This is a guest post from Melanie Bowen. She is a part-time contributor to the website on mesothelioma, a rare cancer. Recently, someone I know was diagnosed with this type of cancer. I thought it was important to have Melanie highlight the importance of good nutrition with this and other type of cancers.
“Melanie Bowen is an awareness advocate for natural health and holistic therapies for cancer patients. You will often find her highlighting the
great benefits of different nutritional, emotional, and physical treatments on those with illness in her efforts to increase attentiveness and
responsiveness on like topics”
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” stated Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine in 431 B.C.
Even with today’s advanced technology and medical interventions simple nutrition is still the key to good health and a longer life expectancy.
Nutrition is even more essential for people living with chronic illnesses. A chronic illness is a term used to describe an illness that lasts a long time. Unlike a cold or a flu that will run its course after a matter of weeks, a person may live with a chronic illness for years and possibly the majority of their life. These illnesses can often be genetic and generally aren’t contagious. These long-term illnesses are quite common and it is not unusual for a person to have a family member or a friend diagnosed with illnesses such as kidney disease, diabetes, anemia, lupus, eczema, or asthma.
People being treated for more serious illnesses, even some rare types of cancer such as mesothelioma, can benefit from good nutrition. The American Cancer Society suggests that eating well during cancer treatments may not only help a person feel better in general, but also may experience an increase in strength and energy, maintain a healthy weight, help the body better tolerate treatment-related side effects, lower the risk of infection, and possibly recover quicker.
Feeling good and living a normal life is the main goal for someone struggling with an illness. Specific dietary needs may differ depending on the disease and treatment plan, but eating a variety of foods rich in vitamins and minerals can help the body to heal and feel better.
Nutrient rich foods high in protein are needed to grow and repair tissues and help fuel the body. Lean meats, eggs and dairy are high in protein. Other sources are non-animal derived foods such as nuts and legumes.
Carbohydrates provide the body with energy. The best sources of carbohydrates are from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Sugar laden food is very high in carbohydrates but are nutrient poor. Focusing on eating whole and minimally processed foods is best.
Contrary to popular health advice, fat is an important part of a healthy diet. Fatty acids and oils provide the body with energy. Monosaturated and polyunsaturated fats are the healthier choice as saturated fats and trans fats can increase the risk of heart disease and raise cholesterol levels.
Hydration is vitally important. The body needs water and if the body is dehydrated it will be unable to absorb the important vitamins and minerals needed to keep it healthy.
Focusing on good nutrition is important for people already in good health. When diagnosed with a chronic or even terminal illness proper nutrition can help the body to heal and increase quality of life.