When one thinks of Monsoons, the thought of Malaria is not far behind. It is a protozoal disease that weakens the immune system. This happens because of the heavy antibiotics used to treat the disease. Malaria is characterised by chills followed by fever, headache, diarrhoea, vomiting, etc.
It is associated with high-grade fever that is transmitted by female Anopheline mosquitoes. This mosquito transfers the parasite of the disease from one sick person to another. The parasite, when in the bloodstream, infects the red blood cells.
To treat malaria, there is no specific diet, but one needs to ensure adequate nutrition to help the body fight the disease. A diet for malaria should focus on boosting the immune system without causing harm to other organs like the kidney, liver or digestive system. It is best that a malaria patient has smaller meals throughout the day.
The diet for malaria patients should include the following:
Eat Nutritious Foods
When the patient has a malarial fever, the body’s calorie and nutritional requirement increases. This is known as the BMR or Body Metabolic Rate. Also, the need to increase calorie intake depends on the rise in body temperature.
Consume a high carbohydrate diet. Choose rice over wheat and millets. Rice can be digested easily and can release energy faster. Fresh fruits and vegetables work wonders for malaria patients. According to studies, vitamin A and vitamin C rich fruits and vegetables like beetroot, carrot, papaya, sweet lime, grapes, berries, lemon, orange help to detoxify and boost the immunity of the patient suffering from malaria.
Increase Fluid Intake
Unfortunately, at the time of fever, one experiences appetite loss, less tolerance and therefore, eating food becomes a challenge. To compensate for such a situation, one must drink glucose water, fresh fruit juices, coconut water, a sorbet made with lemon, salt, sugar and water and electoral water.
While drinking water, make sure it is boiled or sterilized. Take in fluids in every way possible- milkshakes, juices of fruits and vegetables, rice water, pulse water, stew, soup, etc. Doctors recommend a daily fluid intake of at least 3 to 3.5 litres, if not more. Fluids will help in washing out the toxins from the body via urine and stools and help you get well sooner.
Increase Protein Intake
There is an increase in the requirement of protein as one loose a lot of tissue. A diet of high carbohydrate and high protein is helpful as the body can utilise the protein for anabolic and tissue repair and building process. Eating curd, lassi and buttermilk is highly beneficial.
High temperature makes the body weak and reduces appetite. Food rich in protein helps to synthesize immune bodies, which can help to fight parasites. Try to incorporate fish stew, chicken soup, eggs and pulses in your diet.
Eat Fat in Moderation
Fats are necessary for the body, but moderation is the key. Using dairy fats like cream, butter and fats from milk products aid indigestion. These foods contain MCT or medium change triglycerides. Using excessive fats or eating fried foods can increase the risk of nausea, indigestion and loose bowels.
Keep fats as far as possible from your malaria diet. Load up on Omega 3 fats instead. They work well in reducing inflammation in the body. Also, read top anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet.
Foods to avoid
Avoid very high fibre foods like green leafy vegetables, fruits with thick skin, whole grain cereals. Stay religiously away from food high in fat content like fries, chips, pastries, anything with a lot of cheese in it, food made from maida, etc. Refrain from having food that is spicy and/or hot. It will result in unnecessary stomach problems and heartburn. Sauces and pickles shouldn’t be included anywhere in the diet for a malaria patient. Avoid intake of coffee, tea, cocoa, cola or any other caffeinated beverages.
It is important to work on vitamin loss by drinking electrolytes. Eating soups, stews or drinking fruit juices or dal water, coconut water, etc. are important. Vitamin C and A rich foods such as papaya, beetroots and other citrus foods, etc. with vitamin B complex are important for a malaria patient.
Disclaimer: The information included at this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.