Multiple myeloma is a cancer wherein the body’s plasma cells are affected. The American Cancer Society reports that over 30,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with the disease in recent times. Although the disease is not preventable, there are foods that help you to effectively manage multiple myeloma and its symptoms.
Malignant plasma cells may cause anemia or other infections. While normal cells try to ward off infections, myeloma cells prevent healthy cells from working efficiently. Myeloma cells instead accelerate bone breakdown, and put off new bone development, thus making fractures and breaks very common.
Conventional treatment includes chemotherapy, bisphosphonates, surgery, radiation, and stem cell transplant. Complementary treatments include special diets, herbs, vitamins, massage, and acupressure.
Although there are no such proven diets to treat or fight multiple myeloma, a specific nutrition strategy might prevent other symptoms like anemia or kidney damage. It may also reduce the risks of cancer recurrence.
Get adequate iron
Foods that curb multiple myeloma symptoms contain iron. Multiple myeloma leads to anemia – a condition in which the body contains only a few red blood cells. As a result, it causes weakness and fatigue. Other causes of anemia include deficiency in iron, vitamin B12, and folate.
Foods containing iron are an integral part of a diet that aims to help patients with the disease. Some good sources include:
- Lean red meat
- Bell peppers
- Sweet potatoes
- Brussel sprouts
- Tropical fruits like mango, pineapple, papaya, guava
Foods containing essential folate, a B vitamin that contributes to the formation of white and red blood cells in the bone marrow, include:
- Black-eyed kidney beans
- Beef liver
Foods containing vitamin B12 work together with folate to help the body form more red blood cells. Vitamin B12 deficiency can affect the ability of the bone marrow to make as well as maintain red blood cells in patients suffering from multiple myeloma.
Good sources of vitamin B12 include:
- Fortified breakfast cereal
- Nutritional yeast
- Fortified non-dairy milk like soy milk, almond milk, flax milk
In addition, vitamin D is also one of the nutrients to look for in foods that help curb multiple myeloma. Good sources of this vitamin include:
- Fortified orange juice
- Fortified milk and yogurt
- Egg yolks
- Sockeye salmon, sardines, and tuna
Get more fiber
Chemotherapy drugs often cause constipation. The best way to cope with this is to increase fiber intake and increase water consumption. High fiber foods include:
- Whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal
- Dried fruits like figs, raisins, prunes, and apricots
- Apples, oranges, and pears
- Nuts, lentils, and beans
- Carrots, artichokes, and broccoli
A study revealed that curcumin may be effective for patients with multiple myeloma. Curcumin is a compound present in turmeric, the spice. The study showed that curcumin may reduce the risk of resistance to chemotherapy medicines and ensure the drugs work properly. However, further research is required.