Jillian McKee is our guest blogger today. She is a Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance. Her time is spent mostly on outreach efforts and spreading information on complementary and alternative medicine use in cancer treatment.
Following a healthy diet can boost your immune system, improve your healing time, lower your cholesterol and boost your mesothelioma survival rate. It also works to boost survival rates for other forms of cancer due to the decreasing risk of malnutrition and anemia. Vitamin C, protein, antioxidants and unsaturated fats are a few of the nutrients you can add to your diet to start reaping benefits immediately.
Muscle and Tissue Repair
Although it is typically mentioned as a cold and flu fighter, Vitamin C also works to repair damaged tissue. Surgery to remove tumors, bone or tissue damaged by cancer usually has an extensive healing time. Since these surgeries are often evasive, they leave wounds that take time to heal. Eating foods that are high in vitamin C can promote faster healing and less scaring. Foods that are high in vitamin C are kiwi fruit, oranges, red bell pepper and broccoli.
Another tissue-repairing nutrient is protein. Protein is naturally found in nuts, lean poultry, meat and beans. Protein is found in every cell in your body, but is mostly concentrated in your muscles and tissues. Since protein isn’t stored or manufactured in your body, you must consume protein sources to heal and repair your muscles and tissues.
Elevate Your Immune System
Eat foods that are high in antibiotic, antiviral and antioxidant compounds. Garlic, ginger, onions and olives are all examples of foods that are naturally high in antibiotic and antiviral compounds. These work to help your body fight diseases more efficiently while also helping to decrease the likelihood of developing them in the first place. Olives, blackberries and blueberries are high in immune-boosting antioxidants.
Antioxidants also work to repair oxidative damage done to the cells by environmental agents called free radicals. Experts agree that a diet high in antioxidants helps to decrease the risk of developing certain forms of cancer and chronic ailments caused by inflammation. Make sure to include plenty of these nutrient sources in your diet before, during and after chemotherapy to increase your body’s healing response.
Lower Your Cholesterol
Avoid eating foods that are high in saturated fat, trans-fat and cholesterol such as fatty steak, poultry with the skin on and processed foods. These forms of unhealthy fat work to increase your low-density lipoprotein (bad-cholesterol) levels. This causes plaque to block your arteries, decreasing blood flow throughout your body. It also increases your risk of developing high cholesterol, which can lead to heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 7 percent of your daily caloric intake in saturated fat.
To increase your heart’s health, circulation, brain functioning and general well being, consume monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats. Avocados, salmon, almonds and olive oil are all forms of unsaturated fat. If you decrease cholesterol, saturated fat and trans-fat intake while increasing polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat intake, you will lower bad cholesterol and increase high-density lipoprotein (good cholesterol).