35 percent of all cancer diagnoses can be linked to poor nutrition according to the National Cancer Institute. Although mesothelioma is not a cancer that can be averted by good nutrition, people who have been diagnosed with this type of cancer can benefit from a healthier and more balanced diet in a number of ways.
Malignant mesothelioma is caused mainly by exposure to asbestos, a naturally occurring mineral that was used in a number of military and industrial applications throughout the 20th century. Asbestos was used frequently as insulation, brake lining and piping.
Treatment options for this type of cancer are usually inadequate as symptoms do not become noticeable for at least 20 years after exposure and the diagnosis is often made late in the disease’s progression. Good nutrition is essential for anyone fighting mesothelioma. It is vital to eat a diet heavy in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, supplementing with dairy and healthy carbohydrates (such as whole wheat pastas and potatoes). As well as improving chances of survival, proper dietary care can help alleviate the painful or uncomfortable symptoms of cancer.
Nausea is one of the most common side effects of mesothelioma and mesothelioma treatment. There are a number of dietary changes you can make to help this problem. Dry grain products like crackers and toast can help calm an upset stomach. Bland foods will also help with nausea, as well as acid reflux problems.
Another frequent trait found in cancer patients is low white blood cell count, which raises the risk of contracting an infection. A number of changes can be made in the foods you ingest to counteract this. It is most important to avoid “bad” bacteria, which is common in foods that are damaged or not prepared well. Avoid buffets when eating out, wash your hands before preparing meals, avoid raw meats and fish (like sushi), and throw away any foods that are bruised or damaged. Fresh foods are best for fighting cancer because they contain live enzymes that act as a catalyst for detoxification. Organic fruits and vegetables are the best source for these enzymes. Berries can be especially helpful for someone fighting mesothelioma. In fact, just one cup of strawberries has the same amount of vitamin C as one cup of orange juice, and all berries are great sources of this anti-oxidant and immune-strengthening vitamin. In addition to essential vitamins, berries are packed with several different types of cancer-fighting nutrients. In one study, extracts of six types of berries were tested for their ability to prevent the growth and spread of different types of cancer cells. Amazingly, each different type of berry was found to have an entirely unique combination of phytonutrients, and all six varieties of berry extract were able to kill cancer cells in the laboratory.
Dark green leafy vegetables like spinach, romaine lettuce and collard greens are full of essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that provide important cancer-fighting benefits. They contain beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin; all powerful antioxidants that help protect the body against all forms of cancer by destroying free radicals. Dark leafy greens also contain folate which is essential for the proper repair and replication of DNA. Without folate, damaged cells would be unable to repair their own DNA. The phytochemicals in these greens boost levels of enzymes that help cleanse the body of carcinogens and block the activity of enzymes that are known to activate carcinogens.
Cancer is a complex medical condition, with many factors playing various roles in development and treatment. However, most patients will undoubtedly benefit from a better diet in a number of ways. In addition to eating a balanced diet, use the following tips to help strengthen the body’s ability to function well and fight disease:
- Avoid alcohol in excess amounts.
- Monitor weight carefully, not only being sure to stay trim, but also being sure to avoid becoming too thin.
- Learn about safe food preparation techniques.
- Cut the “bad” fats from your diet, opting instead for “good” fats, such as olive oil.
- Choose fruits and vegetables daily (these food groups should represent the bulk of your diet, approximately 50 percent).
- Avoid processed foods, like prepackaged meals.
- Make healthy choices when eating out, opting for low-carb or vegetable-based meals when possible.
- Monitor the types of fish you eat, choosing species low in mercury.
- Buy products that are organic.
- Do not eat fast food.
- Cut tobacco products out of your life.
- Take a multi-vitamin every day.
- Include adequate amounts of fiber in your diet.
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- Good Nutrition Can Enable Body to Fight Mesothelioma Cancer - September 23, 2009