How to avoid constipation during cancer treatment

Since everyone is different, the side effects to cancer treatment vary from person to person. One common problem is constipation. Registered dietitian nutritionist Maria Erdman provides these possible solutions:

* Choose foods that are high in fiber for your meals and snacks. Shoot for 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day. Some suggestions from the Mayo Clinic:

FRUITS

1 cup raspberries = 8 grams fiber

1 medium pear, with skin = 5.5 grams fiber

1 medium apple, with skin = 4.4 grams fiber

1 medium banana or orange = 3.1 grams fiber

1 cup strawberry halves = 3 grams fiber

GRAINS, CEREAL & PASTA

1 cup whole wheat cooked spaghetti = 6.3 grams fiber

1 cup pearled barley, cooked = 6 grams fiber

¾ cup bran flakes = 5.3 grams fiber

1 medium oat bran muffin = 5.2 grams fiber

1 cup instant cooked oatmeal = 4 grams fiber

LEGUMES, NUTS & SEEDS

1 cup split peas, cooked = 16.3 grams fiber

1 cup lentils, cooked = 15.6 grams fiber

1 cup black beans, cooked = 15 grams fiber

1 cup lima beans, cooked = 13.2 grams fiber

1 cup baked beans, vegetarian, canned, cooked = 10.4 grams fiber

VEGETABLES

1 medium artichoke, cooked = 10.3 grams fiber

1 cup green peas, cooked = 8.8 grams fiber

1 cup broccoli, boiled = 5.1 grams fiber

1 cup turnip greens, boiled = 5 grams fiber

1 cup Brussels sprouts, cooked = 4.1 grams fiber

* Introduce fiber into your diet slowly, with a few additional grams every couple days. Otherwise, it may cause stomach upset.

* Keep hydrated with plenty of liquids, and if you are increasing your fiber intake, increase your fluid intake, too.

* Stay active with exercise, as you are able.

* Eat at roughly the same times each day.

* Eat breakfast when you start your day, and include both high-fiber foods and coffee, hot tea or hot water with lemon. Hot beverages may act as stimulants.

 

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