People, even someone undergoing renal diet, may think that handling and meal prep is a piece of cake (pun intended).
However, bacteria and foreign contaminants like E. coli, Listeria, and Salmonella can easily invade food items and cause food borne illnesses. In your case as a CKD patient, this is severely vital, because some food borne contaminants can worsen your kidney health and, ultimately, lead to kidney failure.
An example of such a disease is hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), which develops when E.coli in the digestive tract produce toxins that enter the bloodstream and destroy red blood cells.
Children of 10 years and below, and adults 60 years old and above have been deemed greatly susceptible to this disease, according to information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIH-NIDDK).
During food preparation, it is important that as much as possible, food doesn’t get contaminated at any point during the process. Thus, in line with the goal of keeping kidneys healthy, the following basic guidelines should be observed to keep your food preparation relatively safe.
Rule 1: CLEAN
Maintaining cleanliness while preparing food is of utmost importance. Germs and other disease-causing microorganisms can come from anywhere, even from the air and your hands.
- Always start with clean hands and kitchen surfaces. Wash your hands in warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds before preparing food.
- For cutting boards, knives, and other utensils; wash them thoroughly in hot soapy water before & after use.
- Wash thoroughly all fruits and vegetables before eating.
- Clean all canned goods lids before opening; rust and other contaminants may have settled on them.
Rule 2: SEPARATE
The simple separation of your used utensils from the unused or to-be-used ones can greatly reduce the risk of spreading bacteria and diseases that could endanger your kidney health.
- Use a separate cutting board for fresh produce (fruits and vegetables), and another one for raw meats, poultry, and fish, to prevent diseases from spreading easily. Meats and poultry tend to carry bacteria and other microorganisms while raw.
- Never put cooked food back on the plate where raw meat was placed prior to cooking.
- Don’t reuse any marinade that came into contact with raw meats unless you bring it to a boil first to kill off any harmful elements in it.
Rule 3: COOK
Even during cooking, there are procedures to be followed to ensure food safety. These will also help in promoting healthy kidney function; a well-prepared, well-cooked dish is a friend to the kidneys.
- Always cook foods to their proper temperature. Some microorganisms are more resistant to heat that others, so to make sure no harmful bacteria survives, refer to the chart below for the minimum internal temperatures required.
Steaks & Roasts
- Always use a food thermometer to make sure food reaches its cooking temperature. Do not guess at whether it’s done or not.
Rule 4: CHILL
A little bit of trivia first...
Food chilling/freezing has been used as an effective way to store food long before, when people usually living in the most northern parts of the world took advantage of cold temperatures. However, it wasn't until the 1800's that ice houses were used in America to keep food fresh. It didn't take long for technology to develop, and refrigerators were born.
In any case, the tips below will help you keep your renal diet foods fresh and safe for as long as possible.
- Refrigerate all foods promptly to slow bacterial growth. If possible, put all foods in shallow containers to promote quicker cooling.
- Fridge temperature should be equal to or below 40°F (about 4.4°C), while the freezer must stay at 0°F (about -17°C) or below.
- All perishable food items should be refrigerated within 2 hours of cooking, or 1 hour, if outside temperature is greater than or equal to 90°F (about 32.2°C).
With these guidelines in mind, you will be able to ensure your food's safety, as well as you and your family's well-being. Safely prepared foods won't rush you to kidney failure, as well.
As a bonus, you can start practicing what you learned here with these kidney-friendly foods in this FREE food list eBook for you!
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Do you have other food safety guidelines in mind? Let us know in the comments section!