Typhoid is a bacterial disease caused by Salmonella typhi. This infectious disease is water and food-borne, i.e. it occurs due to the intake of foods or water contaminated with these bacteria. Prevalence of typhoid is commonly seen in the monsoon season, though it can affect anytime. People with weak immune health are more prone to this disease. As per WHO, around 11-21 million people suffer from this disease across the globe annually.
Some of the common symptoms of this disease are fatigue, headache, diarrhoea, vomiting, fever, gastrointestinal disturbances, constipation, abdominal pain, enlarged liver, spleen and intestinal ulcers.
Along with the medications, diet plays a very critical role during the treatment of typhoid. Quality of diet and food choices significantly affects the recovery period. People suffering from typhoid often experience loss of appetite and difficulty in digesting foods. A high-calorie diet is recommended to typhoid patients to prevent extreme weight loss, nutritional deficiencies and gain strength. Food consumed should be rich in nutrients to boost immune health, but also easy to digest. Consuming large portions in a single meal is not advisable, instead, small frequent meals should be given to support the digestive system without causing any load.
Another important parameter, which should be considered while planning diet for a typhoid patient, is to opt for low-fibre foods. High dietary fibre foods might cause gas formation, bloating and worsen the symptoms. Therefore, high-calorie, low roughage foods like pasta, boiled rice, potatoes, fruit juices, and white bread should be preferred. To prevent dehydration, typhoid patients should consume ample amounts of water every day. The fluid requirement can also be met through soups, clear vegetable stew, broths, tender coconut water, fruit juices, buttermilk, dal water, glucose and electrolyte water. Avoid fizzy and carbonated beverages. Fruits with high water content like watermelon, cantaloupe, and grapes are a boon. To reduce the fibre content, it is better to peel fruits like apples.
To prevent muscle loss, protein-rich foods are also vital for a typhoid patient. Milk, yoghurt, eggs, pulses, lentils, cottage cheese can easily be included in the diet.
Fried and spicy foods are a big no-no. Vegetables like cabbage, capsicum, turnip, strongly flavoured food like garlic; vinegar, chilli sauce based foods, green chillies, salad dressings, seasonings and canned foods are known to cause inflammation and bloating during typhoid, therefore, must be strictly avoided.
To sum up, adhering to specific foods during typhoid is an imperative part of the treatment therapy. A soft diet with easily digestible foods prevents sudden weight loss, provides immunity and alleviates symptoms of indigestion. Bottled or boiled and cooled water should be used. Maintaining personal hygiene, adequate diet along with medications under the careful supervision of a physician is the key for complete recovery.