The Importance of Maintaining a Healthy Diet During Mesothelioma Treatment

August 7, 2012 |

Healthy Diet for Mesothelioma PatientsWhile a healthy diet is important at all stages of a person’s life, it becomes especially important during cancer treatment.  For mesothelioma patients, a proper diet can help improve their overall condition and stimulate their body’s natural ability to fight off cancer cells.

So what exactly does this “proper diet” entail?

For cancer patients, their dietary needs depend on their sex, body composition, activity level and weight gain/weight loss goals. Although patients may be less active during mesothelioma treatment than they were before diagnosis, they typically require more protein and calories at this time to fuel their recovery. An oncology nutritionist can help set specific calorie and macronutrient goals.

Once these goals have been established, patients must focus on using the right foods to meet these nutritional needs. Now more than ever, they should eliminate greasy, processed and fast foods from their diet and focus on a whole-foods-based diet with plenty of fresh produce.

How Proper Nutrition can Help Mesothelioma Patients

Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and antioxidants that help prevent or slow the growth of cancerous tumors. Certain antioxidants, such as the flavonoids quercetin and rutin, may be directly toxic to cancer cells. Other compounds such as lenitan (a substance found in reishi mushrooms) may stimulate the immune system’s natural ability to fight off the cancer.

Other cancer-fighting nutrients include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Diallyl disulfide (a natural tumor-blocking compound found in garlic)
  • Myricetin (a flavonoid found in green tea)

Each food has a different concentration and combination of these cancer-fighting compounds, so it is especially important to consume a wide variety of natural foods.

Patients can also use dietary changes to manage certain side effects of mesothelioma treatment. They can make simple adjustments to cope with bouts of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation and mouth sores. For example, patients can eat starchy foods to help counteract diarrhea or consume electrolyte drinks to help restore their body’s natural balance after vomiting. They can also fight fatigue by consuming a protein and calorie-rich diet that provides them with essential minerals such as iron and B12.

Author bio: Faith Franz researches and writes about health-related issues for The Mesothelioma Center. One of her focuses is living with cancer.

Also see related: The Importance of Nutrition During Cancer Treatment

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Category: Food and cancer, Healthy diet

Comments (2)

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  1. Jack says:

    Dear Faith Franz,
    Thanks for the above, For my assignment I have to describe and analyse the importance of maintaining a healthy life and the effects on it. To achieve all my criteria I need to go deeper into two factors that change childrens health and physical development. I have chose excercise and diet, i have to show both facts and figures and was wondering if anybody had any good websites with this information on??

  2. Jonson says:

    G’Day! Faith Franz,
    Thanks for the info, sponsored a nationwide survey of 2,442 American adults conducted by Harris Interactive® in August/September 2004 to determine the public’s perception of sleep and its role in health. The following results demonstrate the need to educate more Americans about the importance of sleep in living a health life as well as the dangers associated with the lack of sleep.

    Sleep vs. Proper Diet and Exercise

    69% of American adults fail to recognize sleep as a critical factor in maintaining health.

    62% of American adults believe that proper diet or exercise is more important than sleep in maintaining a happy and healthy life.

    Women are more likely than men to select proper diet as most important (42% of women compared to 35% of men), and likelihood to select proper diet is highest among the oldest group of Americans (57% of those aged 55 years or older, compared to 37% of those aged 45-54, 35% of 35-44 year old, and just 25% of those aged 18-34).
    All the Best