Feasting is one of the best parts of the holiday season, from magnificent main courses to delectable desserts. Unfortunately, food-related disasters, such as food poisoning, stomach upset, and overeating can make the holidays a lot less pleasant. But, with your hectic schedule of decorating, shopping, gift giving, cooking and eating, how can you take the time to ensure that the food you eat will not ruin your holidays?
Simple – use this holiday health survival guide! It’s full of valuable information to help protect you and your family from foodborne bacteria and other digestive problems.
Foodborne illnesses happen when certain strains of potentially bad bacteria, viruses or parasites enter your digestive tract. E. coli is a type of bacteria that commonly causes food poisoning and other digestive problems. E. coli normally lives in the digestive tract and most strains of E. coli are harmless. Some strains of the bacteria, however, can cause nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, fever, and fatigue. A few strains can cause severe illness, kidney failure, and even death.
You can get E. coli and other ‘bad’ bacteria, viruses or parasites from food, particularly from food that has been exposed to contaminants during preparation, serving or storage.
Dough and batter made from flour or eggs can contain E. coli, Salmonella, and other harmful germs. Never eat unpasteurized dough or cookie batter of any kind.
One single outbreak of another type of E. coli between December 2015 and September 2016 sickened 56 people. Infection with this type of E. coli can cause bloody diarrhea and may even lead to kidney failure. About one-quarter of those sickened in the 2016 outbreak wound up in the hospital. Doctors determined that raw flour was the source of the outbreak.
Eggnog, tiramisu, hollandaise sauce, and Caesar dressing recipes often call for raw eggs. Avoid using unpasteurized eggs in these recipes, as Salmonella and other potentially harmful germs can live on both the outside and inside of normal-looking eggs. Heat the mixture to 160 degrees Fahrenheit, or until it coats a metal spoon, to kill any bacteria in your eggnog.
Unpasteurized cider, sometimes sold as “natural cider,” can also contain E. coli. Contaminated unpasteurized cider occasionally causes breakouts of illness. Seven people in Maryland were sickened in 2010 after drinking contaminated unpasteurized cider, for example, and three people in Ontario fell ill after drinking the untreated apple cider.
Most people know how to cook a turkey, but did you know altitude makes a difference? If you are enjoying a special holiday meal in the mountains, you may be at risk for an undercooked turkey. Air pressure is lower at high altitudes; this causes water to boil at lower temperatures and puts you at risk of food poisoning. Depending on the density and size of the meat, you will need to simmer or braise turkey and other poultry up to 25 percent longer when cooking at altitudes of 5000 feet or higher. Use a food thermometer to prevent foodborne illness associated with undercooking and to avoid dry, unappealing food caused by overcooking.
Keep hot food hot, and cold food cold, as you move it from place to place. Also, store your food quickly to reduce the risk of contamination, as bacteria grow quickly at room temperature. Refrigerate or freeze perishable food within two hours of preparation.
Feel your best this season by using good food safety habits, exercise and proper nutrition.
Wash your hands frequently during meal preparation and before meals to reduce contamination. Use a food thermometer; cook poultry to 165 degrees Fahrenheit, ground meats to 160 ºF, and pork to 145 ºF with a three-minute rest.
Maintain an exercise schedule that is as close to normal as possible. Regular exercise helps you digest food and burn off calories.
Proper nutrition makes a big difference in how you feel during the holidays. Nibble on small portions of the rich holiday foods, and fill up on salads, fruits, and vegetables. Drink plenty of water to reduce your appetite and improve digestion.
Proper nutrition during the holidays also includes probiotics that help you maintain a healthy gut. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that help you digest food, absorb nutrients, and get the most out of the food you eat. These beneficial bacteria also take up space and crowd out harmful bacteria.
Perhaps one of the best benefits of probiotics is that they can help you feel happy and healthy throughout the holidays. Use probiotics along with the other tips in this holiday health survival guide, to have a happy and healthy Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, and New Year.
The post Holiday Health Survival Guide – Avoid These Seasonal Hazards appeared first on Natren Probiotics Blog.
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