Healthy eating for people living with HIV
Now our days with all the discoveries and drugs put in place, having HIV is not much of a big deal. You can live with it given you take your medication correctly and also follow a proper diet. This is because, nutrition plays an important role in the health of the immune system and it has the ability to fight infection. Eating the right food will help you feel much better, have more energy and also keep your heart and bones healthy as you get older.
A good diet for HIV patients includes, starchy foods, fruit and vegetables, beans, pulses, nuts, fish, eggs, and meat etc. It is good to note that, foods that are high in fat and sugar should be eaten less often and in small amounts.
1. Fruit and vegetables
Just as fruits are important for every human being, fruits are very very important for those living with HIV patients. This is because, fruits and vegetables provide a lot of vitamins, minerals and fibers for the human body. Try as much as possible to eat five or more portions of fruit or vegetables every day, it will help make you stronger.
It is good to note that, fruits and vegetables are low in fats, so adding it to your diet will help you shade down some weight. Equally when taking fruits, it is good to mix different varieties of fruits so that you will be able to benefit from their different nutrients.
2. Throughout the day, consume enough calories in order to maintain a healthy weight.
Those with HIV/AIDS may need to adjust their calorie and protein needs depending on how they respond to treatment. Some people may need more calories and protein compared to those who do not have this condition.
3. Eat starchy foods
Starchy food is very important too and they include things like, cassava, cereals, green banana, millet, maize meal, potatoes, pasta, couscous, rice and yam. Starchy foods help to provide carbohydrates for more energy, fiber, calcium, iron and B vitamins. A diet high in fiber helps to ease digestion and it can reduce the risk of developing other diseases like type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.
4. Consume enough vitamins and minerals
People who are HIV-positive need extra vitamins and minerals to help repair and heal damaged cells. It is important to eat things that will give you the much-needed vitamins and minerals. You can get Vitamin A in orange (fruits), vegetables, whole eggs; milk etc Vitamins B: can be found in meat, fish, chicken, grains, nuts, white beans, avocados, vegetables etc, Vitamin C in citrus fruits, Zinc in meat, poultry, fish, beans, peanuts, and milk etc.
Your doctor can also provide Multi-Vitamins/mineral tablets which will help you get the vitamins you need.
5. Stay properly hydrated
In order to make the body function properly, it is important to stay hydrated. That is, make sure that the body has enough fluid (liquid) to function properly. You have to take, 6 to 8 glasses a day of fluids. Fluids include, water, sugar-free drinks, tea, coffee, and lower-fats milk. But note that you have to control your intake of fruits juice.
It is good to note that, if you don’t know anything about dieting, or you are too busy or too stressed to follow a proper diet you can get a dietitian, who will help;
- Make sure your diet is fulfilling all your individual nutritional requirements.
- Regularly check your body weight and ensure that the proportion of fat to muscle is appropriate.
- Help you avoid food poisoning.
- Advise you on any dietary changes you may need to make if you become ill.
- Help you identify and manage any food allergies and intolerances.
- Increase physical activities