What to eat to minimise your risk of getting TB

November 2018

Put these foods on your to-buy list.


Minimise your risk of contracting tuberculosis (TB) by eating these healthy foods, which can help fight active tuberculosis and help you regain your strength and stamina. 

‘To give your body the vitamins, minerals and other nutrients it needs to fight TB, you need to eat a diet that contains a variety of healthy foods,’ says Gert Coetzee, a pharmacist and diet pioneer who founded The Diet Everyone Talks About. Read on for Coetzee’s  tips.

These foods should be included in your diet:


Colourful vegetables

Think brinjals, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes and broccoli. These vegetables are a great source of vitamin A and their pigments have powerful antioxidants that help fight off disease-causing bacteria. 


All fruits are great in maintaining a healthy balanced diet. Try to add more citrus fruits like grapefruit and oranges, as well as all types of berries for extra vitamins and antioxidants. 

Leafy greens

Your mother was right when she said, ‘You’ve got to eat all your greens to grow big and strong.’ In this case, they are also high in iron and vitamin B, which keep our body running like a well-oiled machine by turning food into fuel. Add more kale, spinach and lettuce to your vegetable cart.

Whole grains

Don’t stress about the extra carbs – these foods are so rich in vitamin B and fibre that you’ll be energised all day long. Brown rice, wholewheat pasta, bread and cereals are a great source of whole grains. 


All fish is high in omega-3, which helps our immune systems. Opt for fatty fish choices like salmon, mackerel, sardines and herring. It’s important to make sure the fish you buy is sustainable.

Cut back on these foods:

Red meat

Red meat is high in fat and cholesterol. Exchange it for fish or chicken. 

Refined sugar

These sugars boost bacterial action in our bodies, which is a big no-no if you have TB. Natural sugars found in fruits and natural sweeteners like honey should always be your first choice. 


Salt is the main form of sodium we use every day. Minimising your sodium intake can help you maintain a balanced diet and reduce your risk for heart disease. 

Oily foods

Takeaways and fried foods should be a thing of the past. The large amounts of saturated fats in these foods can contribute to high cholesterol and increased risk of heart disease and diabetes. 


In the form of coffee and energy drinks, caffeine is a stimulant that increases your heart rate and boosts bacterial action. Drink tea instead, which still has caffeine but in a much healthier dose.