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neutropenic diet- cook for your life

Dealing With A Neutropenic Diet

By Elaine Guinan on May 14, 2017

During cancer treatment, you may be advised to follow a neutropenic diet if you develop neutropenia. Neutropenia is when neutrophils, a type of white blood cell in your blood, are low. This can occur as a side effect of cancer treatment, and means that your body is more vulnerable to infection, as neutrophils defend the body from bacteria which cause infection.

Evidence for the benefits of the neutropenic diet is limited, and different cancer centers often have their own recommendations for their patients. The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends that patients with neutropenia follow safe food handling techniques, and avoid foods which may pose a risk of infection. The avoidance of uncooked meats, seafood, eggs and unwashed fruits and vegetables is most commonly recommended.

This can cause a lot of anxiety for patients who are already dealing with the stress of cancer treatment, which may have other side effects affecting food intake such as taste changes or nausea. When dealing with any dietary restriction, it is important to communicate with your medical team or dietitian to ensure any questions you have are answered, which will help to take away some of the stress. Here are some more tips:

Following a neutropenic diet is not easy, however it can be done. Check out our neutropenic recipes for delicious meals which are safe to eat and can be enjoyed by the whole family and our food safety blog for more detailed tips-it’s essential reading!

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