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What To Eat & Avoid During Malaria?

By socialpanga +2 more

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.

Foods For Malaria

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.

Go ‘Nuts’ over ‘Seeds’

When you have malaria you need to incorporate more phytonutrients into your diet that help to tackle antioxidative stress caused by an infection. Nuts and seeds are powerhouses of phytonutrients as well as healthy fats and proteins. When you feel like munching on something in between your meals and are wondering what to eat during malaria, nuts and seeds are always the best options as processed foods are completely out of your reach at this point in time.

I would like to share a helpful tip for dealing with malaria. Red palm oil contains antioxidants that might protect your body’s cells. It may reduce tissue damage and manage oxidative stress caused by malaria and other factors. Always remember to consume it in moderation and consult with a healthcare professional for comprehensive malaria management.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

Did you know?

  • In the United States, malaria is primarily an imported disease, with approximately 2,000 cases reported annually.Source:usaid.gov
  • Malaria transmission in the United States is limited to certain regions, including parts of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.Source:usaid.gov
  • The most effective way to prevent malaria is by taking antimalarial drugs before, during, and after travel to malaria-endemic areas.Source:usaid.gov
  • In the United States, the majority of malaria cases are caused by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite, which is the most severe form of malaria. Source:usaid.gov
  • Pregnant women are at an increased risk of severe malaria and adverse outcomes for both the mother and the baby.Source:usaid.gov

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.

Ajwain water is a wonder drink that you should add to your diet when you are suffering from malaria. Ajwain being a carminative (flatulence relieving property reflecting of drugs), reduces bloating and gas and works to keep your digestive system healthy.

I believe that it’s crucial to take precautions against mosquito bites to protect yourself from malaria. Applying mosquito repellent to exposed skin might be very helpful. Additionally, using mosquito nets over beds is highly recommended, especially while sleeping. By following these simple steps, you may significantly lower your risk of contracting malaria.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

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.

According to my knowledge, the seeds of the fever nut plant might be a helpful remedy for malaria. They possess special properties that may help fight against the malaria-causing parasites. Additionally, these seeds also have anti-inflammatory effects!

Dr. Smita barode, B.A.M.S, M.S.

Also Read: Do Eggs Have Carbs? Debunking Nutritional Myths

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  such as fish, fish oil supplements, flax seeds, chia seeds and walnuts. 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 provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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My doubt and confusion about not eating fruit during malaria treatment was cleared. Thanks

Nsekpong Solomon David

hi, I am gradually recovering from malaria/typhoid and I felt like taking
“5 alive” juice, but the thing is…a couple of it down into my tummy feels good yet suddenly, a nauseous sensation comes with it. what could be the cause?