Multiple myeloma is a rare type of cancer that primarily develops in the bone marrow. Treatments like chemotherapy ultimately affect diet, leading to lost appetite and skipped meals, while feelings of being overwhelmed can make the very thought of food unapproachable. Nonetheless, food is a powerful source of cancer-fighting nutrients. Maintain your body’s health with all it needs to stay strong against aggressors like multiple myeloma. The diet tips below will give you the strength to do just that.
While the cause of this cancer is unknown, the Cancer Network reports of increased incident cases of multiple myeloma, surging to approximately 126% globally, and 94% reported deaths. Of these, the US had the highest incident cases and deaths. Conventional treatment for this condition includes chemotherapy, surgery, radiation, and stem cell transplant.
Like any other form of cancer, diet is a special prescription for multiple myeloma patients. Getting enough of the necessary nutrients is an important part of recovery. However, the side effects of treatment can make it hard to develop an appetite or eat healthily. That said, below are some of the best foods and foods to avoid when treating multiple myeloma.
Top 5 Best Foods for Multiple Myeloma
Including the right food in your diet can help you withstand treatment, speed recovery, and feel better. The right food should provide a perfect balance of nutrients. Some of the foods to include in diet include;
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a good source of antioxidants that help the body rebuild itself. Patients undergoing cancer treatment experience frequent constipation, which is due to the side effects of cancer medications. Including greens in the diet helps in fighting constipation, which promotes healthy eating habits. For this, always make sure that your vegetables and fruits are cooked properly to reduce the risks of developing gastrointestinal infections from raw produce.
Fiber-rich foods are important not only for cancer patients but also for those looking to maintain a healthy digestive system. As mentioned, constipation is a common side effect of multiple myeloma drugs. As such, you should boost fiber content in your diet to reduce constipation from chemotherapy. Fiber helps the body to break down food and clear the bowel easily. Whole grains, oatmeal, carrots, broccoli, dried fruits like prunes, nuts, and beans are excellent sources of fiber.
Chemotherapy generally affects the digestive system, which may lead to diarrhea as well. Patients experiencing these side effects should consider a BRAT diet for its low-fiber content. It antagonizes the effects of fiber diets. The diet includes bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. Patients with diarrhea should also take plenty of water and broth to stay hydrated.
Vitamins and Minerals
Dieticians also recommended daily supplements of vitamins and minerals that maintain the patient’s health. For this, folate, fish oil, and vitamin D are good sources.
Anemia is one of the common symptoms of multiple myeloma. This results from cancerous cells that crows out healthy blood cells, causing a shortage of red blood cells. To treat anemia, diets rich in iron are encouraged. Iron-rich foods include beans, dark leafy greens, and lean meat.
Top 5 Worst Foods for Multiple Myeloma
Patients suffering from multiple myeloma should steer away from the following foods.
Foods rich in potassium
The breakdown of bones leads to excessive accumulation of calcium in the bloodstream. This may overload the kidney filtration activity, causing subsequent kidney damage. As such, to lessen kidney functions, foods rich in potassium such as avocados, citrus, bananas, and tomatoes should be limited.
Food rich in phosphorus
A high phosphorus diet should be avoided as well to avoid kidney damage. Some foods to avoid include bran cereals, whole-grain bread, and sunflower seeds.
Eating raw or undercooked foods can cause new infections and illnesses to patients with multiple myeloma. Since their immunity is compromised, they may not fight off pathogens from raw food as individuals with a healthy immune system would. Raw food includes raw meat, raw seafood, poultry, uncooked eggs, unpasteurized dairy, and raw sprouts.
Sweets and sugars
Multiple myeloma patients should also avoid food with excessive sugar in their diet. Sweets and desserts provide little nutritional value and take the significant place of other foods, which could be otherwise nutritious.
Some people prefer including alcohol in their diets. However, drinking alcohol can contribute to dehydration, which impairs the immune system. It also has no beneficial nutrients in the body.
The Bottom Line
Eating a healthy diet significantly reduces the symptoms of multiple myeloma and associated side effects of chemotherapy. This greatly improves the person’s quality of life and makes them strong when undergoing treatment. The best way to benefit from such a healthy diet is by eating small, frequent meals. This ensures that the body maintains enough proteins, calories, and nutrients.
 “Multiple Myeloma – Symptoms And Causes”. 2020. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/multiple-myeloma/symptoms-causes/syc-20353378.
 “Multiple Myeloma Incidence Increasing Worldwide, Especially In The US”. 2020. Cancernetwork.Com. https://www.cancernetwork.com/view/multiple-myeloma-incidence-increasing-worldwide-especially-us.
 “Diet Tips For Multiple Myeloma”. 2020. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/cancer/multiple-myeloma-diet.
 Crowd, The. 2020. “What To Eat When You Have Multiple Myeloma”. Myelomacrowd.Org. https://www.myelomacrowd.org/what-to-eat-with-multiple-myeloma-some-dietary-recommendations/.