As cancer treatment takes its course healing your body and restoring your strength, it is important to do all that you can to assist in the recovery process. An influential aspect is the food you consume. There are some foods that can endanger your health and further inflame your symptoms.
“Cancer patients are more susceptible to foodborne illnesses as it is more difficult for their bodies to fight it,” said Julie Rothenberg, MS, RD, LDN of JuliENERGYnutrition in Pembroke Pines, Florida.
A foodborne illness is already unpleasant, but the effects on someone with a weakened immune system can become especially serious. Luckily, there are specified foods you should avoid and steps you can take to ensure contact with illness is lessened.
“During chemotherapy, patients should avoid raw fish, shellfish, undercooked meats and raw eggs,” said Rothenberg. “Unpasteurized fruit juice or cider, unpasteurized milks and cheeses should be avoided as well. Raw fruits and vegetables are fine, except for raw sprouts. All produce should be washed thoroughly though.
Foods you should eliminate from your diet during treatment includes: hot dogs, deli meat, unpasteurized yogurt, soft cheeses, smoked fish, raw sprouts, undercooked beef, oysters, sushi, sashimi and raw cookie dough.
Other foods that aren’t necessarily foodborne illnesses carriers, but could worsen side effects are: fried foods, spicy foods, salty foods, milk, beans, legumes, alcohol, caffeine and citrus.
With these food items off of your grocery list, there are still further steps you can take to avoid contact with germs. A rule of thumb is to never buy from an area you view as unclean. When selecting produce do not settle for anything that might be bruised or damaged and packaged products should not contain any dents or cracks. It is wise to pick up any spoilable items towards the end of your trip and go directly home to refrigerate the items.
When preparing food, rinse all produce well and wash your hands before handling any items. Disinfect your kitchen before and after cooking and invest in two cutting boards – one for meat and another for produce. Any leftovers should be discarded within 3-4 days.
When eating out, buffets and salad bars should be avoided as they receive the most contact with germs. The restaurants you choose need to be the epitome of clean and only serving made to order food.
It might be difficult to imagine life without sushi or a cheese plate of brie, but these indulgences are not worth weeks of sickness, and they will be right there waiting for you once your body is healed and healthy.