High Fiber Diets and Melanoma Treatment

Last updated: November 2022

Anyone remember having Grape Nuts for breakfast? Well, I do. First of all, there were no grapes and no nuts in Grape Nuts, at least nothing seemed like grapes or nuts. I had a few granules and was not in love with the taste nor texture. It was too gritty for me. I added milk and it didn’t change much. I am sure that many people love them, but I kept wondering where my Lucky Charms were.

My doctor recommended high-fiber

I dove into Grape Nuts because they were/are considered a high-fiber cereal and my doctor had recommended this for me. I had been struggling with cholesterol issues. I eventually got to like Grape Nuts when put in yogurt and by adding raisins. I found other sources of fiber in vegetables and whole grains. I felt better eating high-fiber foods and my overall health improved, too. High fiber may have other benefits as well.

High fiber benefits during immunotherapy

A recent study suggests that high-fiber foods may help melanoma patients going through immunotherapy treatments. The study from the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Research Center and the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that patients with a diet higher in fiber-rich foods when they started immunotherapy had better survival outcomes than those eating less fiber in their diet.1

Specifically, patients undergoing immune blockade (ICB) immunotherapy who consumed at least 20 grams of dietary fiber a day had better survival rates without their disease progressing. The study indicates that cancer outcomes are improved using dietary strategies that modulate the microbiome. The data suggests that the composition of gut microbiota can directly affect patient’s ability to respond to immunotherapy.1

In other words, consuming foods rich in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, and cereals like Grape Nuts may improve a melanoma patient’s response to immunotherapy. The authors of the study acknowledged that direct causation was not addressed and that there may be other factors in play. Yet, they were encouraged by their findings and more study is needed to gain a fuller understanding.

High-fiber menu items

As always, it is advisable to consult your own physician when considering changes in your diet. Here are a list of food high in dietary fiber.2

  • Beans (9 grams of fiber in ½ cup serving of shelled edumame)
  • Broccoli (5 grams of fiber per cup)
  • Berries (4 grams of fiber per cup on blueberries, and lets not forget strawberries and black berries)
  • Avocados, hello guacamole! (10 grams of fiber per cup)
  • Popcorn lovers unite! (1 gram of fiber per cup)
  • Whole Grains (brown rice, oats, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread---important to read your ingredient list. The first ingredient must be listed as whole grains.)
  • Apples and Dried Fruits (4 grams of fiber in an apple, depending on size)
  • Potatoes (sweet, red, purple and white with skin can provide almost 3 grams of fiber, not talking about French fries, sorry)
  • Nuts (sunflower seeds and almonds have more than 3 grams of fiber in a serving, raw and dry roasted preferred)
  • Grape Nuts (7 grams of fiber per serving, I did my own research and read the box myself.
  • Other oat-based and granola cereals are higher in fiber as well.)

Happy Eating!!!

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