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Dengue is a mosquito-borne disease, a viral fever that is spread by the bite of an Aedes mosquito. The most common symptoms of this disease are fever, headache, skin rashes, low platelet count, muscle loss, and joint pain. It is important to have a healthy and balanced diet to reduce the severity of these symptoms. Not only this, but the correct diet can go a long way during the recovery period. In this article, we will discuss a diet consisting of essential nutrients and Indian foods that will help you during and after dengue. You'll also find a guide for what not to eat during dengue.

(Read more: Dengue Test)

  1. Dietary changes to control Dengue
  2. Foods to increase platelet count in dengue
  3. Diet for dengue: fruits and vegetables to eat for recovery
  4. Foods to avoid for dengue patient
  5. Indian diet plan for dengue
Doctors for Dengue diet: what to eat and avoid during or after dengue

Some of the symptoms of dengue can be easily managed by the correct dietary intervention. Here's a quick what-to-eat guide to manage dengue better: 

Energy-dense foods for high fever during dengue

High fever is the main symptom of this disease. Because of fever, the patient may also experience low energy levels and loss of taste. In this condition, the diet should be easy to digest and energy-dense foods should be added to it. Some examples of this are mixed vegetable khichdi or daliya (porridge), tapioca pearl (sabudana), rice, and suji kheer. To enhance the taste and flavour of food you can add fresh herbs like tulsi (basil), coriander, garlic, ginger and lemon.

Protein to minimize muscle pain and muscle loss in dengue

Due to high fever, weight and muscle loss can be visibly evident during dengue. To maintain a healthy weight and muscle mass, try to add easy to digest protein options in every meal that you have, such as lentil soup, chickpea salad, daal, sambhar, and scrambled eggs.

(Read more: Protein-rich foods)

Drink enough fluids to avoid dehydration during dengue

Due to fever, dehydration is very common during dengue fever. Try to fulfil your fluid requirements with coconut water, fruit juices, buttermilk as they are easy to digest and loaded with electrolytes and vital nutrients. Otherwise, try to drink 10-12 glasses of water every day. 

Foods to reduce nausea and vomiting in dengue

Eating right is essential to prevent nausea and vomiting during this disease. Try to take small, light and frequent meals. Ginger or peppermint tea may help resolve symptoms. Eat simple foods such as rice, scrambled eggs, toasted bread, bananas, mashed potatoes, and custard. Allow plenty of fresh air in the house and try to disperse cooking odours. Avoid taking cream soups, fatty/fried foods, and sweet desserts. Also, avoid lying down immediately after eating as this can act as a trigger for nausea and vomiting.

(Read more: Ayurvedic Treatment of Dengue)

Low platelet count is a very common complication of dengue. If the patient's platelet count drops too much, it can be a dangerous situation. Here are a few nutrients and foods rich in them that will help increase platelet count. Try to add them to the patient's daily diet during dengue.

(Read more: How to increase platelet count)

The correct diet can not only help you manage symptoms of dengue, but it can also play a crucial role during the recovery period. Here is some dietary guidance on what eat after dengue. All of these fruits and vegetables can also be had during dengue.

  • Oranges: Oranges are full of essential nutrients and vitamins. They are rich in vitamin C, which is an important antioxidant that helps strengthen the immune system. You can have it as whole fruit or juice it. (Read more: How to increase Immunity)
  • Papaya: Raw papaya and papaya leaf are rich in enzymes like papain and chymopapain, which help in better digestion, and prevent bloating and other digestive disorders. You can take raw papaya as a som tam salad or raita and papaya leaves as a juice. 30ml of fresh papaya leaf juice helps in increasing the platelet count and therefore, in the treatment of dengue.
  • Pomegranate: Eating pomegranate reduces the feeling of exhaustion and fatigue. Being a rich source of iron, pomegranate is also beneficial for the blood and helps in maintaining a normal blood platelet count, which is essential to recover from dengue. (Read more: Iron-rich foods)
  • Kiwi: Kiwi contains a good amount of vitamin A and vitamin E along with potassium and helps balance the body’s electrolyte level and limit hypertension. The copper in kiwi is especially beneficial for the formation of healthy red blood cells and boosts immunity to fight this disease.
  • Vegetable soup: Soups strengthen the body, reduce joint pain, enhance the appetite and improve the function of taste buds. Soups contain a good amount of protein, vitamins, and minerals when prepared using different vegetables, pulses, and chicken. All of these help in recovering from dengue. Moreover, soups are generally low in spice and fats, which makes them easy to digest resulting in smooth bowel movements. So, be sure to add different types of homemade soups in your diet.

(Read more: Homeopathic Treatment of Dengue)

As important as it is to know what to eat during dengue, you should also know what not to eat. Here are a few foods that can worsen your symptoms, and are best to avoid:

  • It is best to avoid oily and fried food and go for a lighter meal if you have dengue fever. Oily food contains a lot of fat which may lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This can affect the recovery of the body as it weakens the immune system.
  • Spicy food should not be given to dengue patients. It can cause acid to collect in the stomach and lead to ulcers and damage to the stomach wall. This damage hinders the recovery process as it adds to the strain on your body.
  • Caffeinated drinks (tea, coffee, green tea, energy drinks) should not be given during dengue. These drinks can cause dehydration in the body. Replace your caffeinated drinks with other drinks such as turmeric tea, non-caffeine green tea, coconut water or lemon water.

Here is a sample Indian diet plan that incorporates all of the above advice. It contains easily available foods and dishes that are quick to cook so that you can follow this easily during dengue fever:

  • Early morning: warm water (1 glass) + soaked raisins (8-10)
  • Breakfast: wheat porridge (1-2 bowl)
  • Mid-meal: tender coconut water (1) + pomegranate (1/2 bowl)
  • Lunch: vegetable khichdi (1-2 bowl) + mashed potato (2 tablespoon) + curd (1 bowl) 
  • Evening: vegetable soup (1 bowl)
  • Dinner: mashed rice (1 bowl) + spinach kadhi (1 bowl)
Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Dt. Akanksha Mishra

Nutritionist
8 Years of Experience

Surbhi Singh

Surbhi Singh

Nutritionist
22 Years of Experience

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

Dr. Avtar Singh Kochar

Nutritionist
20 Years of Experience

Dr. priyamwada

Dr. priyamwada

Nutritionist
7 Years of Experience

References

  1. Ahmad Nisar, et al. Dengue fever treatment with Carica papaya leaves extracts. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2011 Aug; 1(4): 330–333. PMID: 23569787
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