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The human immunodeficiency virus is a chronic STD that can develop into a more severe syndrome; acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The significant effects of HIV on the body are attacking and lowering its immune system, and that’s why those living with HIV occasionally develop opportunistic diseases like flu and common cold and chronic diseases like diabetes.
Due to technological advancements in the healthcare space and research, those living with HIV can increase their longevity if they take medications like antiretroviral therapy (ART). Besides ART, most people with HIV also consider diet and supplements to maintain their health.
HIV symptoms can take a long time, but whether you are asymptomatic or symptomatic, good dieting is a valuable tool for living with HIV. This is because it will boost your immune system, help maintain a healthy weight, and ensure your body does not lack any nutrients.
Being HIV positive should not make you significantly change your diet. You only need to eat the right food to better your body, be more energetic, and keep you from chronic diseases like heart failure.
The article discusses the importance of good dieting and the diet plan to follow if you are HIV positive.
The relationship between HIV and nutrition
For your body to function well, it must have the required nutrients like protein, vitamins, and minerals, and they must be in the required position. Since HIV interferes with the immune system, those living with it need even more nutrients that can help boost the immune.
They are also in dire need of nutrients to counterattack the effects of HIV medications like ART.
Importance of good dieting for people with HIV
Good dieting is essential for everyone, but those with HIV have compromised immune systems, so ensuring you incorporate all nutrients and the right amount should be your number one priority if you have HIV.
There are many ways following a good diet plan can help, and they include:
- Boost your immune system, which improves your resistance to secondary infections and complications.
- Minimize and manage HIV symptoms
- Counterattack and reduce the effects of HIV medications
- Living a long and quality life
Healthy diet tips for people with HIV
An array of benefits comes with living a healthy lifestyle, including eating healthy foods, exercising, and avoiding some foods that can further harm your body. Consider these eating patterns to live a long and healthy life when you are HIV positive.
Focus on foods rich in calories.
HIV deteriorates the body so fast, and to maintain a healthy weight; you should consume enough calories throughout the day. But, this depends on how you respond to treatments, as some people may need more calories than others.
Have protein in every meal.
HIV weakens the immune system, and for the body to fight harmful pathogens, it must have a robust immune system. even supplements cannot restore the immune system.
You, therefore, need adequate protein to help make, repair and maintain cells and tissues in your body. You may try consuming protein sources like fish, poultry, lean meats, beans, lentils, eggs, and dairy products low in fats.
Include minerals and vitamins in your meals.
Vitamins and minerals are vital as they help the body’s functioning. Foods rich in vitamins and minerals like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, and lean properties can be handy.
The immune system also needs minerals like zinc to make proteins and DNA and help fight off viruses and bacteria causing infections; therefore, you should ensure it is in your meal. You also need minerals like iron and vitamin B12 to ensure you have healthy blood cells for fighting disease and killing germs.
Check on food safety.
As much as you should consume healthy foods, you must ask yourself if you are consuming clean foods because if the food is contaminated, it can lead to food poisoning. We both know that HIV destroys the immune system, and if you develop a foodborne illness, it will damage your immune system further.
To prevent foodborne illnesses, avoid drinking or eating the following foods:
- Foods containing raw eggs like homemade cookie dough
- Raw or undercooked foods like meat, poultry, or seafood
- Unpasteurized dairy products or fruit juices.
To ensure clean and healthy food, follow basic food safety rules: clean, separate, cook, and chill.
- Clean. Ensure you wash your hands before handling any food items. Also, regularly wash your cooking utensils and countertops when preparing food.
- Separate. Separate foods that are eaten raw, like fruits from others like raw meat, to prevent the spreading of germs.
- Cook. Ensure you thoroughly cook foods like meat and if possible, use a food thermometer to be sure.
- Chill. Ensure you freeze foods that may spoil shortly after cooking, like meat.
Living a healthy lifestyle is essential for everyone but more vital for people with HIV because of their compromised immune systems. Even if you are following these diet plans, ensure that you always follow food safety rules because developing foodborne illness can further hurt your immune system.