Dieting the right way to beat meningitis

Dhaka,  Thu,  21 September 2017
Published : 11 Aug 2017, 19:40:35

Dieting the right way to beat meningitis

Fahmida Hashem
The human brain is a complex organ that controls our body. The brain and the spinal cord compose the central nervous system, which is quite fragile and needs protection from being infected with a disease or getting damaged. The brain function is influenced by nutrition.

Meningitis or brain inflammation results from inflammation of the meninges, the thin membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is usually caused by a viral or bacterial infection. It is very important to determine the type of infection (and bacteria), because any bacterial meningitis can cause brain damage, learning disabilities, hearing loss, or even death without treatment for the specific type of bacteria. Its main cause is a very poor immune system coupled with a severe emotional stress.

The road to recovery from meningitis is a healthy and nutritious diet. Patients with meningitis should ensure that their diet is loaded with fresh organic fruits and vegetables which are known to provide antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins, minerals and other nutrients that can help them heal quickly. They also strengthen the immune system that serves as the body's defence against diseases.

Aside from fresh fruits and vegetables, incorporate chicken and lean meat into your diet as well. High-quality proteins can provide you with important nutrients such as omega-3 fats, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and vitamin E. Make sure you acquire these foods free from bacteria and artificial ingredients. Different nuts and seeds are also good additions to a meningitis patient's diet. In a nutshell, you should obtain exceptional amounts of healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that could improve your health. Some of your best bets include: Walnuts, Sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds. Don't forget to drink adequate amounts of fluids, especially water, to help in flushing out toxins from your body. You could also drink juices made from lemons, pineapples and oranges, provided you consume them in moderation to avoid a fructose spike.

Meningitis patients are advised to refrain from eating or drinking the following items: sugary foods, processed foods, caffeinated beverage, white flour food item, smoked fish, sushi, and alcoholic drinks. Meningitis patients are also advised to avoid eating foods loaded with salt, a primary source of sodium. This is why you shouldn't eliminate salt in your diet completely; rather, strive for a good balance since a certain amount of sodium is necessary for your body to function.

If you or someone you know is affected with meningitis, it is recommended that they start by consuming these fruits, vegetables for meningitis. In the case of meningitis, fruits and vegetables that are rich in vitamin A, B, C, D and E such as watermelon, grapefruit, papaya, broccoli, carrot, cabbage and dark green leafy vegetables, are very helpful in strengthening the immune system. Fruits and vegetables also provide important antioxidants, essential fatty acids and other important nutrients which can help a person recover faster from this condition. For a person suffering from meningitis, recipes can be prepared skilfully by using nutritious foods like garlic, tomatoes, and broccoli.

Probiotics help strengthen the immune system aiding better nutritional absorption.  Yoghurt is an excellent source of probiotics. Onion is an excellent natural antibiotic that fights infection, bacteria, purifies the body depth, kills harmful organisms, etc. Lemon is a major natural antibiotic that also has potent antibacterial properties. It prevents and protects and assists in early recovery from almost all diseases. Garlic with potent antiviral properties and almost 40 antibacterial components, is a disinfectant microbicide, purifying the pituitary gland.

While suffering from meningitis, foods should always be cooked properly to avoid further infections which can happen especially in the case of undercooked meat. Concentrate on eating fruits and vegetables as far as possible in their raw form. It is also important to be careful while cooking and storing foods to avoid infections. Personal hygiene and good eating habits go a long way in preventing chronic conditions like meningitis.

Recent research and publications encourage the incorporation of more essential fatty acids, whole grain carbohydrates, antioxidants, and niacin in diets for people who are recovering from meningitis. Nutrition and nutritional supplements can be used to build the immune system which may support the prevention of meningitis. They can also be used to build up the immune system after meningitis. It is vital, however, that when contemplating nutrition with regards to meningitis, the advice of a doctor as well as a nutritionist or naturopath be sought.

It is important to see a health professional in the event of any suspicion. However, complete cure lies not only in medication but also in a healthy diet that strengthens the body's immune system and makes it resistant to infections. Immediate medical attention is needed for meningitis, but as you recover from the condition, it is very important to ensure the proper balance of vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids, and antioxidants to fight this infection.

 The writer is consulting nutritionist and CEO at Miss Nutritionist (a centre for

nutrition and weight management).

Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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