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Dengue Diet: Foods To Eat & Avoid For A Speedy Recovery

Dr. Muhammad Nouman Anjum

5 min read

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This monsoon has been disastrous for Pakistan due to the record-breaking rains and floods in major areas, such as Balochistan and Sindh. Almost one-third of Pakistan was under water. Along with the many issues Pakistan is facing due to flooding, rising water borne diseases, such as dengue fever, are also a cause of concern.  

Hospitals in many cities of Pakistan have reported a surge in dengue cases. It is due to breeding mosquitos in unclean stagnant water in flood-stricken areas. According to Dawn, Karachi reported 1,066 cases, and there are reports of more cases.

What is Dengue Fever?

Dengue is a potentially lethal virus that results in low platelets because of damage to the blood vessels. Dengue spreads when a mosquito infected with dengue bites someone, specifically Aedes mosquitos, are infected with the dengue virus.

Aedes mosquitos are black and have white spots on them dengue fever can be mild or severe. It can be life-threatening if it does not get proper treatment on time.

Common signs of dengue include fever, rash, sore throat, joint aches, muscle aches, nausea, and headache. In mild dengue cases, the symptoms usually subside within a week.

A more critical form of dengue, also called dengue hemorrhagic fever, presents with blood in the stool, nose bleed, bleeding gums, and vomiting blood. If you experience these symptoms, you need immediate medical attention from an Internal Medicine Specialist in Karachi.

Foods To Eat In Dengue

Dengue can lead to a low platelet count, extreme weakness, and dehydration. To counter that, you may need to be extra careful in your diet. Some foods can help restore the platelet count, while others may boost immunity to speed up your recovery.

Diet plays a vital role in your overall health, and is essential for a full recovery. Following foods can be beneficial for your health if you have dengue:

1. Pomegranate


Red pomegranate contains nutrients that provide energy to your body. It combats fatigue and exhaustion, which is usual in dengue. Pomegranate seeds are rich in iron and can help normalize platelet levels. You can drink it in the form of juice or eat it as it is.

2. Leafy greens

Leafy greens

Green leafy vegetables, such as kale, asparagus, broccoli, and spinach, contain sufficient Vitamin K and folate acid. They can boost your platelets and improve the division of cells in your body. Dengue can also cause anemia, and green leafy vegetables contain iron, which is crucial in worsening your dengue symptoms. Due to their high nutritional value, they also help enhance immunity.

3. Vitamin C rich foods

Vitamin C rich foods

Foods that contain Vitamin C, such as lemons, grapefruit, orange, papaya, and many others, are natural immunity boosters. It helps with iron absorption in your body, which helps improve platelet count. Antioxidants present in Vitamin C-rich foods help improve immunity and fight dengue. It also helps with the efficient functioning of platelets.

4. Fluids


Keeping your fluid intake is essential when you have dengue. Symptoms of dengue, such as fever, can make you dehydrated. It is crucial to stay hydrated when you are not well. Drink as much water as possible, but ensure you take electrolytes to ward off exhaustion and fatigue. You can drink fruit juices, coconut water, or oral rehydration solutions (ORS) alongwith water to prevent dehydration.

5. Turmeric and Milk

Turmeric and Milk

Turmeric has anti-viral properties that can be beneficial for fighting viruses, such as dengue. Turmeric also has anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties that save you from many illnesses. The deficiency of selenium is also possible in dengue. Milk can help cater to that. It contains Vitamin B12, which can increase the formation of cells and raise platelets.

6. Berries


Berries are full of antioxidants that can remove free radicals in the body and increase platelet count. Berries, including strawberries, blackberries, goji berries, and others, are rich in polyphenols that can also increase platelets.

7. Soup


Soup with protein and vegetables is a whole meal packed with nutrition. It contains stock that can provide energy to your body. Nutrients in the protein and vegetables can help provide iron and multiple vitamins that can improve your platelet count. You can also make soups from lentils that can help heal from dengue.

8.  Herbal Teas

Herbal Teas

Herbal tea can provide you with comfort when you are sick. Herbal teas with peppermint and chamomile can relieve the ailment’s stress. Its soothing properties may also help you relax and combat fatigue. Herbal tea, such as ginger, cinnamon, and fenugreek tea, contains antioxidants that can help you recover and fight off the infection.

Foods To Avoid In Dengue

Dengue recovery is not easy, especially when it is severe. You may need to adjust your diet till you fully recover and choose healthy food alternatives to strengthen your body. Eat foods that are easily digestible and provide health benefits. Stay away from foods that can suppress your immunity.

1. Caffeinated beverages

Caffeinated beverages

Though drinking plenty of fluids is vital for recovering from dengue, a doctor may advise you to steer clear of caffeinated drinks. Drinks with caffeine can add to fatigue and have no benefits for your body, especially when you are sick. Switch caffeinated beverages with herbal teas or water.

2. Oily food

Oily food

Food loaded with oil is not advantageous for your health. It is full of unhealthy fat and bad cholesterol that can come in the way of your recovery. It can also result in high blood pressure that can hamper your recovery.

3. Spicy food

Spicy food

Pakistani cuisine is rich in spices, making it spicy. Refrain from spicy food as it can irritate the stomach and slow recovery. Dengue can lower immunity, and stomach irritation can cause more complications.

4. Street food

Street food

We all love street food, don’t we? No matter how yummy street food seems, it can worsen your health. The germs from the dirt on the street make it unhygienic. As your immunity is already low, eating street food may lead to other illnesses that may delay your recovery.

Precautions For Dengue Prevention

While we are on the way out of the COVID pandemic, the sudden flash floods have brought another danger as cases of dengue, and other illnesses, are increasing. It is essential to take the necessary precautions to save yourself from dengue. Dengue can cause complications for people with low immunity and be dangerous for them to contract. Following are a few safety measures to follow for dengue prevention:

1. Apply a mosquito repellant

The rains have led to puddles of water in many places with stagnant water, increasing the number of dengue mosquitos. Apply a mosquito repellant to exposed skin areas at all times.

2. Wear full sleeves

As it is still hot in the monsoon, many people may opt for fewer clothes. Cover yourself with full clothes to limit skin exposure to mosquitos.

3. Maintain cleanliness

Clean any puddles of unclean water on your porch or nearby surrounding as they are the breeding ground for mosquitos that spread dengue. Check any plants and drains around the house that has still water. Spray insect killer inside your home, but ensure the rooms are empty where you spray.

4. Keep the windows closed!

Mosquitos can make their way inside your home through windows or doors. Do not keep your doors or windows open for a long time. Close any other places insects may enter, such as under the tables.

5. Stay clean

Sweat can attract mosquitos with its smell. Take a shower and clean yourself to prevent mosquitos from biting you.

6. Know the symptoms

You should know the symptoms of dengue and consult your doctor if there are any indicators that you have dengue. Stay up-to-date on the weather and be extra careful after rain.


The recent floods in Pakistan have led to a higher number of many diseases, one of them being dengue. Dengue fever can have minimal symptoms but can be deadly if it gets out of control.

Your diet has a powerful impact on your healing process. Foods rich in Vitamins, specifically C and K, are helpful when you have dengue. Foods that have an ample amount of iron can help increase platelets. Consume foods that enhance immunity and provide energy to your body, to combat signs of dengue, such as tiredness. Drink adequate water to stay hydrated, and do not forget to take electrolytes too. It can lead to dehydration which can make your symptoms worse.

Some foods are a no-go when you have dengue. You should avoid eating unhygienic, spicy, or oily food. Eat things that are easily digestible and have a good effect on your body. Abstain from drinking beverages that contain caffeine. Replace them with herbal teas, as they can improve your condition faster.

Nonetheless, take safety measures to avoid getting dengue, especially if you live in flood-stricken areas. Keep yourself and your house clean to keep mosquitos away. Prevent any mosquitos from entering the inside of your house.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Muhammad Nouman Anjum
Dr. Muhammad Nouman Anjum - Author Dr. Muhammad Nouman Anjum is a General & Family Physician, currently working in capacity of REGISTRAR Internal Medicine at National Hospital & Medical Center and enrolled with CPSP as Post Graduate Trainee in the internal medicine department.
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