Diet Tips for Multiple Myeloma
Patients of multiple myeloma sometimes experience a lack of appetite or have to undergo a change in their diets. This is due to several symptoms of the disease and due to the side effects of the treatments for this cancer. However, acquiring the correct nutrients through correct quantities is a crucial part of a patient’s healing process against this disease.
You can apply a number of tips, tricks and hacks to make it easier to maintain nutrition and nurture your body during multiple myeloma. In addition to this, if you choose, you can even consult a dietician who will be able to assist in choosing the right foods needed to deal with the disease.
It is especially imperative to get the right nutrition when you are under treatment for multiple myeloma, as the lack of nutrition results in complications, which could include damaged kidneys, constipation,anemia, and minimized immunity, among other problems.
- 1. Adding Iron in your diet
A majority of multiple myeloma patients have reduced red blood counts and suffer from low to acute anemia. Depending on the stage of the cancer, patients suffer from no anemia to severe anemia. This is because there is a lack of sufficient space for the red blood cells when the cancerous plasma cells in the bone marrow multiply uncontrollably. The problems associated with a low red blood cell counts range from a patient experiencing weakness and cold, to fatigue and tiredness.
Anemia can also be a result of low iron levels in your blood. In such a scenario your doctor may recommend iron-rich foods if your anemia is a result of multiple myeloma. Iron rich foods can help your body manufacture more red blood cells that are healthy and cancer free and thus help you feel energetic.
Foods that are rich on Iron content include:
- Lean red meat
- Tropical fruits like guava, papaya, mango, etc.
- Brussels sprouts
- Bell peppers
- Sweet potatoes
- 2. Kidney friendly diet
It has been found that many multiple myeloma patients develop kidney diseases or suffer from complications to their kidneys. When the cancer cells build up inside the body, they result in bone breakdown. The breakdown of bones causes the discharge of calcium in the bloodstream. The cancerous plasma cells are also responsible for generating a protein that goes into the blood stream.
This causes damage to your kidneys since they have to work extra hard to process the extra calcium and protein created by the cancer’s process. To protect your kidneys and depending on the efficiency of your kidneys during multiple myeloma, you can start protecting yourself and make yourself healthy by adjusting your diet to make it more kidney friendly.
During the cancer you may be required to reduce the quantity of alcohol, protein, potassium and salt you consume. If the kidneys are severely damaged, then you should consider controlling the quantity of water and other fluids you consume. If the calcium levels in your blood are high, then you might have to cut down on the calcium you take in. Always consult a medical practitioner before making any changes to your diet, in the case of a kidney infection.
- 3. Maintain a clean diet
Multiple myeloma patients are a higher risk of developing infections since the chemotherapy they undergo and other cancer treating treatments render their immune system weak. To avoid infections you must ensure foods are cleaned well, and that hands that handle foods are washed regularly. Another way of avoiding infections is to keep away from family members and friends who are unwell to avoid catching colds, and many other viruses, off of them.
- 4. Consume lots of fiber
Another side effect of chemotherapy and other cancer treatments is the Constipation. To combat constipation patients should increase their fiber consumption through fiber rich foods, and drink lots of water.
Fiber-rich foods include:
- Dried fruits
- Whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal
- Carrots, artichokes, and broccoli
- Lentils, beans, and nuts
- Oranges, apples, and pears
- 5. Include spices
According to many studies, Cur cumin, which is a substance contained in turmeric, is known to lower the risk of developing resistance to certain chemotherapy drugs. Cur cumin is also known to slow down the growth of multiple myeloma cells.
One of the main side effects of chemotherapy is nausea and vomiting. This makes it hard for patients to eat foods that contain spices. Also foods that are bland are easy on the stomach. However trying foods with spices that help deal with multiple myeloma, like a curry containing turmeric may also be good for your health. Some forms of cheese and mustard also contain Curcumin which helps combat multiple myeloma.
- 6. Eating cooked foods
Another way of further reducing your risk of developing infections during the cancer is by avoiding consumption of raw foods. Undercooked foods, raw eggs, and sushi, may carry bacteria that can make you sick even if your immune system is healthy. Unpeeled fruits and vegetable can further put you on risk when your immune system is weak due to the cancer treatments. In such a case, cooking your food to the minimum recommended temperatures will kill all bacteria and protect you from food borne infections and illnesses.
Point to note
Multiple myeloma is a tough cancer to combat, but a diet that is healthy can go a long way in assisting you in living a better life with this cancer and after the cancer. Whether or not you suffer from kidney infections or complications, anemia or other side effects related to multiple myeloma’s treatments, your body requires nutrition to stay energetic and fight with the cancer. Consume whole grains, lean proteins along with lots of fruits and vegetables, and avoid processes sweets and snacks. A diet keeping in mind the above factors could be instrumental in living a healthy life through the cancer and could increase your chance of survival. Multiple Myeloma needs to be taken care of immediately after getting in touch with a good doctor, medical advice is of the essence.