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Mesothelioma Nutrition

A balanced diet and proper treatment are essential for mesothelioma patients. This isn't always easy, though. Most patients diagnosed with this deadly disease lose their appetite and experience nausea, which interferes with their regimen. However, eating the right foods before, during, and after treatment can improve the patient's quality of life and alleviate symptoms. Proper nutrition can help patients feel better and maintain their best physical and emotional health.

Nutrition Therapy

Mesothelioma symptoms can affect the way you eat. Certain treatments may cause nausea, mouth sores, diarrhea, constipation, pain, and other unpleasant side effects. The cancer itself can cause weight loss. These reactions may cause patients to not follow a balanced diet. That's why it's important to eat right when you're feeling well. And if you have nausea, try eating several small meals. After all, studies have shown that patients who eat high-protein, high-calorie meals several times a day stay stronger than those eating three large meals. Liquid supplements may also help those who have problems swallowing.

If you have been diagnosed with this form of cancer, the doctor will evaluate your nutritional health and recommend a proper diet. Eating well while you are being treated for mesothelioma will help you feel more energetic and maintain your weight. Before you visit a dietitian, write down any questions you might have about your nutritional needs.

Essential Nutrients

Mesothelioma patients have unique nutritional requirements. They need larger amounts of protein, monosaturated fats, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. These elements will help patients recover faster from aggressive treatment methods. Plus, nutrients found in healthy foods will help fight against infection and support healthy cell growth. To get these essential nutrients, opt for leafy green vegetables, fruits, chicken, and whole-milk dairy products. Avoid processed foods, fast foods, white bread and other foods loaded with empty calories.

Protein is important because it supports muscle growth, increases the body's resistance to infection, and strengthens the immune system. The best sources of protein are poultry, fish, seafood, lean meat, eggs, dairy products, beans, and soy foods.

Carbohydrates represent the body's main source of energy. Foods rich in complex carbohydrates include rice; corn; potatoes; whole wheat bread, pasta and cereals; fruits; and vegetables. By eating these foods, you will feel full longer and have more energy.

Monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats should be part of your daily diet, too. These healthy fats serve as a source of energy and help your body metabolize some types of vitamins more efficiently. Monounsaturated fats can be found in olive oil, peanut oil, olives, avocados, nuts, and pecans. The best sources of polyunsaturated fats are soybean oil, pumpkin seeds, salmon, herring, mackerel, tofu, walnuts, and soy milk. Eliminate trans-fatty acids and saturated fat from your diet or keep them to a minimum.

As you eat better, keep in mind that some dietary supplements may interfere with mesothelioma treatment. Before taking any supplements, talk with your doctor. A doctor is the only one who can recommend you an appropriate diet before, during, and after treatment. Studies have shown that mesothelioma patients who followed specific diets prescribed by their doctors responded better to treatment and needed fewer painkillers.

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Last Edited: Thu November 14, 2013