Having cancer or going through cancer treatment is a physically stressful time. According to the National Cancer Institute,cancer can cause malnutrition in patients undergoing treatment due to a loss of appetite as well as changes in the way that the body processes food. These are unnecessary additions to the problems already being faced. The insidious thing about cancer cells is that they change the metabolism of protein in order to facilitate tumor growth. Additionally, treatment and medications can deplete your body of needed nutrients and can cause you to lose your senses of taste and smell.
As with other cancers, people suffering from mesothelioma treatment side effects need optimal nutrition in order to add to their quality of life. These patients need superior nutrition for strength and a prolonged life expectancy, as there is currently no cure for malignant mesothelioma. In these patients, the appetite loss is two-fold, since it’s both a treatment side effect and a symptom.
Although nutritional therapy is necessary for a cancer patient’s health, benefits go beyond that. Food is a social practice and an integral part of daily and family life. Food connects us to our past, present, and future. It ties us to our family and our culture. Food is important and provides a normalcy to a cancer patient’s life outside of the therapeutic advantages. It keeps us rooted into a normal, daily routine; so nutrition gives the patient emotional comfort in addition to the physical strength needed for a better quality of life.
When choosing what to eat, choose quality over quantity. Protein is important in a cancer diet, since it’s the building block that helps your body rebuild and repair. Your primary source should be plant protein, as this protein is complete with nutrients and phytochemicals, is easily digestible, and is free of cholesterol. When it does have fat, like seeds and nuts, it should be heart-healthy in order to combat inflammation and tumor growth. This complete protein will help you replenish your energy and rebuild precious muscle tissue. Try getting vitamins and minerals from fruits, vegetables and whole grains can be done with minimal cooking. If needing a supplement, remember that capsules digest easier than tablets. This is important when you’re dealing with queasiness or an upset digestive system. Avoid processed foods and refined sugar.
Whether you’ve just been diagnosed, you’re going through cancer treatment, or you’re in remission, nutritional therapy should be used alongside any conventional treatments. If you or a loved one has any type of cancer, nutrition is imperative and will help you take back some control over your health. Talk to your medical team or a nutritionist or contact one of the organizations listed in this article for help in developing a healthy diet plan. It truly will make a difference.