Weill Cornell Bone Marrow Transplant Program


What Foods to Eat and Avoid After Transplant

After receiving your transplant, eating a nutritious diet is important so you can get your strength back. You may not feel as much of an appetite as you did before and that is normal. To increase your energy intake, you can try nutritional drinks, such as Ensure or Boost. It’s important to eat healthy foods and avoid certain foods since you are prone to infection.

Doctors recommend eating a low-microbial diet, which will lower your risk of getting sick while your immune system is weak. For the first 100 days after your transplant (autologous) or while remaining on immunosuppressant medications (allogeneic), it is recommended you follow this diet, but it’s important you speak with your healthcare team before you make any drastic changes to your diet.

About Microbes in Food

Microbes consist of small living things such as bacteria, viruses, yeast and molds. These can get into the food by infecting the animal the food comes from. Additionally, when food is being processed or prepared, microbes can get into the food. Without proper preparation, these microbes can cause infection. It’s not always easy to tell where microbes have attached themselves to. Examples of food products where microbes are hard to see or smell include milk and cheese that haven’t been refrigerated, undercooked and raw eggs, certain fruits and vegetables and undercooked or raw meat.

How to Determine if Food is Safe

Some helpful guidelines you should follow while at the grocery store include: avoid tasting free samples, only buy eggs that are refrigerated, don’t buy canned foods if the can has dents or is swollen, and most importantly, check containers for the expiration date. Be sure to buy and use food before that date. Another good tip is to not buy foods from self-service bulk containers or bins and try to avoid buffet-style served foods.

For examples of low-microbial diet recipes click here.