Malaria is a vector-borne parasitic disease. It is caused by a female Anopheles mosquito bite belonging to any of the five parasites, Plasmodium falciparum, or Plasmodium vivax, or Plasmodium ovale, or Plasmodium malariae, or Plasmodium knowlesi. Infants, small children, pregnant women, travelers that visit malaria-endemic regions, older people, and poor people that cannot afford proper healthcare and live in slums are at higher risk of getting infected with malaria. The symptoms of malaria include severe fever, headache, muscle, and joint pain, pain in the abdomen, chills, fever, and rapid heart rate.

Malaria can lead to complications like cerebral malaria, anemia, respiratory distress, renal failure, low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), jaundice, hypotension, and swelling & rupture of the spleen. Management of malaria involves diagnosing the disease at the right time and taking antimalarial drugs as prescribed by the physician. However, eating proper food with adequate nutrition is the key to faster recovery during malaria and developing immunity.
Here are the foods one should have to recover from malaria:

  1. Raw papaya and papaya leaves
    Papaya (scientific term Carica papaya) has been used as a remedy against various diseases since ancient times. Papain, chymopapain, cystatin, alpha-tocopherol, ascorbic acid, flavonoids, cyanogenic glucosides, and glucosinolates are among the active constituents found in papaya leaves. These active ingredients boost total antioxidant power in the blood and lower lipid peroxidation levels in humans.
    A study carried out by K.Kovendan et al., published in the Asian Journal of Tropical Disease, 2012, found the larvicidal and pupicidal activity of Carica papaya leaves extract against malaria caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum.
    The papaya leaf extract and raw papaya help increase the platelet count in patients suffering from malaria and dengue. However, before taking any plant-based medicinal product, always take the advice of the doctor.
  2. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables (that are used for soup)
    Malaria makes the body weak, and the person feels restless, tired, and exhausted. Thus, it is essential to consume fruits containing sucrose, and Vitamin C. Sucrose provides instant energy, and Vitamin C helps strengthen immunity. In addition, vitamin C helps in detoxification. Thus, patients suffering from malaria should have ripe papaya, grapes, lemon, berries, orange, kiwi, pineapple, apple, watermelons, and melon in their diet.
    Vegetables should be given as hot soup to maintain the strength of the body as they are rich in antioxidants. Vegetables that should be used to prepare hot soup are broccoli, basil, carrot, bell pepper, beetroot, beans, moringa, and cabbage. The journal of tropical medicine, 2016, mentions a study carried out in malaria-infected mice. The study found that the combination of moringa and five-leaf ginseng extracts increased the antimalarial activity with a low dose of artesunate.
  3. Drink plenty of fluids
    Patients with malaria should always keep their bodies hydrated. Glucose water is a must for Malaria patients and should be given frequently under the guidance of a registered physician. Drinking a glass of water 8-10 times a day will keep the body hydrated. Water helps in the removal of toxic substances from the body. Apart from water, patients should also take fruit juices like green coconut water, sugarcane juice, ripe papaya juice, and a combination of pear & pomegranate juice.
    A study on malaria-infected female Swiss mice to determine the effectiveness of coconut water on parasitemia index and Hb level showed positive results. Coconut water was able to reduce the parasitemia index and increase hemoglobin levels in mice. This shows the therapeutic potential of coconut water in maintaining electrolyte balance and management of malaria.
  4. Pulses are a must in the diet.
    Diet rich in protein is very much essential for malaria patients. Patients should intake porridge of masoor dal ( red lentil dal), moong dal ( green gram dal), palak ( spinach), chickpeas, and urad dal (black gram dal). The diet should also include curd, lassi, and cottage cheese.
  5. Have foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids
    Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and are beneficial for malaria patients. Food items containing flax seeds, chia seeds, walnuts, and almonds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids.

Food Items that malaria patients should avoid includes:

  1. Stop consuming tea, coffee, and other caffeine-related beverages.
  2. Stop consuming fast foods, fried foods, processed foods, and oily& spicy foods.
  3. Avoid eating cornflakes, pastries, noodles, chips, processed foods, and pickles.
  4. Confirm with your physician if you can eat egg, meat, fish, and any other non-vegetarian dishes.

Note: This content is only for educational purposes. We request you to kindly visit a physician and a nutritionist before taking any herbal medicine and preparing a diet plan.


  1. World Malaria Day 2021: Foods to Eat and What should be Avoided. Accessed at
  2. Kovendan, Kalimuthu & Murugan, Kadarkarai & Panneerselvam, Dr. Chellasamy & Aarthi, N. & Mahesh kumar, Palanisamy & Subramaniam, Jayapal & Amerasan, D & Kalimuthu, Kandasamy & Vincent, Savariar. (2012). Antimalarial activity of Carica papaya (Family: Caricaceae) leaf extract against Plasmodium falciparum. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease. 2. S306-S311. 10.1016/S2222-1808(12)60171-6.
  3. Somsak, V., Borkaew, P., Klubsri, C., Dondee, K., Bootprom, P., & Saiphet, B. (2016). Antimalarial Properties of Aqueous Crude Extracts of Gynostemma pentaphyllum and Moringa oleifera Leaves in Combination with Artesunate in Plasmodium berghei-Infected Mice. Journal of tropical medicine, 2016, 8031392.
  4. Mulyanti, Dharmana E, Djamiatun K, and Wijayahadi N: Effectiveness of Tender Coconut Water (Cocos Nucifera L) against Parasitemia Index and Hemoglobin Levels in Malaria Infection. Int J Pharm Sci Res 2016; 7(9): 3873-76.doi: 10.13040/IJPSR.0975-8232.7(9).3873-76.
  5. What To Eat & Avoid During Malaria? Accessed at