What is the best diet for myeloma patients to build a strong immune system?
What can myeloma patients do to strengthen their immune system?
In this episode, Dr. Brian G.M. Durie discusses the best diet and lifestyle habits for myeloma patients to help boost their immune system.
The BOTTOM LINE:
Choose whole foods with a focus on a Mediterranean-style diet. Reducing stress, staying active, and maintaining social connections can help bolster the immune system.
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This week’s “Ask Dr. Durie” is, again, rather a common question. What kind of diet should I eat to try to keep my immune system as strong as possible? So obviously, a very good question. The simple answer is that you should eat the best type of general diet that you can.
The question then is: What is a good general diet? The best thing is to stick with what I call real food and avoid processed food. So, what that means is that you eat fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, and produce and that you avoid processed foods, things like burgers, diet cokes, and things like that.
Why do I say that? What is the basis for that? One very important source of information is the “blue zones.” These are places around the world, of which there are several, one of them is on the island of Ikaria in Greece, where people live to be over one hundred and they stay healthy.
The question is: What kind of diet do they eat? They eat a Mediterranean-style diet. They eat locally processed fruits, vegetables, and fish, very limited on animal fat and meats. This has contributed to ongoing health and longevity.
So, is that enough? Well, I think that the other thing that has been learned from these blue zones is that it’s important to work on your mental health. Try to de-stress, simplify your life, and in the case of myeloma, since your faced with dealing with complicated disease, a lot of different treatments and the like, try to build up your day-to-day resilience. When you wake up in the morning, you may not feel that resilient that particular day. This is something that you need to work on where you can try to de-stress and build up your mental health.
What is the best way to improve your immune system? Number one: Eat real food and focus on a Mediterranean-style diet which can be quite delicious as well as being healthy and then also focuses on your mental health. Try to de-stress, simplify your life, exercise, not too much if you have bone lesions or issues that need to be dealt with, but try to do your best to stay active, get together socially, even on zoom these days during the pandemic to maintain your social activity. This is the best way to try to boost and maintain a healthy immune system as possible.
Dr. Brian G.M. Durie serves as Chairman of the International Myeloma Foundation and serves on its Scientific Advisory Board. Additionally, he is Chairman of the IMF's International Myeloma Working Group, a consortium of nearly 200 myeloma experts from around the world. Dr. Durie also leads the IMF’s Black Swan Research Initiative®.