HIV weakens the body’s immune system; leaving it at risk for other infections. A healthy diet can help one maintain their body’s strength and continue to ward off infections.
Here are some simple nutrition tips to follow if one has HIV or AIDS.
- Limit the intake of processed foods. However, the best thing to do is eliminate all processed foods from your diet.
- Add more fresh foods to the diet. The meals should include plenty of vegetables and fruits. One should especially eat the vegetables and fruits with high antioxidant contents as these nutrients can aid body’s germ fighting capabilities. Include carrots, pumpkin and all types of berries in the diet.
- Include protein-rich foods in the diet. One can add fish, lean meats, nuts, dairy products, and lentils. Add cottage cheese, boiled eggs or nuts to the salad; eat cereal with yogurt. Basically, eat freshly-cooked foods with healthy ingredients and always add some protein in them.
- HIV causes rapid weight loss. So, add more calories to the diet through healthy carbohydrates and fats. Attempt to eat whole grains every day. Choose whole wheat bread, crackers and pasta and brown rice. One can also eat oatmeal and potatoes. Consume simple sugars in the form of fruits (both fresh and dried) and as jams, jellies, and maple syrup. One can also eat nut butter, sour cream and some butter and margarine in moderation.
- Eat small meals throughout the day. HIV can reduce appetite. So, when there’s an urge to eat, take full advantage of it.
- Avoid sugary drinks and alcohol.
- Drink extra water. Proper hydration can help keep fatigue at bay and reduce harsh side effects of the medicine. Increase water intake in case of fever or diarrhea, which are common HIV symptoms.
- Consume salt and sugar in moderation.
- Refrain from taking vitamin supplements without consulting with your doctor.
- Discuss the diet with a doctor as some foods may interfere with the medicines. Eat as per the doctor’s recommendations.
Living with HIV/AIDS is not easy. But a healthy diet can make a lot of difference to one’s health.