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What To Eat if You Have Multiple Myeloma

by | Jan 27, 2021 | Blog

You may have read our previous post about multiple myeloma (if not, you can check it out here) where we talked about how to get the most from your doctor. This post is going to explore some tips about what to eat if you have multiple myeloma!

For those of you who may not know, multiple myeloma is a type of blood cancer that develops in bone marrow and occurs when plasma cells (a type of blood cell) become cancerous. These cancerous cells then form a tumor, usually in the bone. If more than one tumor develops, it is known as multiple myeloma.

Chickpeas are a great source of plant-based iron.

While there is no proven diet that is intended to treat multiple myeloma, there are some nutrition strategies that can treat common symptoms of multiple myeloma such as anemia or kidney damage.

Multiple myeloma can cause anemia when myeloma cells interfere with the “blood-cell-making” activities of the bone marrow. This can lead to a shortage of red blood cells, which is called anemia. Anemia can cause fatigue and weakness

Anemia can also be caused by deficiencies in vitamin B-12, iron, and folate. Listed below are some great sources of iron, folate, vitamin B-12, and vitamin D. It is important to remember that you should always consult your doctor or a dietitian before making changes to your diet.

Iron

Did you know there are two types of iron? They are called heme (from animal-based foods) and non-heme (from plant foods). Heme iron is absorbed by the body more easily.

Heme iron sources include: clams, liver, red meat, and sardines.

Non-heme iron sources include: beans, nuts, lentils, chick-peas, and spinach/leafy greens.

Eating sources of vitamin C (bell peppers, oranges, berries) with non-heme iron helps enhance absorption! 

Folate

Folate is a B vitamin that helps red and white blood cells form in the bone marrow. Foods that are high in folate are: asparagus, beef liver, lentils, broccoli, black-eyed peas, spinach, and beans.

Black-eyed peas are a source of folate.

Vitamin B-12

Vitamin B-12 is folate’s “sidekick,” and together, they form red blood cells. If you are B-12 deficient, your bone marrow’s ability to make and maintain red blood cells may be decreased. Some B-12 sources are: beef, clams, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, nutritional yeast, and fortified breakfast cereals.

Vitamin D

Sunlight, fortified orange juice, fortified yogurt and milk, salmon, tuna, and egg yolks are great sources of vitamin D! In addition to food sources, current guidelines recommend a daily supplement of vitamin D (400-1000 IU per day) to help support bone health.  

Although research about multiple myeloma is constantly evolving, eating a healthy diet can help reduce some of the symptoms or side effects of multiple myeloma and keep you/your loved one strong during treatment! Again, be sure to consult a dietitian or your doctor before making changes to your diet.

 

Are you looking for resources during COVID-19?

Start This Year Stronger Together! Access free, in-app health coaching and expert programs about multiple myeloma. Connect with peer-to-peer support while helping improve the quality of care for people in Canada with multiple myeloma. By joining our Stronger Together community, you’ll have virtual health support in the palm of your hand this winter while learning more about what you can do to improve your health and wellness. Follow along with daily discussions, Q&A with experts, peer insights and take part in a personalized program just for you! Spots are limited so join here now!

 

References 

Multiple Myeloma and Anemia. (n.d.). International Myeloma Foundation. Retrieved January 20, 2021, from https://www.myeloma.org/multiple-myeloma-anemia

 

Multiple myeloma diet: Best foods to eat and avoid. (2018, February 28). https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321081

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