There aren’t any proven diets to treat multiple myeloma. However, there are specific nutritional strategies that you can use throughout your treatment to strengthen your immune system and prevent infection.
Be aware that multiple myeloma and its treatments may make it difficult to eat right, but there are steps you can take to help. Sometimes eating is the last thing you want to do.
The symptoms of this blood cancer and the side effects of treatment can make it hard to have an appetite or eat as much as you used to. Getting the right nutrients (and enough of them) is an important part of getting well.
Strategies to Use Throughout Your Treatment
Having a strategy, for your nutrition, will help keep you on track during your treatment. Using these nine strategies will help you feel well:
- Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day
- Choose foods that are easy on your stomach
- Include protein-rich foods
- Choose whole grains
- Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables
- Stay hydrated
- Choose healthy fats
- Limit added sugars
- Practice good food safety
Foods to Avoid
Multiple myeloma makes your immune system weaker. At times, most likely due to intense chemotherapies such as a stem cell transplant or potent immunotherapies, you. might end up neutropenic. This means that your blood cell counts are so low you are more likely to contract an infection when you would not otherwise.
During these times of neutropenia, you’ll want to stay away from any foods that could make you sick, including:
- Raw meat or fish
- Runny eggs
- Unpasteurized drinks
- Unwashed fruits and vegetables
Foods for Anemia
Multiple myeloma can cause anemia. With anemia, you can experience fatigue and weakness. Anemia can also be caused by deficiencies in iron, folate, and vitamin B-12. Here are some foods that are rich in iron, folate, or vitamin B-12 that you could consider adding to your diet:
- red meat
- spinach and other leafy greens
- fortified breakfast cereals
- fortified non-dairy milk, such as soy milk, flax milk, or almond milk
A small study of post-myeloma treatment patients showed that about 60 percent had a vitamin D deficiency. Here are some sources you can use to make sure you are getting your vitamin D and avoid the deficiency.
- fortified orange juice
- fortified yogurt and milk
- sockeye salmon, tuna, and sardines
- egg yolks
Along with your medications and other treatments, lifestyle changes can have a big impact on your fight against myeloma. Healthy eating habits can be hard at first, but remember, that eating healthier can strengthen our body to fight the multiple myeloma.
about the author
Lora is an Editorial Contributor for the Myeloma Crowd and proud mom of 6 kids and 5 grandkids. In addition to supporting myeloma patients, she loves creating fun parties and activities for her grandkids to enjoy.