Listeria Infection - The Cause and How to Prevent It?

Listeria infection is a type of disease caused by Listeria monocytogenes. 

For the past few years, the bacterium has caused hundreds of food product recalls, hospital visits and deaths. 

In the Philippines, Listeria infections cause thousands of illnesses and hundreds of deaths every year. 

What are the causes of Listeria infection? 

Typically, eating contaminated foods can cause it. The bacterium lives in soil and water. Thus, it’s possible that vegetables can be contaminated by this harmful organism when they’re grown in contaminated soil. 

Consuming meat products contaminated with Listeria can cause this infection to occur. 

Even if the meat products come from animals that don’t show symptoms of this disease, you can still get infected. That’s particularly true if the meat isn't well-cooked. 

You can also get infected when you eat food made from unpasteurized milk. 

What are the symptoms of Listeria infection? 

When you consume a contaminated food, the bacterium travels to your gastrointestinal and the blood stream. The bacteria that cause this disease can infect cells. 

Your nervous system is the favourite place that Listeria invades. It can grow there causing meningitis or encephalitis. 

Listeria monocytogenes tricks your body by hiding in your cells. Thus, it can easily travel from one cell to another without having to leave its intracellular environment. 

As a result of that, it makes it difficult for your immune system to attack the infection. 

The bacteria carry potent toxins that they can release and cause significant harm to your body. 

But if you’re healthy, the infection can cause undesirable symptoms, like fever, chills, vomiting and upset stomach. 

However, if you have weak immune system, listeria infection can be very dangerous. In early 2016, there was an outbreak of Listeria infection that affected mostly adults ages 81 and above. 

This infection is dangerous to pregnant women because they have special proteins in their body that can assist the bacteria to cross the placental barrier, which protects the baby from germs found in the mother’s blood. 

When you’re infected with Listeria monocytogenes while you’re pregnant, the infection can cause miscarriage, stillbirth or premature delivery. This infection is also life-threatening for the newborn. 

How to prevent Listeria infection? 

The best way to prevent it is to prepare your food carefully. To avoid the bacteria, you must only eat well-cooked meat. 

You should refrigerate cooked foods immediately or at least within two hours of preparing it. 

To minimise the risk of drinking contaminated milk, you should only consume dairy products made from pasteurised milk. 

Also, you must also consume meat that’s cooked at a factory within two weeks. The meat can be contaminated after cooking. 

When handling your food, you must wash your hands with warm soapy water. Most importantly, don’t use the same knife when cutting vegetables after you cut uncooked meat. It’s also the same with cutting board. 

Listeria monocytogenes can grow in your refrigerator. Thus, you should be cautious when storing foods that might be contaminated. 

Before eating fruits and vegetables, you must wash them first with cold, running water. Then, sanitize the areas where you prepare the food and throw away any leftovers four days after they’re prepared. If you need to reheat leftovers, you must heat it to 74 Celsius. 

Image Source: Listeria Infection

What Gallbladder Infection Diet You Must Follow?

A gallbladder infection can be quite tricky to treat. Your doctor may recommend a specific gallbladder infection diet so your condition won’t get worse to the point that your physician will advise the removal of this organ. 

When you’re recovering from this type of condition, there’s a specific gallbladder infection diet to follow. Essentially, this diet requires you to avoid high-fat foods. 

So, it’s not necessarily a fat-free diet. 

What to avoid when you have gallbladder infection? 

  • High-fat foods must be avoided. These would include the following: 
  • Fried foods, like potato chips and French fries
  • Meats like bacon, sausage, ribs and other high fat meats
  • Dairy products, such as cream sour cream ice cream and whole milk
  • Pizza
  • Meat gravies
  • Chocolate 
  • Palm, coconut oil, and other oils
  • Chicken or turkey skin

If you have your gallbladder removed, you may need to avoid high-fiber foods at first and introduce them slowly into your diet. 

It’s also advisable that you avoid spicy foods as they can cause GI symptoms. 

What gallbladder infection diet you can try? 

This particular type of diet doesn't cure the infection. Rather, it’s useful in alleviating the symptoms. The following foods can do wonders to your gallbladder. 

  • Beets
  • Cucumbers
  • Green beans
  • Okra
  • Avocados
  • Vinegars
  • Garlic and onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Shallots
  • Cold water fish 
  • Grapes
  • Apples, papaya, pears
  • Vegetables juices

Should you avoid eggs? 

When you’re on a gallbladder infection diet, you should eat eggs in moderation. That is, you must only eat one egg per week. Not more than that. Bear in mind that eggs are high in calories, cholesterol and fat. 

But they’re a good source of protein, which is known to boost brain function. When you do eat eggs, try to eat just the egg white and don’t fry it. 

Sweets and desserts must also be avoided. The reason for this is that commercially processed sweets are rich in refined sugar. They can increase the risk of developing gallbladder stones and diseases. 

When there’s extra sugar in your body, your body needs more insulin. But it’ll store it as fats. 

It’s also vital that you avoid commercial baked goods, ice cream, cookies, and puddings, as well as chocolates as they’re high in calories and fat. 

If you really want to eat ice cream, choose sherbet or pudding that’s made with skim milk. Opt for nonfat frozen yogurt, gelatin, vanilla wafers, sorbet, fruit juice and gingersnaps. You must also avoid whipped cream that’s high in fat. 

Gallbladder infection can be a serious condition. If you suspect that you have this condition, you should consult your doctor immediately. The diet presented here can help in combating against the symptoms of this infection. But you must remember that no diet can cure this disease. 

Natural therapies can provide your body with the building blocks in helping heal itself. 

Western medicine can be a great tool for emergencies. But it doesn't offer a forensic look at what has led to the state in the first place. 

But natural therapies are not one size fits all model. However, to prevent any infections, you must opt to eat a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. As much as possible, consume raw or steamed green veggies and healthy fats. 

How about you? What gallbladder infection diet do you follow? Please share your diet with us in the comments below. 
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