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Good nutrition is important for everyone, but it is really critical for patients who have multiple myeloma. Nutrition is important because myeloma can deplete cells and nutrients that typically fortify your joints and bones. The disease and its remedies can impair the ability of the kidneys to prevent the buildup of harmful fluids, reduce your body’s natural immunity, and cause a low red blood cell count (anemia).
Healthy eating can play a big role in your recovery, your day-to-day wellness, and your energy level. While medications and other methods can be used to restore nutrients lost through myeloma or its treatments, one of the most powerful and natural ways to replenish them is by eating healthy foods.
While nutrition is important, having multiple myeloma can make it challenging to eat right. And the treatments for myeloma can cause fatigue, nausea, and loss of appetite, among others. Talk to your doctor or nurse if you are experiencing eating and digestion issues.
Here are some basic guidelines for boosting your body’s potential:
Fresh food and nutrients.
Adding iron to your diet can help prevent anemia. Iron is plentiful in foods like raisins, kale, lettuce, lean red meat and brussels sprouts. You can also find it in broccoli and citrus fruits.
The kidneys of myeloma patients are already working very hard, so there are a few things you should consider. To begin with, reduce the amount of sodium in your diet by eliminating alcohol intake, not adding salt to your food, and keeping an eye on the sodium content of your food choices. Meals from fast-food restaurants and processed snacks often contain very high amounts of sodium, so you’ll want to limit those.
Proteins and foods rich in potassium, which are healthy options for many people, can actually strain the kidneys, so talk to your doctor about the right amount of protein for you. You should also ask your doctor about healthy fluid intake because drinking too much liquid can be tough on your kidneys.
If you have constipation, consider adding fiber in the form of oatmeal, nuts and beans, dried apricots or prunes, oranges and berries, and broccoli and carrots. Staying hydrated is recommended if you’re constipated, but as noted above, be careful not to hydrate too much. Talk to your doctor or your CVS Specialty CareTeam about finding the right balance.
Because myeloma patients are at greater risk of infection, you (and anyone who prepares meals for you) should take some extra safety precautions during food preparation. This means frequent hand washing before cooking or serving food, washing foods before eating if possible, and cooking meats, eggs, and fish to the recommended internal temperatures to limit the risk of bacterial infection.
This information is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment. Talk to your doctor or health care provider about your medical condition and prior to starting any new treatment. CVS Specialty assumes no liability whatsoever for the information provided or for any diagnosis or treatment made as a result, nor is it responsible for the reliability of the content.
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