A Neutropenic Diet
Many of us may have heard about the word “Neutropenia”, but do we know the actual meaning? Let us comprehend the word “Neutropenia”.
Neutropenia is basically a decreasing level of neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. The function of white blood cells helps the body to fight against infections, in this way Neutrophils fights with infection by destroying bacteria and fungi (such as yeast).
Symptoms and causes
- People who have neutropenia are at increased risk for developing somber infections and the reason behind is that there aren’t enough neutrophils to destroy harmful microorganisms that cause disease, such as bacteria. It occurs in about half of people with cancer receiving chemotherapy and is common in people with leukemia.
- As mentioned above that neutropenia occurs mostly in patients who are receiving chemotherapy. Besides this, people with bone marrow transplantation, or human immunodeficiency virus/ acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) are often put on a Neutropenic diet.
Your doctor/ health care practitioner will let you know when to start this diet and when you can resume your normal eating habits.
Let’s have a glance over the basic guideline
Basic dietary guidelines for Neutropenic diet:
- Avoid all uncooked vegetables and most uncooked fruits. You may eat a fruit of which you can peel a thick skin off, such as banana or an orange. However, cooked vegetables and canned fruits and juices are safe to eat.
- Avoid raw or rare meat and fish and uncooked or undercooked eggs. Cook meat until it’s meticulously done; similarly completely cook eggs (no liquid yolks).
- Avoid salad bars and deli counters. Buy completely packed lunch meats instead of freshly sliced meat.
- Consume only pasteurized milk, yogurt, cheese, and other dairy products.
- Don’t use soft mold-ripened and blue-veined cheeses, such as Brie, Camembert, Roquefert, Gorgonzola, Stilton and Bleu.
- Avoid well water or boil it for 1 minute before drinking. At home it’s fine to drink tap water or bottled water.
- Also avoid cheeses containing peppers or any uncooked vegetables.
- Patients on the neutropenic diet should not peel or cut fruits or vegetables, but should have someone else do that for them.
- Don’t use frozen yogurt, or yogurt with live and active cultures.
Some useful tips:
Patients with neutropenia or on neutropenic diet should keep these tips in consideration.
- Make sure to follow proper food safety techniques, including properly washing your hands before touching any food.
- Take a multivitamin that doesn’t contain iron each day following transplant.
- Boil well water for 1 minute before drinking. If using bottled water, make sure that the water was produced through reverse osmosis, distillation, or filtered through an absolute 1-micron or smaller filter by checking the label.
- Check all expiration dates before eating or preparing food.
- Discard any cooked food that was left at room temperature for 1 hour or longer.
- Do not prepare any salads with mayonnaise, unless you plan to eat them immediately.
- Eat all leftovers within 24 hours.
- Do not handle any bread dough that contains yeast.
- Do not wash or peel fresh fruit yourself.