Tuberculosis is an airborne infectious disease that affects the lungs. A healthy diet that boosts the immune system helps to prevent TB, as malnutrition increased susceptibility to the disease. Nutrition is the major contributor towards recovery and management of tuberculosis. A balanced diet rich in nutrient-dense foods that are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals helps in the speedy recovery of tuberculosis.

Tuberculosis and Nutrition

Important nutrients need to be part of a tuberculosis diet.

High calorie foods

The ideal choice of foods for TB patients should be rich in nutrients and high in calories to meet the rising metabolic demands and to avert further weight loss. Calorie-dense foods include banana, cereal porridge (whole grains, broken wheat, finger millet, pearl millet, etc.,) multigrain sprouted malt porridge (finger millet, wheat, and dhal), and kichadi.

Power packed protein foods

Tuberculosis can cause loss of muscle mass; high protein diet helps to avert muscle wasting. Good source of protein like milk and milk products, pulses, nuts, soy, fish, and eggs are recommended. Protein-rich drinks like milkshakes and soups are also advised, especially if the patient’s appetite is very poor.


Vitamins are mainly important for a healthy immune system, including A, C, E, & D. Vitamins A, C, and E are antioxidants that destroy free radicals and protect the body from chronic diseases. As per the Office of Dietary Supplements, vitamin D plays a crucial role in regulating the immune system and patients who are unable to get ample vitamins through a healthy diet may benefit from taking a multivitamin supplement. Foods rich in vitamins include orange, papaya, carrot, guava, amla, sweet lime, nuts, soy and mushroom.

A micronutrient supplementation that provides 50% - 150% of recommended daily allowance (RDA) of vitamin and minerals is recommended. Evidence reveals that patients who take nutritional supplementation during TB treatment manage well and have better outcomes compared to those who do not.

Nutrition plays a vital role in the management of tuberculosis, without properly balanced nutrition, treatment only with antibiotics may not do well.