My father in law has just started treatment for tuberculosis. Could you guide us with a healthy diet for him? Are there any foods he should avoid eating?

Tuberculosis is a infectious disease caused by bacteria. It usually affects the lungs as a chronic disease and since it is prolonged with low-grade fever, heavy breathing and coughing the person becomes exhausted and also wasting of the body is seen.

In this condition as in most fevers high carbohydrate and high fluid intake is essential. Good quantities of bread, rice, porridges, kanjee and light biscuits prepared in an appealing manner, as the appetite is low, is important. All food must be cooked well and soft so that no irritation to the digestive tract occurs and food is easily digested.

Protein almost double of normal requirement is necessary to prevent wasting of body. Atleast 1 liter of milk a day is essential, besides thin dal, egg white and fish. High mineral intake of calcium, iron and phosphorus help in cell regeneration and regulation of blood and fluids. Calcium helps in healing of tuberculosis lesions.

Vitamin A and C deficiency occurs in tuberculosis and the diet must include yellow or orange coloured fruits and vegetables and regular intake of orange juice and if necessary the tablet form of these vitamins. The Vitamin B- pyridoxine may also have to be given as a tablet to prevent neuritis. Fatty, fibrous and spicy foods should be avoided.

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