A good diet or nutrition is key to overall health and can assist you to live well and long with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). A well-balanced diet is very important for nurturing energy and strength, promoting a good immune system, improving quality of life, and reducing risks of health problems.
This is true for people living with HIV as the virus continuously escalates, nutritional needs and poor diet plans can worsen the disease’s progress. People who are on ARVs treatment and whose viral load is undetectable and it nears a normal CD4 T-Cell count can typically follow the same diet plan as the population at large.
However, people with HIV have health problems such as cardiovascular disease which can be reduced with the help of dietary modification plans.
How HIV affects your nutrition
Individuals with HIV burn calories fast and their nutrients may not get absorbed well, leading to increased nutritional needs. HIV side effects such as opportunistic infections resulting from ARVs medications can cause diarrhea and nausea which lead to nutrient loss.
People with different diseases usually tend to eat less. This is due to fatigue, changes in their senses of smell, loss of appetite, or mouth and taste or throat diseases that can all reduce the level of food intake.
Research indicates micronutrient deficiencies among people with advanced HIV/AIDS, including low grades of Vitamin B-6, B-12, and A and minerals like zinc and selenium. Other studies also showed that micronutrient deficiencies are associated with more rapid disease progression and poor immune systems and regenerating these nutrients can bring an improvement.
Back then, loss of both lean and fat muscle mass or wasting syndrome was an indication of common STD diseases like AIDs. Today, the rhythm has changed and people with obesity and overweight create more concern for people living with HIV in the US. Body evidence shows some individuals taking modern ARVs treatment are excessively gaining weight.
People with chronic viral infections and well-controlled HIV trigger continuing immune activation, damage to the gut, and inflammation. This affects energy expenditure, nutrient absorption, and energy expenditure.
To add, people living with these conditions have almost a similar lifestyle as people who are HIV negative, including unhealthy diet plans. For some individuals, the inability to afford proper high-quality food or food insecurity also plays a greater role.
Healthy Eating when the Virus is Under Control
People with HIV and AIDs needs should be highly considered, however, a good place to start is general healthful eating plans.
1. Be vigilant about food
Those living with HIV/AIDS are more vulnerable to any kind of food poisoning since the virus weakens their immune system. Practicing a good nutritional diet helps reduce your risk of getting sick.
Avoid taking undercooked or raw eggs, fish, or meat; you should only consume pasteurized cheese or milk, vegetables, and washed fruits. Remember to use different cutting boards and knives for raw produce or raw meat.
2. Consume enough calories
Consumption of adequate calories can maintain a healthy weight. Those living with HIV/AIDS might need to adjust to their protein and calorie needs corresponding to how they adapt to treatment. Some people may need more protein and calories as compared to individuals with no conditions.
3. Include Vitamin and mineral-rich foods
Lean protein, low-fat dairy, whole grains, fruits, and vegetable selection contain vitamins and minerals that are essential for proper body function.
Vitamin C and zinc are used in the immune system with vitamin B12 and iron which are essential for healthy blood cells. To help meet these needs, including a variety of nutrient-rich foods is the best solution.
4. Add protein to every meal
Protein plays a key role in the immune system by maintaining and repairing body cells. Good protein sources are poultry, lean meat, eggs, lentils, beans, and low-fat dairy foods.
5. Discuss dietary plans and supplements to your health care providers
Ask your health care team about the new supplements before beginning to interact with any medications.
It’s important to protect the safety and quality of the food you’re eating due to the increased rate of vulnerability to slow recovery from common infections.