Many studies have established a connection between a healthy diet (specifically, one high in fruits and vegetables) and an improved response to cancer treatment. In the book “What to Eat if You Have Cancer” some mesothelioma patients have attributed dietary changes to their increased survival rate.
In addition to prolonging survival rates, dietary tips provided by nutritionists help mesothelioma patients deal with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Overall, healthy eating should be a part of everyone’s daily life, not just those undergoing therapy.
During mesothelioma therapy, however, it can be difficult to fit in all of the nine recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. The following tips can help you sneak an extra vegetable serving into your diet!
- Bulk up your mashed potatoes with cauliflower Cauliflower is a type of cruciferous vegetable — a class of plants that are packed with vitamins, fiber and cancer-fighting phytochemicals. Studies show that these veggies can help prevent the oxidative stress that ultimately contributes to cancer development.Cooked, mashed cauliflower has a soft, smooth texture that is somewhat similar to mashed potatoes. Next time you are in the mood for comfort food, steam half a head of white cauliflower, then mash into a batch of mashed potatoes. Season it up and enjoy the bonus vegetable serving!
- Swap out brown gravy for an equally hearty mushroom gravy Gravy is a great way to add calories to your diet if you’re trying to avoid excessive weight loss. However, brown gravy offers little in terms of nutrition. Mushrooms are packed with nutrients — as well as certain compounds that can help enhance tumor response — and make an excellent add-in for savory gravies. Try a version with Reishi or Shiitake mushrooms and serve over the top of biscuits, mashed potatoes or brown rice.
- Give your baked goods a veggie boost with carrots, corn or pumpkin Healthy muffins (made with whole wheat flour and unrefined sweeteners such as maple syrup or honey) can be a great breakfast or snack option. They’re portable, high in fiber, and — if you get a little creative — a sneaky way to get a vegetable serving!Next time you’re in the mood for a batch of baked goods, get a little creative with your combinations. Need some inspiration? Think spiced carrot scones, buttermilk corn muffins or pumpkin chocolate chip quick bread!
- Stir pureed zucchini into your favorite marinara sauce Whether you prefer the flavor of a homemade marinara sauce or the convenience of a jarred version, it’s easy to sneak in an extra serving of vegetables by adding zucchini. Simply slice the zucchini and sauté in a splash of olive oil, then puree in a food processor and add to the original tomato sauce. Heat sauce and zucchini puree together before eating. Or skip the puree step if you like chunky vegetables in your marinara.
- Then serve over spaghetti squash instead of noodles. While noodles can be a soft, easy-to-digest food for patients experiencing diarrhea or nausea, most varieties are heavily processed and nutritionally void. Spaghetti squash, on the other hand, is a vitamin-A and beta-carotene packed whole food that cooks into thin, noodle-like strands.Slice the squash in half, remove the seeds and boil in a saucepan for 15 to 20 minutes until the flesh is tender; scrape out the strands and top with your zucchini-infused pasta sauce.
What are your favorite vegetable-packed recipes? Do you have any creative ways to add extra produce to your daily diet? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook.