Adequate and balanced nutrition is important before, during and after cancer treatment. Balanced nutrition means eating a variety of foods that provide necessary nutrients to maintain health. An appropriate diet is one of the most important elements of a cancer fighting regimen.
According to the National Cancer Institute at least 35 percent of all cancer cases are related to poor nutrition. For cancer patients, eating the right types and amounts of foods is critical for restoring some of the vitality the disease has taken away.
Certain foods and nutrients have cancer fighting properties. These may be useful in helping your body fight off mesothelioma and in helping prevent the development of other cancers, caused by asbestos, while your body is weakened by mesothelioma. Anti-oxidants are the most well-known cancer fighting nutrients, and they help support your overall health as well.
A variety of foods have proven anti-cancer benefits. For instance, garlic may induce cancer cell death, berries can help the body clear out cancer-promoting toxins, and mushrooms can boost your immune system. Whenever possible, swap out nutritionally empty foods for cancer-fighting powerhouses. One simple substitution? Ditch your soda for a cup for green tea. So what mix of healthy foods will make you feel better before, during, and after mesothelioma treatment? Try the following foods that are beneficial to those suffering from mesothelioma and many other types of cancer.


1. Berries

Berries, often described as the ‘super food,’ are among the fruits highest in antioxidant content and are excellent sources of several phytochemicals that seem to help block cancer development. Berries contain a whole host of important nutrients, including plenty of fiber and vitamin C. 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.
The key is to eat these berries in their raw, whole fruit form rather than to eat processed berries or fruit drinks made from berries. In order to get the healing phytonutrients, you must get the berries in the freshest form possible – that means no processed berries, just raw berries, right from the bush or straight from the grocery store. All berries are beneficial to those suffering from mesothelioma and many other types of cancer. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, cranberries are among the most popular healthy berries.
Three ways to eat berries:
  1. On cereal. When sprinkled on healthful cereal, berries offer an added sweetness.
  2. Added to jello or pudding. Add some berries to a quick-setting jello or pudding for an added healthy benefit.
  3. Berries topped with fresh cream or whipped cream. Berries in their most simple form – just topped with a dollop of whipped topping.

2. Flaxseeds and Flaxseed oil

Flaxseeds and flaxseed oil loaded with cancer-fighting antioxidants. Flaxseeds contain a number of compounds that are believed to be of use in fighting cancer and other diseases including alpha-linolenic acid and lignans. Flaxseed is a super source of lignans, the concentration of lignins in flaxseed is more than 100 times greater than found in any other lignin containing foods such as grains, fruits and vegetables.
Studies suggest that flaxseed oil is most effective when taken with a sulfur based protein, such as cottage cheese. Flaxseed oil has been shown in laboratory tests to reduce the speed and growth of cancer cells. The LNA in flaxseed can be converted by the body into eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), a very beneficial oil that helps reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. Mesothelioma patients may also benefit from flaxseed’s many beneficial components, which include:
  • alpha-linolenic acid (LNA), a fatty acid in flaxseeds that is essential but is not synthesized by the human body
  • omega-3 fatty acids
  • fiber (soluble and insoluble) — which can relieve a mesothelioma patient’s constipation and/or soften the stools
  • antioxidants
  • magnesium and other trace minerals
Consuming flax seeds may protect the lungs from the toxic effects of radiation. A study by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania found that lung cancer patients who consume flax seed during chemoradiation (the combination of chemotherapy and radiation) could tolerate higher levels of radiation without damage to the lungs. Researchers suspect the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of flax seed contribute to this effect.
For an individual dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy, post-surgery recovery, radiation therapy or mesothelioma symptoms, flaxseed in the diet may help:
  1. keep the heart healthy
  2. prevent or slow down clogging of the arteries (atherosclerosis)
  3. lower blood pressure
  4. lower triglycerides
  5. lower cholesterol levels
Adding Flaxseed to the Diet
The diet regimen of a patient with mesothelioma can easily be modified to include flaxseed, in ways such as:
  1. A sprinkle of flaxseed on homemade oatmeal adds taste and texture.
  2. Adding milled or whole flaxseeds to bread or muffin recipes
  3. Sprinkling flaxseeds over cereal or ice cream
  4. Flaxseeds give a nutty taste and texture to yogart, with fruit.
  5. Using flaxseed oil on toast, vegetables, and in salads
  6. Mixing flaxseeds with cottage cheese
  7. Adding flaxseeds to salads, smoothies
  8. Substituting flaxseed for fat or eggs in recipes

3. Green Tea

The diet and nutrition of a mesothelioma patient can make a significant difference in his or her well-being, affected person could make a considerable difference in his or her well-being, whether or not in the course of treatment or as an aspect of palliative care, and green tea may be a great addition to the diet as a result of its many health benefits.
Studies suggest that consuming green tea often (approximately five cups a day) can help combat the progression of cancers including mesothelioma. For example, green tea, if fed on every day will:
  1. delay the occurrence of cancer
  2. reduce the rate of cancer in large populations
  3. combat the effects of cancer
  4. lower an individual’s total cholesterol level
  5. improve the ratio of good (HDL) cholesterol to bad (LDL) cholesterol
Green tea acts as a strong antioxidant, the tannins and antioxidants contained in green tea may help slow or prevent the spread of cancer cells. The green tea leaves thus keep the compounds that make them so healthy: catechin polyphenols and a very powerful anti-oxidant, epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
Anti-oxidants are substances that help protect the human body’s cells against damage from free radicals. Other examples of anti-oxidants are vitamins A and C, and a recent study at the University of Kansas indicated that green tea is about 100 times stronger than vitamin C at deactivating free radicals.
The only possible “drawback” of green tea that has been found is its caffeine, however the caffeine in tea is alternatively low in comparison with coffee (roughly 100 mg or more caffeine per cup of coffee, but just 30–60 mg in tea). Besides, there are plenty of brands of decaffeinated green tea available in the U.S.

4. Soy and Soy Foods

Mesothelioma sufferers can advantage from soy in their diet. Despite the fact that it is not yet clear whether ingesting soy foods prevents cancers (such as mesothelioma) or slows down the progression of cancer, it’s well established that people whose diet includes high levels of soy have significantly lower rates of several types of cancer — colon, breast and prostate cancer, for example.
Soy’s Many Benefits
The food and nutrition consumed by an individual with mesothelioma can support him or her stay strong, maintain a good energy level and fight off immune system-related problems. Soy food products may assist mesothelioma patients based on several components of soy protein, including:
  1. genestein — a chemical that blocks enzymes that cancer cells need in order to grow
  2. phytoestrogens — may bind estradiol, lessening the risk of developing breast cancer
  3. antioxidants — these reduce the damage caused by free radicals to the body’s cells.
Diet during Mesothelioma Treatment
As a patient undergoes treatment for mesothelioma such as radiation, chemotherapy, surgery or a combination of the therapies, his or her diet is very important. Soy food products can be beneficial to anyone who needs a healthy source of protein and fiber, but an individual with mesothelioma should discuss soy and other mesothelioma diet concerns with his or her doctor before embarking on any major nutrition changes.
Sources of Soy for Mesothelioma Patients
Soy comes in a variety of forms and foods, including:
Soy milk, Soybeans, Tempeh, Tofu, Miso, Soy supplements

5. Cruciferous Vegetables

A mesothelioma patient’s diet must include cruciferous vegetables to help fight this debilitating cancer. Individuals diagnosed with mesothelioma or undergoing treatment for cancer are encouraged to add plenty of cruciferous vegetables in their diets, for the excellent nutritional qualities these foods provide. It is important to get a lot of antioxidants and nutrients from a diet that includes healthy greens to keep up the immune system, strength, and energy levels. Whenever possible and as approved by a physician, a mesothelioma patient’s diet should include cruciferous vegetables such as:
Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, Watercress, Radish, Daikon (a kind of radish), Wasabi, Kohlrabi, Parsnips, Turnips and Rutabaga.

6. Dark Green Leafy Vegetables

Dark green leafy vegetables are bursting with essential vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that offer important cancer-fighting benefits. Beta-carotene, Lutein, and Zeaxanthin are powerful antioxidants that help protect the body against all forms of cancer by destroying free radicals. These free radicals are highly reactive oxygen compounds that can harm and spoil the body’s cells. Cells which are damaged usually tend to grow to be cancerous and antioxidants play an extremely important role in ridding the body of these cancer-causing free radicals.
For mesothelioma patients, maintaining a high level of nutrition is itself a significant challenge, but adding at least some of these dark green leafy vegetables to their diets can help raise their levels of energy, strength, and immunity:
Spinach, Bok choy, Kale, Broccoli, Collard greens, Mustard greens, Swiss chard, Chicory, Turnip greens and Romaine lettuce.

Benefits of Cruciferous and Green Leafy Vegetables

When you are fighting cancer, it is crucial to take a whole life approach and cope with methods you can fight the cancer through your diet, as well as through traditional medicine. There are a lot of benefits to eating healthy greens. Cancer patients can benefits from the added vitamins and nutrients. In the battle against mesothelioma cancer, cruciferous and dark leafy vegetables provide a number of excellent nutritional properties, such as:
  1. Antioxidants: these can destroy the free radicals that cause cell damage such as the damage involved in cancer
  2. Phytochemicals: these can prevent DNA damage and boost enzymes that clean away carcinogens
  3. Glucosinates: found at high levels in cruciferous vegetables, they slow the growth of cancer cells, in part by preventing the growth of blood vessels that feed the cells
  4. Folate – essential for healthy DNA
  5. Vitamins C, E, K
  6. Magnesium
  7. Potassium
Adding More Healthy Greens To The Diet
Vegetables are not always a mesothelioma patient’s first choice for food, but a caregiver can ease these vegetables into the diet by:
  1. Stir-frying them with other foods
  2. Sautéing them and adding them to an omelet
  3. Serving them raw with a vegetable dip
  4. Adding sautéed, chopped kale leaves or mashed cooked turnips to mashed potatoes
  5. Adding green vegetables to soup (whole or pureed)
  6. Adding young leaves (such as those of baby spinach) to sandwiches

A Mesothelioma Patient’s Food Choice Is Important

Don’t overlook the nutrition that a mesothelioma patient is receiving (or not). Good food and a proper diet can be powerful allies in a mesothelioma treatment and quality of life, and the inclusion of anti-cancer foods is an excellent step to take on behalf of the “meso” patient in your life.
While you need to consult with a doctor about your different treatment options, you may want to contact a mesothelioma law firm about legal recourse. A mesothelioma lawyer or mesothelioma attorney may be able to help you find legal recourse to help you pay for your treatments.
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