Diabetes and Chronic Illness - Fresh Tips on Food Safety
Living well with a chronic health issue like diabetes is challenging. Prevention is key – enjoying foods that support good blood sugar control and following medication directions enhance long-term health and quality of life. To maximize the benefits of better food choices, be sure good food safety practices are on the menu.
The immune system protects health best when your body is well-nourished. Following food safety and nutrition care guidance should support good diabetes management and healthy immune systems. Diabetes may impact immune function by weakening immune system response, and slowing down digestion, allowing bacteria on food to multiply. Once infection has begun, it can be very difficult to treat. Adults 65 and older with diabetes can be especially vulnerable. Check out the tips and tools you can use to ensure you and your family can navigate successfully prevent food safety concerns.
Know Foodborne Illness Symptoms and Get Medical Care Quickly
Foodborne Illness Symptoms can worsen diabetes/all chronic illness symptoms, including elevating blood sugar and risk of dehydration. If you suspect foodborne illness, call your healthcare provider, or seek emergency care immediately.
- Many shoppers use recycled bags for packing groceries. Be sure to wipe these out or wash them each time you unpack them, with antibacterial wipes or spray and clean paper towels.
- Meat, seafood and fresh produce should be bagged before placing in a cart or shopping bag, so they don’t become cross-contaminated. If your grocery store limits plastic bags, bring your own clean bags to place foods in – clear bags allow for scanning prices and safe handling.
- Purchase pasteurized eggs and dairy products and use best-by and sell-by dates to ensure food purchases are fresh.
- Read labels to be sure foods will meet your needs for enjoyment and diabetes management.
Smart Storage and Prep
- Go directly home – if travel time is extended, use insulated bags and/or coolers to maintain food temperatures.
As soon as possible after shopping or grocery delivery, get chilled and frozen foods put away safely.
Cool tools available in the grocery store to keep food safe:
- Clean shopping bags, reusable ice packs, insulated shopping bags, and coolers.
- Appliance thermometer for the refrigerator – store food at 40 degrees F or lower.
- Cooking thermometer – find temperature charts to ensure foods are cooked to safe serving temps.
- Easy-clean plastic cutting boards (some are color-coded for meat, seafood, produce). Use clean knives and utensils while preparing foods, and do not reuse utensils, bowls or plates that have had raw food contact.
- Hot, soapy water, bleach and antibacterial wipes assist with cleaning cutting boards, utensils, and shopping bags.
- Moisturizing hand soap – keeping hands clean and skin in good condition are both important to diabetes management. BONUS – Good handwashing reduces risk of of flu, pneumonia, COVID-19, and other high-risk infections for those with chronic health conditions.
- Store raw and cooked foods safely in regularly cleaned designated refrigerator sections. If any items are damaged or have any indication of spoilage, don’t hesitate to discard. Follow the food safety mantra of “When in doubt, throw it out!”