HIV positive individuals face a lot of health challenges that need to be addressed. These challenges range from drastic weight loss to constant fatigue and the presence of opportunistic infections. Even the medication provided by the doctor will in some way affect the body negatively. To increase the length and quality of life, it is important for one to make various lifestyle changes. In particular, a new diet has to be introduced. The diet should focus on replacing lost energy, countering weight loss and boosting the immune system.
HIV leads to a high rate of muscle loss in the body. The situation is worse in those whom AIDS has already set in. Calories help to preserve lean mass and consequently keep energy production high. This ensures that one is able to continue doing daily tasks and activities without any problem. The more advanced the infection the more calories the body requires. You can get calories from a wide variety of healthy foods such as whole grains, proteins, fruits and starchy foods.
Proteins aid in the development of strong muscles and body organs. In addition, they also boost the strength of the immune system allowing an individual to fight HIV symptoms more effectively. Proteins can be obtained from fish, dairy products with low fat quantities, cheese, chicken and lean beef or pork. Beware of protein foods with high fat quantities.
Healthy carbohydrate foods help to provide energy throughout the day. This helps one to avoid constant fatigue while working. The best sources of carbohydrates include legumes, whole grains, low fat and low sugar wheat products, brown rise, potatoes including sweet potatoes, arrowroots. Basically, going natural with foods like maize and arrowroots is the best way of getting health carbohydrates and other nutrients.
As much as we are told how bad and dangerous fat is for our bodies, it can also be helpful, as long as it is from healthy sources and in the right amounts. The most important thing is to keep away from saturated and Trans fats. These are mostly found in unhealthy processed foods. Fat provides an extra source of energy for your body. The ideal sources include nuts, avocado, fish, corn, soybeans and flaxseed. When you are cooking or preparing salads, use olive oil or canola oil. Saturated fats that you should keep to a minimum include whole-milk dairy products, fatty meat, coconut oil and palm oil.
Vitamins and minerals
Referred to as micronutrients, vitamins and minerals are important in the boosting of the immune system, repair of damaged cells and regulation of various body processes.
The most crucial vitamins and minerals for HIV positive individuals are;
- Beta carotene and Vitamin A. Get them from vegetables, fruits, milk, eggs and liver.
- Vitamin B. Grains, nuts, green vegetables, broccoli, avocados and white beans.
- Vitamin C from citrus fruits.
- Vitamin E from green vegetables such as spinach. Vegetable oils and peanuts are also good sources.
- Selenium from peanuts, whole grains, poultry, fish and dairy products.
In many cases, especially in poor regions, it can be difficult and even impossible to obtain all these nutrients. In such cases, one is provided with supplements such as multivitamins by the healthcare provider. Do not use any mineral or vitamin supplements without the direct recommendation of a professional doctor, some supplements can be dangerous for you.