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Why do people who have TB have to eat a lot?

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top 10 causes of death in the world. WHO reported that in 2016 there were 10.4 million people in the world who were infected with TB and 1.7 million of them died of this disease. Because, just regular treatment without ensuring you get good nutritional intake is still at risk of making tuberculosis difficult to heal. That's why many health experts who emphasize every person with TB must eat a lot in order to speed up healing.

People with TB must eat a lot to get well soon

People with TB must eat more, but certainly not careless food can be consumed. The diet for people with TB must be designed in such a way as to increase the intake of calories (carbohydrates), protein, and vitamins and minerals. A healthy and balanced diet, not only the portion that is double-handed, is proven to accelerate the process of healing TB.

People who are sick with TB should not experience nutritional deficiencies, especially protein and calories. Malnutrition will make your disease worse. Because, the body does not have enough energy to be able to fight infection completely.

TB infection itself can make you vulnerable to malnutrition. Malnutrition causes a decrease in your immune system, making it harder for your body to defend itself against the tuberculosis virus. Plus, you are more likely to experience loss of appetite, so TB patients generally lose weight.

Malnutrition in TB patients can make the healing process last longer, treatment is not effective, and the mortality rate becomes higher than TB patients with good nutrition. You are also susceptible to recurring TB or repeated infections after treatment if you don't eat enough.

So if you are suffering from or have just recovered from tuberculosis, you must really pay attention to your body's nutritional needs. People with TB must eat more nutritious food to strengthen the immune system.

Proteins and carbohydrates are nutrients that are needed by many TB patients. In addition, TB patients also need lots of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, E, B6, C, D, folic acid, iron, zinc, and selenium. Good nutritional intake combined with appropriate drug therapy can accelerate healing of tuberculosis.

How to increase nutritious food in TB patients

It is common for TB sufferers to experience:

  • Decreased appetite
  • Feel nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramps


These three reasons can make TB sufferers have difficulty eating lots of nutritious foods. This can occur because of the side effects of many drugs used by people with TB. However, this is not a barrier for TB sufferers to continue to eat lots of nutritious food. Because if you let yourself not eat, you will actually experience malnutrition and make your TB disease worse.

The following are tips for still being able to eat lots of nutritious foods:

If you don't feel hungry or feeling tired

  • Go for a short walk around your house before you start eating. Fresh air can help build your appetite.
  • Eat when hungry. Eating small portions several times a day may reduce your fatigue.
  • Eat foods that you like according to your taste. This can make you happy when you eat it.
  • Avoid fried foods or fatty foods.
  • Eat slowly, so you enjoy the food you eat. You can eat with other people to increase your appetite or while listening to your favorite music.

If you feel sick

  • Eat in small portions but more often.
  • Avoid fried, fatty, or spicy foods.
  • Add your intake by eating interlude foods, such as biscuits, fruit, or vegetables.
  • Sit for about half an hour after eating.
  • Wear clothes that are loose and comfortable for you.
  • If your stomach feels painful, try drinking ginger tea or peppermint tea.
  • Record the time you eat, what foods you eat, and how you feel when you eat, whether you feel nauseous. You can tell your doctor if you feel nauseous according to your notes, so your doctor can prescribe medication that can reduce your nausea.


During TB treatment, patients are expected to consume more nutritious food, get enough sleep, do regular exercise (enough to walk outside often), and leave unhealthy habits. This can help TB patients recover faster.

Don't forget to always maintain your weight. If you experience too much weight loss, you should add a diet high in protein and carbohydrates to help maintain your weight.



1. Gupta, K., Gupta, R., Atreja, A., Verma, M. and Vishvkarma, S. (2009). Tuberculosis and nutrition.

2. Rodriguez, Diana. (2009). The Right Diet to Beat Tuberculosis.

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Is a health and wellness enthusiast. In him free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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