Carefully planning a diet is never more important than during mesothelioma chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is currently one of the main treatments for mesothelioma. But as we discussed in a recent post, a side effect of chemotherapy often is nausea and lack of appetite. This can lead to weight loss at a time when a mesothelioma patient needs physical as well as emotional strength to withstand the treatment.
As the ancient Greek doctor Hippocrates, considered to be the father of western medicine said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” With these words from the 5th Century BC, Hippocrates recognized the value of eating well and the potential of certain foods for good health.
Although Hippocrates certainly did not have mesothelioma chemotherapy in mind with those words, the principle applies to what we need to keep in mind for a beneficial mesothelioma diet during periods of chemotherapy treatment.
Best Foods to Eat During Mesothelioma Chemotherapy
- Cream of wheat, oatmeal and cold cereal
- Cold sandwiches
- Cottage cheese
- Hard boiled eggs
- Plain pasta, rice, noodles and mashed potatoes
- Toast, dry Saltine-style crackers, natural potato chips or pretzels
- Canned fruit, applesauce and Jell-O
- Custard and pudding
- Sherbet, popsicles and frozen fruit bars
- Soda, juice and herbal tea
- Low-fat protein sources such as skinned chicken or tofu that is baked or broiled, not fried
- Peaches or other soft, mild-tasting fruits and vegetables
- Clear liquids such as apple and cranberry juice, low-salt broth and carbonated drinks without caffeine
- Teas such as ginger and peppermint, served lukewarm or cold
Ways to Prevent Nausea
- Eat meals slowly.
- Eat small portions of food frequently. Having some food in your stomach may help you feel better.
- Low-fat, bland and salty foods are best. Avoid greasy, fried and strongly spiced foods.
- Cool, clear beverages are recommended. Drink liquids between meals, rather than with meals. Slowly drink or sip liquids throughout the day — a straw may help.
- Don’t force yourself to eat your favorite foods when you feel nauseated, you may start to dislike them.
- Stay quiet after meals. Try to rest while sitting up for about an hour — you can watch television, read, talk with someone or enjoy the company of a pet. Do not lie flat for at least two hours after eating.
- Keep crackers at your bedside if nausea is a problem in the morning or after a nap.
- Stay away from odors. Have someone else cook if possible. Eat in the dining room or in a room other than the kitchen.
- Track your nausea by taking note of any particular foods that trigger it. See if there is a pattern and if so, try to change it.
- Inform your nurse or doctor about your nausea and ask about medications to control this side effect.