Foods to eat (and avoid) if you have dengue fever

Dengue fever can rise rapidly after the onset of the initial symptoms. Thus, it is vital that one seeks medical help as soon as these symptoms are observed.

Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne tropical disease caused by the dengue virus. Symptoms typically begin three to 14 days after the infection, and may include a high fever, headache, vomiting, muscle and joint pains, and a characteristic skin rash. When a mosquito bites a person infected with a dengue virus, the virus enters the mosquito. When the infected mosquito then bites another person, the virus enters that person’s bloodstream.

Dengue fever can rise rapidly after the onset of the initial symptoms. Thus, it is vital that one seeks medical help as soon as these symptoms are observed. While there is no treatment or vaccine for the infection and is usually treated symptomatically, it is essential to follow a strict diet if you have dengue fever. To help you with the same, Pavithra N Raj, chief dietician, Columbia Asia Referral Hospital Yeshwanthpur has suggested a few foods that patients with dengue should eat and avoid to ensure a speedy recovery.

Best foods to recover from dengue fever

* Papaya leaf is rich in enzymes like papain and chymopapain, which aid digestion, prevent bloating and other digestive disorders. 30ml of fresh papaya leaf juice helps in increasing the platelet count and, therefore, in the treatment of dengue.

* Pomegranate is rich in essential nutrients and minerals that provides the body with the required energy. Consumption of pomegranate reduces the feeling of exhaustion and fatigue. Being a rich source of iron, pomegranate stands out to be quite beneficial for the blood, and helps in maintaining a normal blood platelet count, which is essential to recover from dengue. Pomegranate has been used since the ancient times for its healthy and medicinal properties.

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* Dengue generally results in dehydration. Thus, it is immensely beneficial to consume coconut water – which is loaded with electrolytes and vital nutrients.

* Being an antiseptic and metabolism booster, it is advised to consume a pinch of turmeric with milk. This helps in faster recovery.

* Fenugreek is known to induce sleep and acts like a mild tranquiliser that aids in easing pain. It is also known to stabilising high fever, a common symptom of dengue.

* Rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, orange and its juice help in treating and eliminating the dengue virus.

* Broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin K which helps regenerate blood platelets. Which is why, if there’s a sharp decline in the platelet count, broccoli must be included in a dengue patient’s diet. It is also rich in antioxidants and minerals.

* Spinach is a rich source of iron and omega-3 fatty acids and helps boost the immune system to a great extent. It is an effective way to increase the platelet level count.

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* Kiwifruits contain a good amount of vitamin A and E along with potassium and help balance the body’s electrolyte level and limit hypertension and high blood pressure. The copper in kiwifruit is especially beneficial for the formation of healthy red blood cells and building immunity against diseases.

Note: The above mentioned remedies should be adopted only as a supplemental form of treatment.

Foods to be avoided during dengue fever

* It is best to avoid oily and fried food and opt for a lighter diet if you have dengue fever. Oily food contains a lot of fat which may lead to high blood pressure and high cholesterol. This can hamper your road to recovery as it weakens the immune system.

* Spicy food is a big no-no for 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 your body seems to be fighting double the illnesses.

* Your body needs lots of fluid, but caffeinated beverages should not what you opt for. These drinks cause rapid increase in heart rate, fatigue, caffeine crashes, and muscle breakdown. Up your fluid intake and consume warm water instead of normal water.

* Non-vegetarian food should be strictly avoided when you are recovering from dengue fever.

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