Tuberculosis (TB) is quite a serious condition, affecting mainly the lungs of a person. It can easily spread from one person to the other, through personal contact. Decades ago TB was considered one of the major causes of death, especially in Asian and African countries. However, TB is no longer regarded as an incurable killer disease. Most of the instances of TB can be cured by taking the entire course of medication, which may last for many months.
In addition to medication and therapy, doctors may also recommend following a special diet for TB. A tuberculosis diet plan can help the patient’s system receive all the nutrients and protein, which are required by the body, to fight off the disease. A diet for TB can also be effective in maintaining a healthy body weight.
Diet for TB patients
At the beginning, the diet for TB patients, who are undergoing treatment, usually includes a lot of fresh fruits like oranges, apples, melons, pears, grapes, peaches and pineapples. At least one fruit should be eaten every four or five hours, for three or four days. During this time, drinking a lot of plain water or lemon water (hot or cold) is also recommended. After a few days, low fat or fat free milk should be added to the diet for TB patients. The calcium that is present in dairy products plays a very important role in the improvement of TB. To start off, the patient can gradually sip two pints of fresh milk that has been warmed slightly. Gradually, the amount of milk consumed should be increased by half pint each day, so that the patient consumes four or five pints of milk each day, at the end of 10 or 12 days. People who cannot tolerate milk can choose to have low fat milk or lactose free milk or even low fat yogurt. There are many other non-dairy products that are very high in calcium, which can be consumed instead.
After maintaining the initial fruit-and-milk diet for about 10 to 12 days, it is best to move on to a TB balanced diet which begins to supply the patient with the disease-fighting nutrients. The TB balanced diet consists of around 1 teaspoon of salt in the day (less than 2,300 mg). However, salt should not be included in meals. A limited amount of cholesterol, (less than 30 mg) is also permitted in the day. The foods which can be added to the diet are vegetables that are high in potassium. Carbs should also be kept at a manageable level, which should come from vegetables, fruits and whole grains, which are high in fiber. Fats should come from mono-saturated and polyunsaturated sources, like oily fish, nuts and vegetable oils. Poultry, lean meats, beans, seeds, fish and nuts should also be consumed, for protein.
Foods that should be avoided in a diet for TB patients are alcohol, fried foods, canned foods, coffee, sugar and sweeteners, white bread and tea. There are several recipes for TB patients, which are easily available through online resources. However, it is important to consult a dietician as well as a doctor, when planning to switch over to a diet for TB patients.