Q: My son is suffering from recurrent mouth ulcers. He is unable to eat properly and is losing weight. What should his diet be'
Deficiencies of most vitamins of the B-complex group affects the oral tissues and can lead to ulceration. As a result, a person is unable to eat and this causes multiple nutritional deficiencies.
To begin with, your son can be given vitamin B-complex supplements to aid healing. His diet should contain plenty of milk and milk products, as they are a rich source of riboflavin, a component of the B-complex group. Deficiency of riboflavin can lead to mouth ulcers and angular stomatitis (infection of the skin at the corners of the mouth). Deficiency of niacin, another component of the B-group, can cause cheilosis (ulceration of the lips). Anaemia (Both iron- deficiency or pernicious) can lead to changes in the mouth and tongue.
In many cases, changes in the oral cavity are due to a combination of multiple factors such as deficiency due to inadequate intake, improper absorption, drug interaction, imbalanced diet etc. Rich sources of vitamin B include milk, milk products, meat, liver, eggs, whole grain cereals, pulses, green leafy vegetables and nuts. You also need to check your sonís dental condition; unhealthy or badly aligned teeth can lead to lesions in the oral cavity.
The food you give to your son should be modified so that he is able to eat properly. Very hot, salty and spicy food must be excluded. He will accept a soft, semi-solid diet with plenty of nourishing fluids better than solid foods. Avoid pepper, chillies, thick curries, bottled sauces and sour items that may sting the mouth. Foods must be taken cold or lukewarm. Chilled drinks and desserts will be soothing as well as nourishing. You can also give him protein-enriched energy giving health drinks with cold milk or water in order to increase his intake. Do not serve him dry or hard foods and try to give him small frequent meals.
Q: I am in my late thirties and have had two miscarriages in the past. Now I am planning to conceive again. Is there any precaution I need to take about my diet'
You should achieve an acceptable body weight before you conceive. Your calorie intake should be adequate. Do not starve yourself but make sure you are not overeating either. Eat a wide variety of foods to ensure that you are on a balanced diet. Exclude alcohol, fast foods and preservatives or too much coffee. Take lots of fresh fruits and vegetables so that you do not miss out on vitamins and minerals. Eating plenty of green leafy vegetables will provide you with adequate folic acid. Try to introduce these dietary changes three to four months before attempting to conceive.