Tuberculosis Food Avoid


The tuberculosis food avoid list helps users quickly identify foods that contain high amounts of mycotoxins and thus should be avoided by people with compromised immune systems. Tuberculosis, or TB, is a contagious bacterial disease that can be life-threatening if not treated properly.Eating the right foods can help prevent tuberculosis. Here’s a list of foods to eat and avoid if you have tuberculosis.

A diet for a person with TB

A person with TB should aim to have a healthy balanced diet. A healthy balanced diet can be achieved by having foods from four basic food groups. These are:

  • Cereals, millets and pulses
  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Milk and milk products, meat, eggs & fish
  • Oils, fats and nuts and oils seeds.

A food group is a collection of foods that share similar nutritional properties. If the food eaten contains food from all the above food groups, then the diet is considered healthy. Not all the food groups need to be eaten at every meal.

Food & TB, essential nutrients

An essential nutrient is a nutrient that must be provided by a person’s diet. These nutrients are necessary for the body to function properly. The six essential nutrients are carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, minerals & water.

Attempts should be made to increase the energy and protein content of the food in meals and snacks without increasing its volume. So, for example, addition of oil or butter to chapatti or rice can increase the energy content of the diet. A person with TB should also be encouraged to eat pulses in other forms e.g. roasted chana.

Oils & fats for a person with TB

Food for a person with TB

Food for a person with TB

Oils & fats are a source of energy. In terms of oil, soyabean oil, mustard oil and coconut oil, are all acceptable. Nuts like ground nuts are good sources of energy and protein and can be taken as snacks in either dried or roasted form. Ground nuts are equivalent in nutritional terms to more expensive nuts like almonds and cashews.

Proteins for people with TB

Proteins can be of animal origin like milk, eggs, meat and fish or of plant origin as in cereals & pulses. For vegetarians, a combination of cereals & pulses can give a quantity of protein equivalent to that of animal proteins. The daily consumption of milk and milk products is also beneficial. In the case of non vegetarians, consumption of eggs on a daily basis can provide the same benefit as meat and fish at a lower cost.

Increased protein needs can be met by including groundnut, or dry fruit and nut mixes. If the person with TB is not able to eat due to poor appetite, then dry fruits and nuts can be powdered finely and mixed into a milkshake or added to roti or phulka.

Vitamins A, E & C for people with TB

Vegetables, especially leafy vegetables and fruits are vital sources of vitamins & minerals and should be part of the daily diet. Locally available fruits are as good as more expensive fruits transported over long distances.

Some of the best foods for TB patients include the yellow-orange fruits and vegetables such as orange, mango, papaya sweet pumpkin and carrots which are rich in Vitamin A. Vitamin C is found in fresh fruits like guava, amla, orange, tomato, sweet lime, lemon and capsicum. Vitamin E is usually found in wheat germ, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils.

Food & TB & Nutrition

Nutrition means looking at the nutrients that are provided by people’s diets. For a long time it has been known that there is a link between TB & malnutrition. If people do not have sufficient nutrition, sometimes referred to as under nutrition, then this makes TB worse.  Under nutrition weakens the body’s ability to fight disease.

TB also makes under nutrition worse. Most individuals with TB experience weight loss. This can be caused by several factors including reduced food intake due to loss of appetite.

In India a Direct Benefit Transfer scheme provides people with TB with additional money for food.

Physical activity

If a person with TB is able to carry out any physical activity then this can be beneficial. Physical activity helps food intake to be converted into muscle mass, and it also improves the appetite.

What food should be avoided by a person with  TB

A person with TB should avoid the following:

  • Alcohol in any form, as it increases the risk of drug toxicity
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Excess of tea and coffee, or their intake with food
  • Tobacco and tobacco products
  • An excess of spices & salt.

While the treatment of active tuberculosis is very long term – up to a year of daily antibiotics – you can help yourself feel better sooner and help your body fight off the disease by making sure you’re getting the right nutrition. Your body needs healthy nutrients now more than ever.

People who are malnourished or underweight are more likely to get tuberculosis and are also more susceptible to reinfection or relapse of TB after treatment. Malnutrition leads to decreased immunity, and your body needs to be as strong as possible to defend itself against those tough tuberculosis bacteria.

It’s a vicious cycle: Poor nutrition can actually encourage the persistence of active tuberculosis disease, and active tuberculosis leads to worsening malnutrition. So to keep your body primed to fight TB, you have to feed it right.

Getting Good Nutrition When You Have TB

To give your body the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to fight active tuberculosis and regain your strength and stamina, you need to eat a diet containing a variety of healthy foods, such as:

  • Leafy, dark-colored greens like kale and spinach, for their high iron and B-vitamin content
  • Plenty of whole grains, like whole wheat pastas, breads, and cereals
  • Antioxidant-rich, brightly-colored vegetables, such as carrots, peppers, and squash, and fruits, like tomatoes, blueberries, and cherries — think of buying produce in a full rainbow of colors
  • Unsaturated fats like vegetable or olive oil, instead of butter

Talk to your doctor about whether you have any nutrient deficiencies and if taking a daily multivitamin with minerals makes good nutrition sense for you. A recent review of the limited studies done on supplements in patients with TB showed some evidence that high-calorie energy supplements helped underweight patients gain body weight, and that zinc, combined with other micronutrients or with vitamin A, may offer nutritional help. The reviewers concluded that additional studies are needed.

What to Avoid When You Have Active Tuberculosis

  • Skip tobacco in all forms.
  • Don’t drink alcohol — it can add to the risk of liver damage from some of the drugs used to treat your TB.
  • Limit coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
  • Limit refined products, like sugar, white breads, and white rice.
  • Avoid high-fat, high-cholesterol red meat and instead load up on leaner protein sources like poultry, beans, tofu, and fish.

Calorie Dense Foods

Calorie dense foods that are nutrient rich can meet up the rising metabolic demands of the TB patient and can also prevent further weight loss. Foods like banana, cereal porridge, peanut chikki, wheat and ragi are quite beneficial for TB patients.


Foods Rich in Vitamin A, C and E

Fruits and vegetables like orange, mango, sweet pumpkin and carrots, guava, amla, tomato, nuts and seeds are an excellent source of Vitamin A, C and E. These foods must be included in the daily diet regime of a TB patient.


Vitamins and minerals have been proven to be superior and provide tremendous health benefits

Protein Rich Foods

TB patients tend to experience loss in appetite. It is very important for them to indulge in protein-rich foods like eggs, paneer and soya chunks as they are quite rich in protein. These foods can be absorbed easily by the body and can give you the required energy.

Foods Rich in B Complex Vitamins

Whole grain cereals, nuts, seeds, fish and chicken are quite rich in B complex vitamins. These foods must be consumed by a TB patient in moderation.

Food Rich in Zinc

Nuts are a great source of zinc that can provide essential nutrients to the body. Nuts and seeds like sunflower seeds, chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and flaxseeds quite beneficial for TB patients. Include these foods in your diet that will help you in combating diseases like TB. 

People who are somewhere close to malnourishment are easily vulnerable to tuberculosis due to decreased resistance and also stand the risk of getting infection or relapsed tuberculosis despite treatment.

A healthy diet can help pace up the process of recovery and have a long term impact:

  1. It is advisable to increase intake of vitamin B through leafy, dark greens like kale and spinach.
  2. Also, plenty of whole grain cereals through bread, etc. Are to be taken.
  3. Also it is difficult for the body at this stage to digest saturated fats.
  4. Therefore unsaturated fats like olive oil is recommended.
  5. Hink of buying a fruit based with fruits of all colors.
  6. Include bright colored ones like tomatoes, cherries and blueberries.

Healthy diet does not stop just with what to include, It also speaks about what not to include these are:

  1. Refined products like sugar, white bread, white rice, ect.
  2. Skip tobacco
  3. Refrain from alcohol
  4. Caffeine is to be kept in controlled limits.

Diet Chart

Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)cottage Cheese sandwich(2 slice bread) + 1 cup skimmed milk.
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup boiled green gram sprouts
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)Veg pulav rice 1 cup+ 1 cup Soy Chunk curry
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup Almond milk
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2 chapati + Lady’s finger sabji 1 cup
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)chapati-3+ Paneer sabji 1 cup
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup grilled vegetables with Cottage cheese.
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)2 Roti+ Mushroom curry 1 cup + 1 cup moong dal
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 apple + 1/2 cup cottage cheese
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2 chapati + arhar dal 1 cup
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Soy flour Uthappam 2 + coconut chutney + 1 glass skim milk.
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup boiled black chana
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)1 cup rice + Kidney beans curry 1 cup + cucumber salad+ cottage cheese vegetable 1 cup.
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)Brown rice flakes poha with nuts 1 cup
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2 paneer stuffed capsicum +2 chapati
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Paneer Paratha 2+ 1 cup skim milk
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup grilled paneer
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)2 chapati + Black eyed beans curry 1 cup + cucumber salad
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup soy milk
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)Broken wheat upma 1 cup+ 1/2 cup green beans sabji
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Mushroom Paratha 2 +1 cup skim milk
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup boiled green gram sprouts
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)1/2 cup rice + 1-2 chappati + Chickpeas spinach curry 1/2 cup + Snake gourd sabji 1/2 cup
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup boiled channa
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2 chapati+ 1 cup mix veg curry
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Moong dal cheela with paneer filling- 2 + 1 cup skim milk
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup boiled black chana
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)1 cup rice+ Soy chunk curry1/2 cup+ Lady’s finger sabji 1/2 cup
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 glass almond milk
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)2 chapati+Ridge gourd sabji 1 cup
Breakfast (8:00-8:30AM)Wheat dosa-2 + Tofu curry 1 cup
Mid-Meal (11:00-11:30AM)1 cup grilled vegetables with Cottage cheese.
Lunch (2:00-2:30PM)1/2 cup rice+ 1-2 chapati + Kidney beans curry 1/2 cup + Palak paneer sabji 1/2 cup
Evening (4:00-4:30PM)1 cup boiled black eye beans
Dinner (8:00-8:30PM)Broken wheat upma 1 cup+ 1/2 cup green beans sabji

Food Items To Limit

  1. Greasy Foods : Greasy foods, such as fried beef and chicken, bacon, french fries and onion rings, contribute hefty amounts of saturated fat — fats associated with high cholesterol and increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.
  2. Trans-Fatty Acids : Trans-fatty acids, or trans fats, are fats created through a process in which hydrogen is added to vegetable oil. To avoid these unhealthy fats, avoid margarine; shortening; commercially prepared cookies, cakes, pastries and crackers; and all foods that list partially hydrogenated vegetable oil as an ingredient.
  3. Refined Carbohydrates : Common sources of refined carbohydrates include enriched breads, cereals, pasta and baked goods; instant rice; and foods and beverages rich in added sugars, such as regular soft drinks, candy, sorbet, frosting, pancake syrup, jam and jelly.
  4. Caffeine and Alcohol : Excessive caffeine or alcohol consumption may also have a diuretic, or fluid-flushing, effect and prevent you from consuming healthier beverages, such as water, low-fat milk or pure juices.

Do’s And Dont’s

Do’s & Dont’s

  1. Eat protein-rich foods: A diet rich in protein can contribute to strengthening your immune system. So load up on eggs. If you are a vegetarian, loading up on jowar, bajra and nachni can provide you with the necessary protein.
  2. Get enough micronutrients: Micronutrients like vitamins A, E and D3 are particularly important for a healthy immune system. Seafood is rich source of vitamin D.
  3. Load up on antioxidant-rich foods: Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants that destroy harmful oxygen molecules called free radicals and protect the body. Eat lots of antioxidant-rich foods.
  4. It is also best to avoid refined carbohydrates such as flour and sugar as they provide empty calories devoid of nutrients. Enriched bread, cereals and pasta are common sources of refined carbohydrates.
  5. Fried foods contain hefty amounts of saturated fats that exacerbate symptoms associated with tuberculosis such as diarrhoea and abdominal cramping and fatigue.
  6. Eliminate trans fatty acids from your diet to reduce the symptoms of the disease. So avoid margarine, commercially prepared cakes, pastries and cookies and every food that lists partially hydrogenated vegetable as an ingredient.

How does TB impact nutrition?

TB causes pathophysiological changes that can lead to undernourishment. As a TB patient, you start to lose your appetite, because TB hinders your body’s ability to synthesise protein. This leads to loss of muscle, fat, and ultimately weight, accompanied by nutrient deficiencies.

Table Nutrient composition of TB patient’s healthy diet


Tips on a healthy and helpful diet for a TB patient

 A diet rich in macro- and micronutrients is essential for patients to overcome the disease3.

Protein-rich foods such as soy or tofu, dairy, eggs, and lean meat contain essential amino acids that help bolster your immune system to fight the TB bacteria. These food groups help in building muscles and fighting fatigue. Additionally, they provide the stamina to go about one’s daily activities during treatment and recovery.

Tips to increase the protein content of your dish:

  • Mix soya nuggets or tofu when you prepare rice or lentil (daal).
  • Cubes of paneer added to a regular khichdi or grain porridge bowl.
  • Fruit milkshake can be a delicious and nutritious energy booster with which to begin your day.

Calorie-dense and carbohydrate-rich whole grains, cereals, and millets can fuel your body with the energy to fight infection-causing bacteria .

Yummy yet healthy meal ideas:

  • A nutritious bowl of khichdi prepared with rice, lentils, and seasonal vegetables.
  • A wholesome porridge of rice, ragi, lentils, or semolina balls (sooji ladoos).

Fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins A, B, C, and E 5 help replenish the vitamin depletion caused by the disease and its treatment. Antioxidants in foods help eliminate toxins from the body to give you much-needed strength. These powerful antioxidants also help counter the ill-effects of high doses of medication and disease-causing free radicals.

Easy ways to have fruity meals!

  • A bowl of mixed fruits, such as mango, papaya, apricot, apple, banana, pomegranate, orange, and guava. Or carrot, sweet potato, and pumpkin soup.
  • Generous use of fresh tomatoes as an ingredient in every meal preparation and cooking.
  • A well-cooked, lightly seasoned fillet of fish or chicken breast with sautéed or steamed broccoli.

Foods supplementing the body with minerals such as zinc, selenium, and iron are also important for the nutritional profile of TB patients.

People with a weak immune system are at an increased risk of getting infected with TB. A healthy diet plays an important role in boosting immunity and strengthening the body and defences against virus and bacteria and act as a preventive bulwark against tuberculosis. This, combined with practices such as yoga, meditation and Pranayama, clear the respiratory passages, minimizing risks of infections and allergies in the respiratory system.

tuberculosis diet
You need to be patient with your TB treatment. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Tuberculosis diet management tips:

The symptoms of TB usually include weakness, unintentional weight loss, fatigue, cough and fever. However, with the right consumption of foods, a patient suffering from tuberculosis can benefit to a big extent. Here’s a look at some of the recommended foods for TB patients:

1. Protein-rich foods

The majority of TB patients experience loss in appetite. Therefore, it is important for such patients to indulge in protein-rich foods like paneer, soya chunks and tofu. On top of that, the body can easily absorb such foods and give a person the required energy.

2. High-calorie foods

To prevent further weight loss, TB patients need to consume foods that are high in calories and nutrients. Calorie-rich foods include cereal porridge, banana, peanut chikki, rava laddoo, wheat, ragi, khichdi and so on.

3. Micronutrients

Vitamins including A, C, E, and D are crucial for a healthy immune system. Vitamins A, C and E are antioxidants that can destroy free radicals and protect the body from chronic diseases. Also, vitamin D plays an important role in regulating the immune system and TB patients who are unable to get ample vitamins from a healthy diet may benefit substantially from taking a multivitamin supplement. Foods rich in vitamins include carrot, orange, papaya, guava, Amla, soy, sweet lime, nuts and mushroom.

protein rich diet for TB
Protein intake will give you strength to fight against TB. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

4. Superfoods

Superfoods like Spirulina and mushrooms can help speed up TB treatment and build a stronger immune system. A single spoon of dry spirulina powder, contains 4 grams protein, 11 per cent vitamin B1, 15 per cent vitamin B2, 4 per cent Vitamin B3, 21 per cent copper and 11 per cent iron. Spirulina’s is a superfood considering the fact that a small amount of it is enough for the daily nutritional needs of an individual. Fresh oyster mushrooms are devoid of vitamin D however when exposed to the sun, these mushrooms could be a great readily available source of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps TB patients build a stronger immune system to respond effectively against anti-TB drugs.

The role of yoga, meditation and Pranayama in managing tuberculosis

Apart from a tuberculosis diet, practices of meditation and yoga can strengthen the immune system of the body. Several scientific studies have been conducted in this regard. In a study involving 2,000 people who practiced transcendental meditation over 5 years, it was found out that only half the number of people who meditated, ended up in hospital compared to those who did not.

pranayama for TB
Breathing exercises can help to alleviate your lungs. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

In another study, it was found out that yogis, who practice meditation were less prone to infectious even if they lived in places exposed to malarial, bacterial and viral contaminants as compared to individuals afflicted by nervous disorders.

Practising yoga and meditation is considered an effective way of dealing with the symptoms of this infectious disease, and yoga also improves lung capacity. Yoga imparts strength and flexibility to the spine, stretches and strengthens the muscles around the upper torso and supports the respiratory system by keeping the respiratory muscles strong and flexible. The regular practice of Pranayama increases chest wall expansion and helps lungs to work more efficiently by sending fresh oxygen to the deepest parts of the lungs.

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