak during the fall.
Broccoli is high in vitamins C and K, folic acid, and fiber. It is also among the highest in calcium, magnesium, and iron.
Additionally, broccoli contains phytonutrients. People with diets high in phytonutrients tend to have lower rates of lung cancer, prostate cancer, and stomach cancer.
“Broccoli is the only [vegetable] with a sizable amount of sulforaphane, a particularly potent compound that boosts the body’s protective enzymes and flushes out cancer-causing chemicals.”
There are many ways to enjoy broccoli. It can be prepared as a main course, side dish, or even eaten raw as a healthy snack.
Check out this recipe recommended by the American Cancer Society for Broccoli, Garlic, and Lemon Penne.
Carrots are another popular fall vegetable that have cancer-fighting properties. They are high in vitamins K and A.
Carrots are one of the more versatile fall vegetables and can be:
- Blended as soup
- Boiled, roasted, or grilled
- Juiced and consumed as a liquid
Many people like to eat carrots raw as a snack. In fact, research suggests that eating just one carrot per day adds a significant amount of fiber and vitamin K to a person’s diet.
Kale is part of the dark leafy vegetable group, considered a powerhouse vegetable since it contains high levels of vitamins, calcium, iron, and fiber.
Kale often gets labeled as a superfood because of its high nutrient density.
“Kale is a top choice because it’s rich in phytonutrients called indoles, which stimulate liver detoxification and help fight cancer.”
Kale can be eaten raw in salads, steamed, sauteed, or even baked into chips. It is also a popular ingredient in smoothies.
4. Sweet Potatoes
In addition to containing 520% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, sweet potatoes also contain carotenoids. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, carotenoids aid in controlling cell growth.
Sweet potatoes can be eaten baked, just like traditional baked potatoes. Since baking takes a long time, it is helpful to bake several at once and store them in an airtight container for leftovers.
Tip for adding calories and fat: top baked sweet potatoes with sour cream or cheese.
There are many other ways to prepare sweet potatoes, including pureeing into soup, roasting with herbs, and even making sweet potato fries.
Apples are high in vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants. They also contain a nutrient called quercetin, which protects cells’ DNA from the damage that causes cancer.
“The key is to eat them raw and with the skin on. That’s where many of the nutrients are found.”
In addition to eating them raw, apples can be added to salads, made into chips, or baked into healthy muffins.
Cranberries contain benzoic acid, which has been shown to slow the growth of lung cancer, colon cancer, and certain types of leukemia.
Cranberries can be added to bread, muffins, or salads. They are also a staple at many Thanksgiving tables.
Due to the health benefits of eating cranberries for cancer patients, it is a good idea to buy bags of them while they are in season and freeze them to eat year-round.
Grapes contain the antioxidant resveratrol, which is believed to stop some cancers.
Since the skin has the most antioxidants, grapes should be eaten with the skin on. Additionally, red and purple grapes are higher in resveratrol than green grapes.
Grapes can be enjoyed as a snack, added to salads, and even incorporated into hot dishes.
While many argue whether pumpkins are a fruit or vegetable, it can not be disputed that they are packed with the cancer-fighting nutrient carotenoid.
Pumpkin can be added to soups, smoothies, and even ravioli.
Get Help Paying for Mesothelioma Nutrition Therapy
Working with a nutritionist can help patients access a healthy mesothelioma diet that is tailored to their needs. Nutrition therapy can help cancer patients build strength, maintain a healthy body weight, and heal.
The best nutritionists will work with you, your family, and your mesothelioma specialist to manage your diet before, during, and after cancer treatment. Unfortunately, some of the costs of seeing a nutritionist may not be covered by insurance.
Our team of Patient Advocates can help you seek financial assistance for the treatment you need, including nutrition therapy. Contact us at (866) 608-8933 now to see how we can help.