Typhoid fever is an acute bacterial illness which is linked with fever caused by Salmonella typhi (a type of bacteria). It can also be caused by a bacterium called Salmonella Paratyphi which often causes an illness that is less severe. It is passed on or contracted through contaminated food or water – unclean sewage-infested water or food. It spreads between individuals by direct contact with the faeces of an infected individual. Therefore, it is imperative for the person to wash hands properly after using the toilet.
Typhoid fever begins with sweating, chills, headache, body ache, abdominal pain because of gastrointestinal problems and dry cough. Then, a high and recurring fever may develop and there are chances of constipation or diarrhoea and loss of appetite as well. Thereafter, you experience weakness and weight loss that can sometimes last for months. An individual experiencing any of these symptoms associated with Typhoid should seek medical attention on an immediate basis.
It is essential that everyone, especially Elders, should take proper care during typhoid with a Special Emphasis on their diet. As gastrointestinal discomforts become a common occurrence at this time, it is essential to keep food choices light and easy during this time.
From consuming an adequate amount of proteins to taking a high-calorie diet, the food choices to make during typhoid form a complete list. It is also important to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated along with the recommended foods to eat during typhoid fever. Let’s discuss what we should eat in typhoid in a more detailed manner:
1. Take a High Calorie diet
Every patient suffering from typhoid is recommended to have a high-calorie diet. The high amount of calories give energy and strength to the weakened patient, including loss of weight that happens because of typhoid fever. High-calorie food items such as Boiled Potatoes, White Bread, Fruit – Custard, Semolina Idli etc. are suggested to a patient who wants to know what kind of food to eat in typhoid.
2. Take food High in Carbohydrate content
If you search for what to eat in/during typhoid fever on the internet, you’ll often get recommendations for food that’s high in carbohydrate content. Semi solid food is something that can be easily digestible for a typhoid patient. Hence, foods like Baked Potato, Baked Apple, poached or boiled Eggs, boiled Rice or Moong-Daal Khichdi or Moong-Daal Dosas are advantageous for the body when one is suffering from typhoid fever.
3. Have plenty of Fluids and Fruits with high Water content
When faced with the question ‘what can we eat in typhoid’, then one of the first things you should know is that typhoid patients should consume an adequate amount of fluids. These fluids can be in the form of tender Coconut Water, fresh Fruit Juices, Cucumber and Apple Juice, Buttermilk, Barley Water, Electrolyte fortified water, Vegetable Broth, and Lime Juice. You should also add fruits that are rich in water content like Grapes, Watermelons, Apricots etc. to the patient’s diet. These fruits, in fact, are counted among the top foods to eat in typhoid.
● Why this recommendation?
During typhoid fever, the water content in the body gets depleted, causing Dehydration. Dehydration may cause further complications at the time of typhoid treatment. These fruits and fluids work towards restoring the water content in the body.
4. Consume Dairy products
Dairy products also find their name in the list of foods to eat during typhoid fever. They should be consumed in high quantities when a person suffers from this illness.
However, a majority of people become intolerant to Milk, since it may cause nausea in fever. But Dairy products such as Paneer and Curd/yoghurt are easier to digest and can make up for the deficiency of protein in the body. Traditionally, yoghurt has long been known as one of the best foods for treating typhoid and its symptoms.
5. Have Soup!
While searching for ‘what should we eat in typhoid’, always know that you can’t go wrong with soups. That’s because soups are quite rich in nutrients, easily digestible, and extremely easy to prepare at home. As for which ones to go for, soups such as Vegetable soup ( without the forbidden veggies),Spinach soup, Clear, light Chicken soup, Mushroom soup, and Carrot soup fall in the list of foods to eat during typhoid.
6. Have Cooked Vegetables
Wondering about what vegetables to eat in typhoid? Opt for foods that are lower in fibre, like cooked vegetables (Carrots, Potatoes, Beets, Green Beans, and Squash).
7. Eat simple boiled yellow Moong Daal
Simple boiled yellow Moong daal is a healthy option in terms of food to eat during typhoid. A lot of people in our country are very well aware of the benefits of eating boiled yellow daal at the time of such an illness.
8. Eat Bananas
The next in our list of what to eat in/during typhoid is Banana, one of the best foods for typhoid. It contains a lot of energy which is required to fight an illness like this.
9. Have Honey
What sweet foods are good for typhoid patients? The best way to fulfil your body’s sugar needs during typhoid is by having Honey since it has antibacterial substances against the typhoid-causing bacterium and can have a soothing effect on the intestines when consumed with hot water.
10. Take foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
We round up our list of what to eat in typhoid with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Soyabeans, Nuts and Seeds, as well as Eggs, are some items the patient can have. These decrease inflammation in the body and hence are recommended as one of the foods to eat in typhoid.
What Not to Eat during Typhoid?
Knowing what not to eat in typhoid is equally important. Foods which are high in fibre are the ones that should be limited in the diet of a person suffering from typhoid as it will help ease digestion. The foods that are high in fibre include whole grains, raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, and seeds.
These are the foods that you should avoid or limit during typhoid:
- Raw vegetables: Kale, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Onions, Peas, Cabbage, Turnips, Radish and Garlic.
- Whole grains: Quinoa, Barley, Brown rice, Whole Wheat Flour, Buckwheat, Raagi.
- Fruits: Raw Berries and Dried fruit, Kiwi, Pears and Pineapple
- Nuts: Pistachios, Almonds, Walnuts, Macadamia nuts
- Legumes: Kidney beans, Black beans, Chickpeas
- Spicy foods: Chillies, Garam Masala, paprika, jalapeños, Black Pepper. In fact, all spicy and highly seasoned foods.
- Seeds: Flax seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Chia seeds
- Fatty foods: Mozzarella sticks, Doughnuts, Fried chicken, Onion rings, Potato chips. Avoid ALL Junk Food.
Other Foods to Avoid during Typhoid include:
- Foods which are high in fat may pose difficulty in digesting and should be limited during this time.
- Fried items must not be consumed.
- The intake of Oil, Butter, Ghee, and desserts, including Mithai should be avoided.
- The patient also needs to make sure that he/she is not ingesting any food item that causes gas and bloating of the stomach (such as cabbage and Capsicum).
- Salads and Chinese food made using Vinegar, chilli, and hot sauce should be avoided.
- It is also said that one must avoid food which has a strong flavour of garlic and onion.
- Avoid eating raw vegetables fruits without peeling them.
- Avoid Tea, Coffee or Chocolates.
Note: For senior citizens who are suffering from Typhoid, we would suggest you have an online dietitian consultation before following a diet plan.
Precautionary measures for Elders
To prevent typhoid fever from occurring in the elderly or in individuals of any age for that matter, certain measures can be followed. For instance, it is recommended to always WASH Fruits and Vegetables well in Clean Water before eating or Cooking it. Make it a point to drink RO Filtered, Boiled or bottled water, avoid visiting places that don’t maintain hygiene and wash hands properly before eating. One should also maintain personal hygiene and avoid beverages and foods from street vendors, among other things.
While dietary changes cannot cure typhoid alone and one has to take proper treatment for it as well, some dietary modifications may help relieve the symptoms of the disease. So, focusing on the type of food you eat during typhoid fever holds critical importance.
Staying Aware is the key to staying Healthy, so keep yourself well-informed at all times.