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These are the best foods for mesothelioma victims

All kinds of people give their diets some extra thought after the holidays. After feasting on holiday meals and sweets, it’s not uncommon for people to put on a few extra pounds. Many then want to change their diets to lose weight and feel better. But for people with mesothelioma, dieting right is always a major concern.

As one dietician explained, eating right can make a big difference to your treatment. There’s a direct link between maintaining a healthy body weight and better response to treatment. People who lose too much weight tend to suffer more.

Five reasons your diet matters

Mesothelioma tumors form after their cells start to grow out of control. That growth requires fuel. While you might wish this would allow you to stop fueling the tumor’s growth by eating less, that’s not the case. As the dietician noted, mesothelioma burns fuel at an unhealthy rate. If you don’t fuel up with enough of the right nutrients, the cancer cells don’t start burning your fat; they start burning muscle mass and other lean tissues.

This means a healthy diet is about more than feeling better. It’s about keeping your body strong and maintaining your essential functions. A doctor at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center points out five reasons it is important to maintain a healthy diet throughout your treatment:

  • Lower infection risk
  • Speed up recovery
  • Enhance your mood and optimism
  • Maintain your energy
  • Lower risk of harmful side effects

Three key concerns for your mesothelioma diet

You have every reason to maintain a healthy diet. You have a body that needs extra nutrition. So, what foods should you feed it?

According to the doctor and dietician, you likely want to focus on twelve helpful foods:

  • Proteins. The dietician identified your protein sources as your primary concern during recovery. These may include chicken, beef, seafood, nuts and other protein-rich foods.
  • Calories. It takes fuel to resupply your body, especially while the cancer is trying to break it down. However, this doesn’t mean filling up on sweets and empty calories. Instead, the experts recommend carbohydrates from whole grain bread, pasta and brown rice. Then you want to add more calories from unsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts and avocado.
  • Antioxidants. Antioxidants fight oxidation. Without them, oxidation releases free radicals that can harm your cells. To supply your body with antioxidants, you want to eat bright, colorful fruits and vegetables. These tend to be rich in vitamins A, C and E, which are all antioxidants.

Though water isn’t a food, the doctor made sure to call it out. You want to stay hydrated. Your body needs water to work properly.

Different diets for different stages

It’s also worth noting the dietician admitted that your focus during treatment will likely differ from the focus of a diet focused on prevention or survivorship. She noted those diets are more likely to go heavy on healthy, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage and kale. In fact, one study found evidence that such vegetables might reduce your chances of getting the disease or suffering a recurrence.

However, a diet centered on those green veggies might not offer enough calories while you’re in treatment. Instead, you want to talk with your doctor and dietician. Your diet may change with your treatment, but it’s always important for people with mesothelioma to eat right.

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