Typhoid fever is a serious issue in many parts of the world.
It can cause a range of side effects, including headache, fatigue, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
While dietary changes cannot cure the disease and treatment typically involves the use of antibiotics, some dietary modifications may help relieve its symptoms.
This article takes a closer look at the typhoid diet and how to follow it.
Typhoid fever and diet
Typhoid fever is a type of bacterial infection that’s usually transmitted via the consumption of food and water contaminated with Salmonella typhi.
Although it’s rare in developed countries, it’s a serious problem worldwide, accounting for over 215,000 deaths globally each year.
Symptoms of typhoid can include fever, headache, fatigue, weight loss, diarrhea, stomach pain, and loss of appetite.
Although making changes to your diet cannot treat typhoid fever, it may help alleviate certain symptoms.
In particular, choosing nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest can help provide long-lasting energy and relieve gastrointestinal issues.
Summary: Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection that can cause a range of side effects. Making modifications to your diet may help provide relief to certain symptoms.
How to follow the typhoid diet
The typhoid diet is focused on alleviating digestive distress caused by typhoid fever while ensuring that your body is getting enough energy.
High fiber foods, which may be difficult to digest and thus may worsen digestive issues caused by typhoid fever, should be limited. This includes foods like raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Instead, you should cook foods thoroughly, select canned or seedless fruits, and choose refined grains over fiber-rich whole grains.
Other foods that may be difficult to digest should also be limited, including fatty or spicy foods.
Drinking plenty of water is also important. However, since typhoid fever is caused by bacterial contamination, if you’re in an area in which typhoid fever is common, choose bottled water and avoid drinks with ice — unless the ice is made from bottled or boiled water.
Practicing food safety is another key component of the typhoid diet.
Be sure to wash your hands regularly, wash all produce thoroughly, and steer clear of raw meat, raw fish, and unpasteurized dairy products.
You should also avoid consuming foods or drinks from unknown sources, such as street vendors, and prepare foods at home instead.
Summary: On the typhoid diet, you should eat foods that are easy to digest, drink plenty of water, and practice proper food safety.
Foods to eat and avoid on the typhoid diet
The typhoid diet encourages eating nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest.
Foods to eat
On the typhoid diet, you should opt for foods lower in fiber, such as cooked vegetables, ripe fruits, and refined grains.
It’s also important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
Here are some foods to enjoy on the typhoid diet:
- Cooked vegetables: potatoes, carrots, green beans, beets, squash
- Fruits: ripe bananas, melons, applesauce, canned fruit
- Grains: white rice, pasta, white bread, crackers
- Proteins: eggs, chicken, turkey, fish, tofu, ground meat
- Dairy products: low fat or fat-free pasteurized milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream (as tolerated)
- Beverages: bottled water, herbal tea, coconut water, juice, broth
Foods to avoid
Foods that are high in fiber should be limited on the typhoid diet to help ease digestion.
Suggested read: No-carb diet: Benefits, downsides, and foods list
This includes raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes.
Spicy foods and foods that are high in fat may also be difficult to digest and should be limited on the typhoid diet.
Here are some foods that you should limit or avoid:
- Raw vegetables: broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, onions
- Fruits: dried fruit and raw berries, pineapple, and kiwi
- Whole grains: quinoa, couscous, barley, buckwheat, brown rice
- Nuts: almonds, pistachios, macadamia nuts, walnuts
- Seeds: pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, chia seeds
- Legumes: black beans, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas
- Spicy foods: hot peppers, jalapeños, paprika, cayenne pepper
- Fatty foods: donuts, mozzarella sticks, fried chicken, potato chips, onion rings
Summary: The typhoid diet encourages cooked fruits and vegetables, refined grains, and proteins. It also limits high fiber ingredients and foods that may be difficult to digest.
Potential benefits of the typhoid diet
Although there’s limited research on the typhoid diet specifically, studies show that low-fiber diets could be beneficial for certain gastrointestinal conditions.
Low fiber diets are sometimes used to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition characterized by symptoms like gas, bloating, and diarrhea.
Studies also show that following a bland diet with low fiber, easily digestible foods like bananas, white rice, applesauce, and toast could help improve diarrhea.
What’s more, research suggests that limiting spicy foods may be beneficial.
For instance, some studies indicate that acute chili consumption could worsen stomach pain and burning in people with gastrointestinal disorders.
Summary: Although there’s little research on the typhoid diet specifically, studies show that following a low fiber diet and limiting spicy foods could help relieve several gastrointestinal issues.
Downsides and side effects of the typhoid diet
The typhoid diet is a short-term eating pattern designed to provide relief from digestive symptoms caused by typhoid fever.
Suggested read: 13 foods that cause bloating (and what to eat instead)
Note that the diet eliminates many nutritious foods and should not be followed for long periods unless your healthcare provider advises you to do so.
Additionally, you should transition back to a regular diet slowly.
This is because increasing your fiber intake too quickly can cause adverse side effects, such as gas and bloating.
Keep in mind that the typhoid diet is also not intended to treat or prevent typhoid fever.
One of the most effective ways to protect against typhoid fever and other foodborne illnesses is to practice proper food safety to prevent contamination.
Additionally, if you’re traveling to an area in which typhoid fever is common, you may want to consider getting vaccinated a few weeks before your trip.
Finally, if you suspect you have typhoid fever, it’s important to talk with your healthcare provider to determine the best course of treatment.
Summary: The typhoid diet is not intended to treat or prevent typhoid fever and should be followed short-term to help reduce symptoms.
Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection that causes a range of serious side effects.
The typhoid diet is a short-term eating plan that encourages low fiber, nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest.
Although the typhoid diet is not intended to treat or prevent typhoid fever, it may help relieve certain symptoms when paired with medical intervention.