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What are some good food choices for cancer patients?

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Quick Answer

Cancer patients should follow a diet that emphasizes healthy sources of protein, such as fish, poultry, tofu, eggs and ground meat, according to the American Cancer Society. Patients may be advised to follow a low-fiber diet in order to reduce diarrhea, cramping or indigestion.

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Full Answer

Low-fiber diets reduce the amount of undigested food moving though the bowels and lowers stool production, states the American Cancer Association. Fiber may be allowed in small quantities, depending on why it's recommended for the patient. Insoluble fiber tends to irritate the intestines as it does not dissolve in the stomach, while soluble fiber attracts water which creates a gel-like substance, making it easier to digest.

Patients following low-fiber diets should focus on low-fiber grains, such as white breads, pretzels, plain pasta, white rice and cream of wheat, states the American Cancer Society. Fruits and vegetables should be skinless and cooked or canned. Dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream and custard, can be consumed in moderation.

Foods to avoid include nuts, seeds, beans, lentils and legumes, as well as whole-grains such as brown rice, bran, granola, kasha and whole wheat products, states the American Cancer Society. Additionally, patients should stay away from processed meats, such as hot dogs, cold cuts and sausage, as well as certain high-fiber vegetables, including broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, greens and cauliflower.

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