Four “Musts” When Living With Mesothelioma: Practice Proper Nutrition
May 27, 2014 - Mesothelioma treatment often includes chemotherapy, which can affect your appetite and change your sense of taste. A common side effect of chemotherapy is nausea, which makes it difficult to eat enough for proper nutrition. When your body is ill, maintaining a healthy weight and keeping energy levels up are paramount to your quality of life. It can be easy to lose or gain weight when the side effects of mesothelioma treatment are affecting your eating habits. An effective way to counter these problems is to establish habits for healthy eating and to stick to them whether you feel like it or not. Here are several habits that will help you to maintain proper nutrition and weight while living with mesothelioma:
- Eliminate alcohol — Consuming any amount of alcohol is usually discouraged by medical professionals for people taking medication or undergoing medical treatment for cancer. Alcohol has no nutritional value and can adversely affect your body's natural healing mechanisms. As a depressant, alcohol inhibits your energy level and ability to concentrate, and often lowers your mood.
- Increase the variety of healthy foods you eat — Most people tend to eat just their favorite fruits and vegetables, which can prevent them from getting enough variety of nutrients. Widen the range of fruits and vegetables that you eat. Introducing variety will keep your diet interesting, and giving your body healthy fuel will assist its natural healing abilities.
- Eat small, frequent meals — Because nausea is a side effect of many mesothelioma treatments, eating normal portions at meals can be difficult for people living with mesothelioma. If you find you can eat only very small amounts of food at a time, eat even more frequently so as to get enough sustenance throughout the day. Your body needs nutrients to withstand the trauma of treatments and side effects and to stay positive mentally.
For nutritional advice tailored to your situation, talk to a dietician. Your cancer team may include a dietician but if not, ask your doctor for a referral. In the next installment of this four-part blog series, the third “must” for living with mesothelioma will be addressed: stay active. Reference: