FOOD SAFETY FOR CANCER PATIENTS
As a cancer patient, your dietary plan should include fruits and vegetables, pulses, beans, whole grains, lean meat and low-fat dairy to improve your body’s strength and immune system. If your dietary plan meets all these requirements, focus should then shift towards ensuring that the food safety standards meet all the recommended guidelines as well. The proper preparation and storage of cancer-fighting foods varies based on the type of cancer that you have, your treatment and the ability of your immune system to fight off disease-causing bacteria and viruses present in food. Here are a few important food safety steps, which, implemented correctly, will allow your body to stay protected from food-borne illnesses and help you fight the battle against cancer.
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap under running water before and after cooking and eating food. You should also wash your hands thoroughly after touching foods, touching pets, handling garbage, dressing wounds and using the washroom.
- Clean your kitchen platform, utensils, cutleries, chopping boards and other related tools with clean towels or paper towels. Wash utensils and cutleries used to chop vegetables and slice meat separately to avoid the spread of contaminants.
- Rinse all fruits and vegetables thoroughly to remove dirt. Thick-skinned fruits that are peeled before eating should also be washed thoroughly to avoid bacteria from entering the fruits while cutting.
- Keep cutleries and cutting boards for meats, fish, fruits and vegetables separate to avoid contamination amongst these foods.
- Foods like raw meat, poultry and fish need to be kept separately. By coming into contact with each other, they tend to get contaminated and spoil easily. Prevent this by keeping all raw foods refrigerated separately in individual bags till their time of use.
- Store dry, packaged or canned foods in a suitable storage area with temperatures between 40ºF and 140ºF to prevent food spoilage.
- Foods that require cold temperatures for storage must be frozen immediately upon purchase.
- Store fully cooked meals in your refrigerator for a maximum of 2 hours and consume it as soon as possible. Avoid eating leftovers.
C. The Right Way to Prepare and Consume Meals
- A diet plan for cancer cure should revolve around fully cooked meals. Avoid raw meals like sushi, or undercooked foods such as eggs in mayonnaise and hollandaise sauce. Cancer fighting herbs and spices can be included in your dietary plan as well.
- Avoid consumption of processed foods which have broken seals or ones in dented cans.
- Defrost and thaw frozen foods completely before cooking.
- Use a food thermometer to cook your meats to its required temperature. Never rely on the texture or colour of the meat when determining if it is fully cooked.
- Avoid products such as unpasteurised milk, eggnog, juices, ciders and cheese.
- Double-check the expiry date on food packaging labels, both before purchase and consumption.
- Serve fully-cooked meals on clean dishes and avoid reusing dishes which previously held raw meat. Only reuse dishes after washing them thoroughly with dish soap and running water.