Holidays can be a challenging time for veterans concerned with mesothelioma nutrition. However, with a bit of planning, cancer patients can comfortably enjoy holiday meals with loved ones. Whether by modifying your favorite dish or finding new ones that are better suited to the appetite changes caused by mesothelioma treatment, many options exist. Read on for our fall and winter nutrition guide.
Why Is Nutrition Important for Veterans With Mesothelioma?
Experts agree that proper nutrition is very important for veterans — and anybody else — fighting mesothelioma. Maintaining a good mesothelioma nutrition plan ensures that the body has what it needs to fight cancer as best as possible.
The side effects of mesothelioma treatments like chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiation therapy, and surgery may cause patients to lose their appetites. This can decrease energy levels and, even worse, rob the body of the essential nutrients it needs to fight cancer.
Eating properly can help lower the risk of infection, manage weight, and help patients better tolerate side effects of cancer treatments. It can also help veterans with mesothelioma maintain their strength and recover more quickly.
Each patient’s mesothelioma nutrition needs will vary, so it is important to talk with their doctors to create a proper plan. However, for most patients, eating a variety of foods is the best way to get proper nutrients.
Some of these nutrients include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, and water. Additionally, vitamins and minerals are needed for the body to use energy properly. Antioxidants — including vitamins A, C, and E, zinc, and selenium — are essential for mesothelioma patients.
Autumn & Winter Recipes for Mesothelioma Nutrition
With the toll mesothelioma can take on appetites, the thought of holiday meals may seem unappealing. Side effects such as nausea, trouble swallowing, loss of taste, or dry mouth can make holiday meals feel like a thing of the past.
Even though the fall and winter months can be challenging for mesothelioma patients, the holidays do not have to derail mesothelioma nutrition.
The key to enjoyable holiday meals is to find some cancer-friendly options that you can comfortably enjoy with loved ones. Find a few recipes you can try below.
Crockpot Turkey Stew
Many traditional Thanksgiving dinners usually center on a roasted turkey. Thankfully, there are many other ways to enjoy the staple if you have trouble chewing or swallowing.
Crockpot turkey stew is a delicious way to get many of the Thanksgiving ingredients into an all-in-one dish.
To make this delicious and easy dish, you’ll need:
- 2 pounds of boneless & skinless turkey
- 1 medium leek, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, chopped
- 2 teaspoons of thyme
- 1 teaspoon of oregano
- 1 teaspoon of Italian seasoning
- 1 cup of winter squash, peeled & cubed
- 1 16-ounce can of organic tomatoes
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 medium carrot, chopped
- 3 cups of chicken broth (adjust depending on how thick you want it)
Add the turkey, leeks, celery, and spices into the slow cooker on high. Cook until leeks become translucent. Then add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 2-3 hours on medium or up to 6-8 hours on low. Remove cinnamon stick before serving.
Carrots are a popular fall vegetable with cancer-fighting properties since they are high in vitamins K and A. This sweet carrot recipe is a wonderful way to incorporate mesothelioma nutrition into holiday side dishes.
To make sweet carrots, you will need:
- ½ cup of water
- ⅛ teaspoon of salt
- 2 cups of shredded carrots
- 1 teaspoon of butter
- Sugar substitute (for taste)
- 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
- 4 tablespoons of fresh parsley, chopped
Boil the water in a small saucepan. Add carrots and salt and cook until the water evaporates (about 5 minutes). Then, remove the carrots from the heat, stirring in the butter, sweetener, lemon juice, and parsley. Serve immediately.
Not only are apples high in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamin C, they also contain a nutrient called quercetin. Quercetin can be a valuable part of mesothelioma nutrition because it protects the cells’ DNA from the damage that can cause cancer.
While the healthiest way to eat apples is whole and raw, a pie is a great splurge for the holidays that still provides mesothelioma nutrition.
To make this tasty apple pie, you will need:
- 1 cup of dry rolled oats
- ¼ cup of whole-wheat pastry flour
- ¼ cup of ground almonds
- 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, packed
- 3 tablespoons of canola oil
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 6 cups of sliced and peeled tart apples (about 4 large apples)
- ⅓ cup of frozen apple juice concentrate
- 2 tablespoons of quick-cooking tapioca
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
To make the crust, mix the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. In a different bowl, whisk oil and water together. Add the oil and water mixture to the dry ingredients and mix until the dough holds together, adding more water if needed. Press dough into a 9-inch pie plate and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine all the filling ingredients and let stand for 15 minutes before stirring and spooning into the crust.
Bake the pie at 425° Fahrenheit for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to 350° Fahrenheit and bake for 40 more minutes, or until the apples are tender.
Mapled Sweet Potato Smoothie
Sometimes you will simply not have the appetite for a holiday dinner. A great option to consider for a meal alternative is a smoothie.
A mapled sweet potato smoothie is delicious and filling and can be a satisfying way to meet mesothelioma nutrition goals while still enjoying a holiday treat.
This is because sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, dietary fiber, and potassium. They are considered anticancer food because they contain 520% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, they also contain carotenoids, which help to control cell growth.
To make a mapled sweet potato smoothie, you will need:
- 1 sweet potato
- ½ cup of dates (Medjool dates are a sweet variety that work well)
- 2 tablespoons of cashews
- A pinch of cinnamon
- 1¼ cup of maple water (found in organic food sections of grocery stores)
- 1 orange
- 1 tablespoon of coconut oil
- Cupful of ice
Chop sweet potatoes into small chunks and roast for about 30 minutes on an oil-coated pan in a preheated oven at 400° Fahrenheit. Roughly chop the dates (removing the pits), then peel and chop the orange. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
In addition to these delicious suggestions, favorite holiday recipes can often be altered to better suit a mesothelioma patient’s nutritional needs.
More Help for Veterans Fighting Mesothelioma
Mesothelioma nutrition is just one of many important aspects that goes into battling this aggressive disease. Thankfully, veterans do not have to go into this fight alone.
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), top mesothelioma doctors, and legal professionals can be important allies. They can help veterans access top medical treatments and financial compensation after being diagnosed with this rare cancer.
Additionally, the Mesothelioma Veterans Center has a registered nurse on staff who can offer advice to mesothelioma patients about nutrition and other aspects of treatment. Our team can also help veterans pursue VA benefits, medical care, and financial aid.
Call (877) 450-8973 to get started today.