General Health

Tuberculosis Diet: What Should You Eat and Avoid Eating

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By Apollo 24|7, Published on- 28 March 2023, Updated on - 04 May 2023

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The second most infectious condition in the world, tuberculosis (TB), took over 1.6 million lives globally in 2021 alone. But that doesn't necessarily mean one should panic, as this condition is curable. To fight a TB infection, the body cannot only thrive on antibiotics but requires a good dose of daily nutrients through a properly planned tuberculosis diet.

Research states that people who are underweight, malnourished or immuno-deficient are more susceptible to a TB infection. This article covers all the dietary requirements for a person diagnosed with TB.

Tuberculosis Diet: Food to Eat

Patients with tuberculosis (TB) need to eat a healthy, balanced diet to support their immune system and aid in the recovery process. Here are some dietary recommendations for patients with TB:

1. Eat a balanced diet

Patients with TB should consume a balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources, and healthy fats. A balanced diet can help the body fight the Mycobacterium tuberculosis infection and promote faster healing.

2. Increased protein intake

Protein is essential for building and repairing muscles and tissues, and patients with TB may require more protein than usual to help repair the damage caused by the infection. Good sources of protein include lean meat, fish, poultry, eggs, beans, lentils, and dairy products.

3. Eat frequent, small meals

Eating small, frequent meals throughout the day can help patients maintain their weight and energy levels, as tuberculosis can cause loss of appetite and weight loss.

4. Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of fluids, such as water, herbal teas, and fresh fruit juices can help patients stay hydrated and support their immune systems.

5. Eat foods rich in vitamins and minerals

A balanced diet rich in vitamins A, C, D, and E, zinc, iron, and magnesium, found in foods such as sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, fatty fish, nuts and seeds, lean meats, and leafy greens, can help support the proper functioning of the immune system, promote healing, and improve bone health and wound healing in patients with tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis Diet: Food to Avoid

Just like healthy and nutritious foods are essential for people with TB, there are a few food items that should be strictly avoided during the course of the medicine.

  1. Avoid tobacco consumption.
  2. Avoid alcohol intake as it can interfere with the treatment by reacting with medicines.
  3. Restrict coffee and caffeinated drinks to a minimum and increase intake of fluids like water and coconut water.
  4. Avoid deep-fried food, junk food, and refined products, like sugar, flour, etc. as these have no nutritional value.
  5. Limit consumption of red meat or food items that are not easily digestible as these might worsen TB symptoms, like diarrhoea and abdominal cramps.

Treatment for Tuberculosis

The treatment for tuberculosis involves taking medications for a longer period of time. It is also vital for every patient to complete the entire course of medicines as if left untreated, TB can become fatal.

Besides medicines, a nutritious diet, packed with calories, proteins, minerals, fats and vitamins, becomes essential in treating TB. Healthy eating habits play a key role in controlling tuberculosis.

To know exactly what to eat and what not to eat in tuberculosis, consult our DIETICIANS right away.

Consult a Dietician

Even though tuberculosis is a tough condition to live with, it doesn't have to hamper one's quality of life. A person diagnosed with tuberculosis should make considerable effort to fulfil the nutrition requirement of the body. Understanding the anti-tuberculosis food that one should avoid and focusing on the list of foods to eat can help one regain strength and build immunity.

Frequently Asked Questions [FAQs]

1. How does tuberculosis spread?

The TB germ spreads through the air when someone with tuberculosis sneezes, coughs, or talks.

2. Which part of the body is affected by TB?

The most common organ affected by TB is the lungs. But, one can also get tuberculosis infection in lymph nodes, kidneys, skin, bones and joints.

3. Is there a vaccine against TB?

Yes, the BCG (Bacille Calmette-Guérin) vaccine builds immunity and helps the body fight against TB.

4. How long does recovery from TB take?

Generally, the treatment takes 6-9 months. However, it differs from person to person and their resistance to drugs.

5. Can TB be cured?

Yes, TB is curable if medication is taken regularly for the complete duration and a proper diet is followed.

For the most effective tuberculosis treatment, consult our Pulmonologists now.

Consult a Pulmonologist


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