A diagnosis of Tuberculosis can be very anxious and may feel like the end of the world. But it is important to remember that accurate diagnosis leads to good treatment outcomes. The recovery period for Tuberculosis is long which means that you need to be on antibiotics for over a year until your doctor says that you are Tuberculosis free.
During this fight against tuberculosis, you can help your body fight quicker by providing it with the right nutrients. TB causes changes in body that leads to undernourishment.
The body is unable to synthesize proteins in Tuberculosis and that is why weight loss is often the first symptoms of having tuberculosis.
Malnutrition and undernourishment may lead to relapse of tuberculosis and is also known to increase the fatality.
Also because of the strong antibiotics, the patient often feels nauseated, lack of appetite and sometimes even abdominal cramps. Not every patient has these side effects to medication. In any case, it is important to pack the right nutrients.
Energy and protein rich foods: It is important to pack as much nutrients as possible in regular meals. Example: supplementing roti with jaggery, ghee and butter could be a good idea instead of having a plain roti.
Remember that oils and fats are also source of energy and there is no reason to shy away from them. Adding a slice of cheese to breakfast is also a good idea.
Roasted groundnuts almost have the same nutritional value as almonds or cashews and are a good source of nutrition.
Green leafy vegetables: Pack a lot of greens in everyday food.
For ex: Spinach can be added to dal and methi could be added to parathas. Spinach and methi and other green leafy foods are rich in Iron and folate and important to be added to the diet.
Broccoli is also an excellent choice of nutrition.
Milk & eggs: Milk is an excellent source of protein for vegetarians aside from tofu or Soya. Non-vegetarians can opt for eggs which packs a lot of nutrition.
Pulses again form an important part of the diet and patients with TB should be encouraged to consume pulses.
Fruits and salads: And lastly fruits, two servings of mixed fruits can go a long way in building the much-required immunity for the body. IN addition, raw vegetables in the form of salads must be consumed: Carrots, tomato and beetroot are very important.
It is important to avoid tobacco and alcohol in all forms as they will delay the recovery process. Carbonated drinks and tea and coffee should also be avoided as they may hamper the absorption of nutrients.
(The writer is a head, Microbiology at Metropolis – a national chain of pathology laboratories)