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Nutrition for HIV patients

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HIV infection and nutrition has an antagonist connection. The theory is simple- poor diet means poor health paves the way for the virus to spread the infection fast and cripple your health rapidly. We shall explain the significance of nutrition for HIV patients, how to follow proper nutrition and similar other factors in details in the following content.


Why nutrition is important to HIV patients?

HIV virus eats up your immune cells, thereby making you vulnerable to a wide range of opportunistic infections. When you start eating healthy and nutritious foods, your immunity starts improving eventually. This way you can make an effort to maintain your health.

The second reason certainly is to gain weight. HIV infected patients lose weight rapidly which further degrades their health, making them fragile and weak. With proper nutrition and smart lifestyle they can maintain healthy weight and physical stature.

Lastly, healthy nutrition and eating good foods help to deal with the side effects of the medicines, which usually are loss of appetite, weakness, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, etc.


Nutritional requirement for HIV patients

The strategy is certainly to increase intake of calories with proper combination of proteins, fats, carbohydrates and essential vitamins and minerals.

During the initial stage of the infection, you need to supply your body 10 % more calories than that required normally. If you are experiencing weight loss, then the demand would further rise by 20-30%. In case of HIV infected children experiencing severe weight loss, their calorie intake should be boosted by 50 -100% of the normal.

Doctors believe that, HIV infected patients should consume 15-30 calories/ per pound to be able to achieve a healthy weight. Have a quick glance on the pointers below to know how to achieve this:

  • Keep your diet simple. Do not indulge in eating fancy foods and complicated diet
  • Eat a balanced diet. Make wise and healthy choices regarding foods.
  • Eat 3 full meals in a day and snack in between each meal.
  • Opt for fruits, juices, vegetables, soups, crackers, etc. for your snacks. Avoid junks.
  • Drink plenty of water. Quit alcohol, smoking and other addictions

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Nutritional Plan for HIV Patients

Proteins, Fats and Carbohydrates

Plan a diet that helps you to receive at least 80-100 grams of protein. Go for lean variety of meat like skin less beef, chicken, turkey and consume plenty of fishes which essentially include salmon, halibut, tuna, etc. Eggs, cottage cheese, soya, lentils, pulses, and tofu are also great sources of proteins and you can have them on regular basis.

Cut back on saturated and trans fats, instead increase intake of omega-3-fats. Have almonds, cashews, walnuts, flaxseeds, olives and low fat dairy like cheese and butter. This helps you to gain weight.

Carbohydrates are your sources of energy. Eat good portion of whole grains like wheat, brown rice, oats, potatoes, etc. Opt for brown bread, whole pasta, maize and quinoa for your breakfast. Have sugar and honey every day but in limited amount.

Vitamins, Minerals and Antioxidants

The micronutrients, vitamins and antioxidants take care of your body’s immunity. They help you to combat infections, improve your nervous functions, helps you to deal with weakness, fatigue and enhance your overall wellness. Your doctor might give you supplements, nonetheless you need to increase intake of fruits and vitamins essentially to achieve the benefits. Therefore, eat plenty of colored vegetables like carrots, spinach, bell pepper, beet, etc. and fruits including oranges, apples, berries, grapefruits, limes, etc.

For best results, get a diet plan customized by your doctor and follow it properly. 

Written by: healthplus24.com team
Date last updated: October 11, 2014

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