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5 Nutrition Tips for Mesothelioma Patients

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Mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive cancer, poses significant challenges for those diagnosed with it. As patients embark on their journey of treatment and recovery, one crucial aspect that often gets overlooked is diet and nutrition. 

While it may not be a cure, a well-balanced and carefully planned diet can play a pivotal role in supporting mesothelioma patients throughout their treatment process. 

In this article, we will explore the vital role that diet and nutrition play in the lives of mesothelioma patients, offering insights into how proper dietary choices can help enhance their quality of life and overall well-being.

The Relationship Between Diet and Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma can be a rough disease – taking a toll on your mind and body. The symptoms range from difficulty breathing and chest pains to night sweats and difficulty swallowing – and it doesn’t stop there. Living with mesothelioma can also take a toll on your nutritional status.

Many mesothelioma patients experience a loss of appetite. (Sometimes this is due to the cancer itself, while other times it’s a side effect of the cancer treatment.) Nausea, vomiting, and fatigue can all contribute to nutritional imbalances.

And here’s the important thing to know: Your diet has a direct impact on the strength of your immune system. Addressing these challenges and implementing appropriate dietary strategies can help you maintain your strength, improve your immune function, and enhance your overall quality of life during treatment. 

5 Diet and Nutrition Tips

While every situation is unique – and you’ll have to work within the constraints of your own diagnosis and circumstances – here are several helpful tips:

1. Understand Your Goals

In order to implement the right diet, you need to understand your nutritional goals on the front end. As someone with mesothelioma, the primary objective is to maintain strength and energy. Secondly, you’re looking to support your immune system so you can fight off infections and support recovery. Thirdly, you want to neutralize and offset treatment side effects (such as nausea and vomiting). 

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Hydration is important regardless of whether you have mesothelioma or not. But it’s especially vital when you’re fighting cancer, as dehydration can exacerbate symptoms.

Speak with your doctor for specific suggestions, but you’ll want to drink a minimum of 64 ounces of fluids per day (and possibly 100 ounces or more). This can include water, clear broths, and herbal teas.

3. Balance Your Caloric Intake

Make sure you maintain a balanced caloric intake. Emphasize consumption of nutrient-dense foods, which includes whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. The more value you get out of the calories you’re consuming, the healthier you’ll be in the long-term. 

4. Eat Lean Proteins

Lean proteins are essential for maintaining and repairing muscles, which can help combat weakness and fatigue often experienced during cancer treatment. Opt for sources of lean protein such as poultry, fish, tofu, legumes, and low-fat dairy products.

Poultry, such as skinless chicken or turkey, is an excellent choice because it’s rich in protein and generally well-tolerated by most individuals. Fish, particularly salmon, mackerel, and trout, are another optimal source of high-quality protein and essential omega-3 fatty acids.

Other options include tofu, legumes (e.g. beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.), yogurt, and cottage cheese.

5. Replace Processed Foods With Fresh Alternatives

Processed foods are often cheap, convenient, and tasty, but they’re also loaded with preservatives, additives, and chemicals that don’t do your body any favors. You can improve your nutrition and feel better by replacing as many processed foods as you can with fresh, healthy alternatives.

The bulk of your diet should come from lean meats, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And instead of large, infrequent meals made from cans, boxes, and packaging, opt for smaller, more frequent meals and snacks with organic, no-processed foods. 

Yes, this can be more expensive, but we’re talking about your health and vitality. This is an area where it’s wise to make an investment (especially when you’re in a fight with cancer.)

Adding it All Up

While the proper diet might not cure mesothelioma, it’s a foundational pillar in your plan. When coupled with proper sleep, medical treatment, and care, it can put you in the best position to be strong and healthy for as long as possible. As always, please consult with a doctor to ensure you’re implementing a treatment plan that’s tailored to your specific needs!

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