If you’ve been diagnosed with mesothelioma, your diet and nutrition is most likely the last thing on your mind. During a time like this, you must keep not only your spirit up, but you must keep your body strong for the medical journey that you are about to embark on.

4 Healthy Foods for Mesothelioma Patients

The following are some essential foods that can be combined to create a healthy mesothelioma diet. These foods can help boost your immune system while you are combatting mesothelioma.

  • 1


In moderation, starches help provide pure food energy to your body. They contain complex carbohydrates and help stabilize your blood sugar by releasing glucose into your bloodstream. Starches also contain compounds called protease inhibitors, which inhibit tumor growth.

Some examples of starches are

  • Beans
  • Whole Grain Cereal
  • Brown and Wild Rice
  • Red Potatoes
Meal Tip: You can use your favorite can of beans, drain the liquid from them, rinse them, and add them to your favorite soup or salad.
  • 2


Vegetables contain beta-carotene, carotenoids, and vitamin C, which helps to stimulate your immune system and may even be toxic to tumors. They contain soluble and insoluble fiber, which is also good for your digestive system.

Meal Tip: Buy your favorite bag of organic salad for a quick and effortless meal.

  • 3


Don’t let the saying of “sugar fuels cancer,” ruin your thoughts about fruit. Fruits provide your body with carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other key nutrients that it needs. It contains hardly any protein or fat. Fruits do not contain methionine, which is an amino acid that cancer cells are dependent on.

Meal Tip: Don’t worry if you can’t buy organic fruit. Simply remove the skins of your fruit to reduce any possible pesticide exposure.

  • 4


Protein helps by repairing and maintaining the tissues that are inside of your body. Protein that comes from animals can cause inflammation in your body. It is best that you eat animal protein in small servings. It is a good idea to try to get your protein from anti-inflammatory foods.

Some examples of anti-inflammatory foods are

  • Spinach
  • Salmon
  • Berries
  • Olive oil

Other great sources of protein can be found in yogurt and nuts. Yogurt helps promote the regrowing of microflora in your stomach which might be killed during chemotherapy. Nuts are a great option because they contain oils that help prevent inflammation in your body.

Meal Tip: Try replacing milk with yogurt in your shakes, smoothies, or recipes.

Advice from a Mesothelioma Dietitian

Cheryl Bixby is a clinical dietitian at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center. She works with mesothelioma patients that are seeking care under Dr. David Sugarbaker. Her goal is to prepare patients with diets that will strengthen their bodies before and after surgery.

Cheryl lets each patient know, “I’m not going to hurt you. I’m not taking away your favorite foods. We’re just kind of looking for something that’s going to benefit you.”

Cheryl doesn’t believe in giving her patients harsh diet restrictions because they need to maintain a healthy weight. Her basic plan for mesothelioma patients is a high protein and low sugar diet.

“Dr. Sugarbaker likes a big protein boost before surgery and after surgery,” Cheryl said.

After recovery, Cheryl will talk to patients about more specific mesothelioma diet options.

”When people are pretty far out, doing well, we talk more about an anti-cancer diet like high fruits and vegetables, a lot of plant-based stuff, Mediterranean diet, anti-inflammatory, but the bulk of my work is around getting those people ready for surgery,” Cheryl said.

After a patient goes through treatment, Cheryl talks to them about finding the right supplements to take and how to help manage their side effects. She isn’t going to make any patient take bizarre supplements or deprive them of foods that they love to eat.

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    Sources & Author

  1. Maureen Keane, M.S., and Daniella Chace, M.S. (2007). What To Eat If You Have Cancer. New York. McGraw-Hill.
  2. Integrative Oncology Essentials. Kill Cancer By Restricting Methionine-Rich Foods. Retrieved from: https://integrativeoncology-essentials.com/2014/07/kill-cancer-restricting-methionine-rich-foods/. Accessed: 05/31/2017.
  3. Bixby, Cheryl. Interview by Jamie Iovino and Jenna Campagna. Interview with Baylor Team Members. Retrieved from: https://www.stlukeshealth.org/locations/baylor-st-lukes-medical-center. Accessed: May 2017.
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About the Writer, Nicole Godfrey

Nicole Godfrey is the Senior Content Writer for Mesothelioma Guide. She writes and edits pages to make sure that mesothelioma patients and their families receive the most current and significant information about mesothelioma.