Dengue fever is a painful, unbearable, mosquito-borne illness caused after repeated biting of a dengue virus-infected female Aedes aegypti mosquito. The dengue virus cannot spread directly from one person to another person. There is no drug at present to cure dengue other than the availability of one approved vaccine by WHO called Dengvaxia. However, Dengvaxia is available only in 20 countries where dengue is endemic, and it is still under clinical trials in other countries of the world. Thus, management of dengue requires identifying the symptoms at the right time, visiting the physician, getting a proper diagnosis, followed by hospitalization, and choosing good dietary habits. In this article, we have briefly described the different food (solid and liquid) items one should have to recover faster and the foods to avoid during dengue fever.

What to eat and drink during dengue fever?

Foods that a dengue patient should include in their diet are:

  • Broccoli
    Dengue patients generally have a sharp decline in their blood platelet count. Broccoli (scientifically known as Brassica oleracea) is a rich source of vitamin K and helps regenerate Blood Platelets. Broccoli is rich in antioxidants and essential minerals, which are vital to the body. Patients suffering from dengue should be given broccoli soup to increase their platelet count, and also it will provide them energy.
  • Pomegranate ( scientifically called Punica granatum)
    Patients having dengue can eat or drink the juice of fresh and ripe pomegranates. Pomegranates are a rich source of potassium, fiber, iron, Vitamin C, and other essential nutrients beneficial for blood. A case study published in March 2019 in the Journal of Drug Delivery and Therapeutics found that the continuous administration of pomegranate juice, lime water, and fresh green coconut water leads to restoration in platelet and leukocyte count patients suffering from dengue.
  • Spinach and Red Dragon Fruit
    Spinach (scientifically called Amaranthus dubius) helps build immunity and restore the platelet count in the patient suffering from dengue. In addition, spinach is rich in iron and omega-3-fatty acids. Similarly, the red dragon fruit (Hylocereus constaricensus) contains therapeutic molecules called betacyanins, beneficial for dengue patients. An in vitro study published in January 2020 in the Access Microbiology journal found the betacyanins obtained from the pulp of red dragon fruit and spinach leaves inhibit the Type 2 serotype of dengue virus.
  • Fruits that are rich in Vitamin C
    Amla ( Embellica officinalis), Orange, black grapes, papaya, and guava are rich sources of Vitamin C. Vitamin C, also called Ascorbic Acid, improves iron absorption and speeds up the recovery, strengthens the immunity system of a person suffering from dengue. One can eat the fruit or make their juice and drink them as per their convenience. Though lemon contains Vitamin C, it is not recommended to be given to dengue patients as it can make the blood thin and slow down the clotting.
  • Kiwi Fruit
    The kiwi fruit (Actinidia deliciosa) contains copper, which helps form healthy red blood cells. Unfortunately, the white blood cell count is also decreased in dengue patients, and the condition is called leucopenia. Kiwi fruit prevents leucopenia and helps in speedy recovery by increasing the count of white blood cells. In addition, Kiwi fruit also contains Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and potassium, which helps balance the patient’s electrolyte content. In a case study published in April 2020 in the International Ayurvedic Medical Journal, it was concluded that combination therapy of papaya and kiwi fruit shows a therapeutic effect on the symptoms of dengue and helps to recover faster. The study result also showed patients recovering from Leucopenia and Thrombocytopenia within five days of the combination therapy.
  • Green vegetable soup
    The soups containing green leafy vegetables like carrot, green peas, beans, lentils, raw papaya, turnip in a cabbage broth, and peppercorn and basil leaves are rich in nutrients and help the patent to recover from dengue fever. In addition, the soup gives strength to the body.
  • Food rich in proteins like barley, Chicken, fish, egg, Mutton liver, and lean red meat
    During dengue fever, our intestine and other body functions are weak. Thus it is advised not to eat spicy non-vegetarian items in the diet. The human body requires protein to recover faster and become stronger. Therefore eating less spicy chicken soup with some black pepper or well-cooked goat leg soup or goat liver soup with black pepper or egg soup can be beneficial. Some people also find eating crab meat in raw papaya broth as a soup to recover from dengue.
  • Eating dairy products like cotton cheese, cream with bread.

Drinks or liquid food item that should be included in the diet of a dengue patient has:

  • Drinking lots of water
    A normal human being or any person suffering from any disease needs water to keep their body hydrated and electrolytes. Drinking 10-12 glasses of water helps the body maintain the electrolyte balance and speed up the recovery from dengue.
  • Papaya and Papaya leaves juice
    Papaya is a rich source of calcium, Vitamin A, potassium, and Vitamin C. Drinking papaya juice or papaya leaves juice is the most recommended therapy for treating dengue. A study published in August 2011 in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine concluded that 25ml of aqueous extract of papaya leaves when given to dengue patients twice a day (morning and evening) for five consecutive days, resulted in an increase in the count of platelets, white blood cells, and neutrophils. However, one should consult their physician before taking the juice of papaya leaves as it causes loose notion in some patients.
    A healthy papaya fruit drink for dengue patients generally includes freshly chopped papaya blended with fresh orange juice, one tablespoon of honey, a little corn pepper powder, and salt according to taste. One should nicely combine the ingredients with little water to form a smooth juice. Patients can consume this juice two times a day for recovery from dengue.
  • Coconut water
    Coconut water contains essential nutrients and electrolytes that help keep the body hydrated and also helps in recovery from dengue. Two glasses of coconut water every day prevents dehydration, reduces weakness, and is very helpful in the management of dengue fever.
  • Natural Fruit Juices like guava juice, pomegranate juice, orange juice, mosambi juice, and ripe papaya juice is beneficial for managing dengue fever. Along with water and green coconut water, fruit juices also should be given two to three times a day.
  • An herbal tea containing fenugreek leaves
  • Turmeric with Milk to ease body pain, increase immunity, and faster recovery from dengue.

What food should be avoided during dengue fever?

People suffering from dengue should avoid the following foods for faster recovery:

  • Fried and Spicy foods containing an excess of oil, butter, and ghee.
  • Eating non-vegetarian foods rich in unsaturated foods or deep-fried or cooked with oil and spices. Instead, one can go for non-veg soups, as mentioned above.
  • Dry fruits like almonds and walnuts
  • Vegetables like potato, cucumber, tomato, onion, ginger, and garlic.
  • Fruits like cherry, apple, melon, lemon, strawberry, gooseberry, plum, blackberry, and peaches.
  • Caffeinated beverages like tea, coffee, and carbonated sugar beverages.
  • Food from street vendors or restaurants. Eat home-cooked food.

Note: Always follow the advice of your physician before implementing in diet routine or any of the above-written food items in your diet.


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