If you are a person infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), you need to pay special attention to your diet to keep your immune system strong and healthy. Because if your immune system is strong, you will be able to fight the disease better and possibly prevent the progression of HIV.
Although there is no specific HIV diet, good nutrition can have several health benefits for people living with the condition despite getting necessary medical treatments.
While a registered dietician or health experts can guide you better in this regard, here are a few tips that might help:
- Include lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your daily diet.
- Choose lean proteins such as chicken, fish, beans, legumes and low-fat dairy products. To get extra protein, spread nut butter on toast, fruits or vegetables.
- Go for healthier fats like olive oils and nuts while skipping trans fats absolutely.
- Avoid alcohol and drugs- these are hazardous for people with HIV as they can weaken the immune system.
- Limit intake of sugar, sweets and saturated fats.
- Drink plenty of water than usual. You body needs enough fluids to transport the nutrients through your body. Also, enough water in your body will help avoid dehydration as well as reduce the side effects of medications.
However, research shows mixed results regarding individual vitamin and mineral supplementation.
Vitamin A supplementation has been found to reduce mortality and morbidity rates among African children suffering from HIV. Young children 6 to 59 months old that are at high risk of vitamin A deficiency have been recommended vitamin A supplements by the World Health Organization (WHO) every 4 to 6 months.
Contrary to the above findings, a trial from Tanzania found that the use of vitamin A supplements increased the risk of mother-to-child transmission by 40%.
Hence, further research is required to find out the link between supplements and HIV/AIDS and to improve the quality of life for people living with the disease.