Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Trypanosomiasis Diet

It is important to follow a healthy diet if you have Chagas disease.

  • Control dietary salt: Lower dietary sodium by following a special diet that is low in salt. All heart failure patients should limit salt intake to 1,000-1,500 mg of sodium per day. Foods that are high in salt should be avoided.
    • Do not use table salt; consider a salt substitute with your doctor's consent. Season foods with dried herbs, garlic, onion, or lemons.
  • Fluid restriction: Ask your doctor what degree you need to restrict fluid consumption. Ask your doctor how many 8 ounce cups (240 ml) of water you allowed to drink per day.
    • Remember 2 cups (1 pint or about 500 ml) of retained fluid will equal one pound (2.2 kg) of fluid weight gain.
  • Heart healthy diet: Follow a proper heart diet, which is low in saturated fats and cholesterol. Most people with heart failure taking a diuretic medication need to eat potassium rich foods.
    • Potassium rich foods include bananas, apricots, raisins, oranges, grapefruit, and peas.
  • Magnesium: Eat foods rich in magnesium. Heart failure drugs can deplete the body's stores of magnesium. This has been correlated with more severe symptoms and a higher death rate.
    • Foods high in magnesium include wheat germ, soybeans, oatmeal, nuts, seeds, low-fat diary items, and seafood.

A generally healthy diet for people with heart disease should include:
  • Limit total fat intake to no more than 20 to 25% of your total calories:
    • Less than 7% of the day's total calories from saturated fat.
    • Up to 10% of the day's total calories from polyunsaturated fat.
    • Up to 20% of the day's total calories from monounsaturated fat
  • Less than 200 milligrams of dietary cholesterol a day.
  • Just enough calories to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. (You may want to ask your doctor or registered dietitian what is a reasonable calorie level for you.)
  • Reduced salt to 1,500 milligrams per day.
  • Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Limiting iron intake: too much iron can increase atherosclerosis
  • More complex carbohydrates, such as starch and fiber. Whole grains and brown rice are good fiber sources. Other sources include:
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables
    • Bran
    • Barley
    • Oats
    • Legumes
  • B-complex vitamins:
    • Check with your doctor about supplementing your diet with B vitamins. Some people may benefit from these supplements.

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Last Updated: Dec 7, 2010 References
Authors: Stephen J. Schueler, MD; John H. Beckett, MD; D. Scott Gettings, MD
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PubMed Trypanosomiasis References
  1. Andersson J. Molecular diagnosis of experimental Chagas disease. Trends Parasitol. 2004 Feb;20(2):52-3. [14747014]
  2. Barrett MP, Burchmore RJ, et al. The trypanosomiases. Lancet. 2003 Nov 1;362(9394):1469-80. [14602444]
  3. Olliaro P, Lazdins J, Guhl F. Developments in the treatment of leishmaniasis and trypanosomiasis. Expert Opin Emerg Drugs. 2002 May;7(1):61-7. [15989536]
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