HIV And the Importance of Nutrition | Body and Soul

HIV And the Importance of Nutrition | Body and Soul

Published December 1, 2009

( -- For HIV/AIDS patients, having a proper diet to maintain a healthy lifestyle cannot be stressed enough. Eating the right foods keeps the immune system strong to fight off diseases and helps with symptoms of common problems HIV patients have such as diarrhea, nausea, fatigue and cardiovascular disease.

Colorful vegetables and fruits provide nutrients to maintain a stable body weight. In addition, good nutrition helps the body process HIV medication appropriately. According to Tufts University’s Nutrition/Infection Unit, the recommended dietary daily intake is as follows:

15-20% Protein: Lean meat, fish and chicken, beans, peas, nuts, seeds, eggs and low-fat diary are all good sources to build strong muscles and organs that make up your immune system.

50-60% Carbohydrates: Complex carbohydrates such as legumes, brown rice, oats and barley are a great source of energy and are slowly absorbed by the body to keep you fuller longer.

25% Fat: HIV patients are prone to cardiovascular disease (CVD) due to their medication. Thus, consuming the right kind of fat can protect against CVD. Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, flax seeds and oil, and walnuts are good sources of this polyunsaturated fat.

Lots of fluids: Staying hydrated with water and diluted juices can relieve symptoms of diarrhea, nausea and fatigue. Limit your intake of soda, soft drinks and caffeine and try to drink liquid separately from solids (at least 30 minutes apart).

How food and drink are prepared is just as important as what food and drinks are consumed. So keep in mind the following food safety tips:

• All meats, fish and poultry should be cooked well done. Avoid all raw meats, fish (including sushi) and seafood.

• Don’t eat unpasteurized milk and diary products, raw, soft-boiled or “over easy” eggs, or Caesar salads with raw egg in the dressing.

• Ask for no ice in drinks at restaurants.

• Rinse all fruits and vegetables.

• Don’t eat leftovers that have been in the refrigerator for more than three days, and reheat leftovers thoroughly.

For more information about HIV nutrition and food safety, please visit:

Written by <P>By Hassanatu Blake, BDO Contributing Writer <BR></P>


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