Myelofibrosis (MF) is a rare type of bone marrow cancer that disrupts the body’s production of normal blood cells. As with other myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), when diagnosed with MF, many people are advised to watch and wait rather than start treatment right away. It can cause widespread damage to the bone marrow, causing weakness, fatigue, and malaise. Because MPNs form in stem cells in the bone marrow, problems such as food allergies or intestinal disorders can cause inflammation and increase the symptoms of MF. Therefore, in addition to getting enough sleep and physical activity, a healthy diet can support a patient’s well-being and improve their quality of life. However, as in all diseases, the diet to be applied should be prepared with the advice of a doctor and dietitian.
In this article, you can find healthy nutrition recommendations, the importance of nutrition in diagnosing MF, and friendly and hostile foods with MF.
Connection Between Nutrition and Myelofibrosis
Cytokines are proteins released by cells. Some promote inflammation. Many studies have shown that inflammatory cytokines are abnormally high in MF patients.
There is no known specific diet for myelofibrosis. But a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, protein sources, and healthy fats can boost immunity, energize the patient, reduce inflammation, and help control weight. A healthy diet can suppress the stress caused by the disease.
What to Eat When You Have Myelofibrosis?
For a healthy life, the diet should be standardized. While creating a good diet, products that maximize antioxidant intake should be preferred and reduce the risk of disease.
Antioxidants such as vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, beta-carotene, and lycopene fight free radicals and may help prevent cancer. Plant-based foods reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attack and high blood pressure, and help maximize your antioxidant intake. Fiber foods stimulate proper digestion, aid glycemic control, manage healthy lipids, and support balanced gut microbiota. Females need at least 25 grams of fiber per day for optimal health, and males need at least 35 grams of fiber per day.
A diet high in fiber and antioxidants may include:
- Beta-carotene and lycopene (apricot, carrot, pumpkin, sweet potato, bell pepper, etc.)
- Vitamin A (spinach, chard, carrot, zucchini, sweet potato, etc.)
- Vitamin B12 (Vitamin B12 is only found in foods of animal origin: milk, yogurt, cheese, eggs, etc.)
- Vitamin C (leafy greens such as broccoli, turnip and mustard, melon, orange, lemon, strawberry, tomato, bell pepper, etc.)
- Vitamin D (mushrooms, parsley, oats, milk, cheese and yogurt, butter, tuna, salmon, fish oil, etc.)
- Vitamin E – also known as alpha-tocopherol – (avocado, peanuts, sunflower seeds, boiled spinach, etc.)
- Iron (dark green leafy vegetables, molasses, fish, legumes, nuts, etc.)
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc.)
- Whole grains
- Legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils, wheat, etc.)
- Nuts and seeds
The MPN Research Foundation lists the nutrients that are important for people with myelofibrosis as follows:
- Fruits such as strawberries and citrus
- Vegetables such as greens, carrots, peppers, and broccoli
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains such as oats and quinoa
- Healthy fats such as olive oil and avocado
- Protein sources such as fish, beef, greek yogurt, chicken, and eggs
What to Avoid When You Have Myelofibrosis?
Myelofibrosis can cause inflammation and other health problems in the body. It is necessary to avoid unnatural foods such as processed foods, red meat, fast food, high alcohol, high-sugar foods and beverages, excessive salt, and trans fats.