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Diet Tips For A Tuberculosis Patient: Foods to Eat & Foods to Avoid

Tuberculosis is an infectious disease which mostly attacks the lungs and can also spread to other parts of the body such as the brain and spine. It requires a long treatment, therefore your diet should be healthy and nutritious, which helps your body fight with the infection and make you feel better soon. This article discusses about the diet tips for a tuberculosis patient.

Diet Tips For A Tuberculosis Patient

Diet and nutrition plays a very important role for tuberculosis patients. It not only helps in reducing risk of infections but also helps in better recovery showing positive outcomes of the ongoing treatment.

People with an unhealthy diet are at risk of getting a relapse of infection even after the treatment. It is noted that tuberculosis patients who are undernourished are at greater risk of delayed recovery and higher mortality rates than well-nourished patients.1 Malnutrition decreases immunity, which makes the body unable to defend itself from the tuberculosis bacteria. Also, tuberculosis bacteria worsen malnutrition. This actually forms a vicious cycle.

Tuberculosis affects the body’s ability to synthesize protein which leads to loss of muscle, fat, and body weight and brings in nutritional deficiencies. The physiological changes from tuberculosis lead to undernourishment. Hence diet is the most important part of treatment of tuberculosis patients. Here are some of the essential diet tips for tuberculosis patient.

Foods to Eat When Suffering From Tuberculosis

The first thing which should be added to the diet if suffering from tuberculosis is the food that boosts metabolism. During this illness, the body becomes very weak and you need food to give you enough energy. These foods to have and diet tips for tuberculosis patients can help a great deal.

  1. Paneer- Paneer is a rich source of protein and helps in building muscles and giving strength to the body. It can be sliced and eaten or can be added to any food you eat.
  2. Rice porridge- Loss of appetite during the illness leads to extreme weight loss. Therefore, you need some calorie dense food to keep up with the energy. You can prepare rice porridge with milk or cook it with dal and seasonal vegetable. It makes it a meal full of carbohydrates, protein and all the vitamins and nutrients necessary for the body. It is easy to digest and actually a complete meal in itself for a tuberculosis patient.
  3. Soybean- Soybean helps strengthen the immune system, which can fight the bacteria causing the illness. It is also a rich source of protein and provides body strength to recover from the illness.
  4. Milk- It is a rich source of protein and gives body energy to go through the day’s activities. It can also be consumed in the form of milkshake by adding fruits such as mangoes, banana, strawberries, which can add carbohydrates with protein and prove to be a good energy booster.
  5. Fresh Fruits and Vegetables- The strong antibiotics consumed during this illness take away all the strength of the body. The fresh fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants which fight the disease-causing free radicals. Also, these foods contain various vitamins and nutrients which help the body recover faster. Food rich in vitamin A such as mangoes, papaya, apricot, carrot, tomatoes, broccoli, and sweet potatoes should surely be part of the diet of a tuberculosis patient
  6. Whole Grains- Whole grains are rich in vitamin B complex and fiber, and help fight fatigue and get rid of lethargy due to illness.

Food to Avoid While Suffering From Tuberculosis

One of the important diet tips for tuberculosis patient is to avoid certain foods. There are certain foods which should be avoided for good health and if suffering from such debilitating illness, they should be strictly kept away, as they would interfere with the treatment process and delay recovery.

  • Avoid anything which contains tobacco.
  • Restrict coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
  • Do not drink alcohol as it can increase the risk of liver damage.
  • Refined products such as white bread, white rice, and sugar should be avoided.
  • Food rich in fat and cholesterol should not be consumed.

Tuberculosis largely affects the life of the infected person. A healthy and balanced diet ensures an enhanced quality of life and speedy recovery from Tuberculosis. It also improves the productivity of life post-recovery. You can plan a nutritious food plan using these diet tips for tuberculosis patient.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2813110/

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:April 19, 2019

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