The immune system helps protect you from infection. When your immune system is weakened, it may not be able to rid the body of the bacteria found in some foods. By not eating the foods and drinks listed in the “Not Allowed” section, you are better able to prevent illnesses that may be caused by organisms in foods. The foods and drinks in the “Food Allowed” sections are safe when properly prepared. Talk with your doctor about how long you need to follow these guidelines.
|Food Groups||Foods Allowed||Foods Not Allowed|
|Meat and Meat Substitutes||
|Fruit and Nuts||
|Bread, Grain and Cereal Products||
Please talk with your doctor if you have any questions or concerns about these diet guidelines.
Note: Adapted from the following: Fred Hutchinson Nutritional Guidelines for Immunosuppressed Patients Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; High Risk Neutropenic Diet University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; Diet For Immunosuppressed Patients University of Mississippi Medical Center; Diet Guidelines For Immunosuppressed Patients Vanderbilt University Medical Center; and Patient and Family Educator For Food Safety, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Center.
Tips for Handling Foods For the People who are Immunosuppressed
- Always wash hands with warm soapy water before and after handling foods.
- Keep kitchen surfaces such as appliances, countertops, cutting boards and utensils clean with hot, soapy water. To wash food preparation areas (including cutting boards and all utensils) that have come into contact with raw meat, use 1 part bleach to 8 parts water (example: 1 oz. bleach to a cup of water).;
- Use two cutting boards: one strictly to cut meat, poultry and seafood; the other for ready – to – eat foods, like breads and vegetables. Use paper towels for drying. If using kitchen towels, wash daily. Replace sponges at least weekly and wash daily with bleach solution or place them in dishwasher and run through a complete cleaning cycle using the heat cycle.
- When preparing foods, the hands should be kept away from the hair, mouth and nose. If possible, jewelry (especially rings) should be removed, because they can hold germs.
- Dishes and silverware should be washed in hot soapy water, rinsed and air-dried, or washed and dried in the dishwasher on the heat cycle.
- Clean the inside of refrigerator regularly with soap and water to control mold.
- Check the expiration dates of all foods and discard if expired. Throw out all foods after 72 hours (3 days) in the refrigerator that have been opened, used, or leftover.
- Keep the refrigerator temperature between 34 F. degrees and 40 F. degrees. Freezer temperature should be below 5 degrees F. Keep cold foods cold (<40 F. degrees) and hot foods hot (>140 F. degrees); Defrost meat, turkey, and chicken in the refrigerator.
- Never use canned foods if the can is swollen, dented, or rusted.
- Avoid foods from self-serve, bulk containers.
- Avoid salad bars, delis, and buffets.
- At the supermarket, pick up perishables last and take them home right away.
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