The Importance Of Nutrition In HIV

A plate of cooked fish and vegetables(BlackDoctor.org) — For HIV/AIDS patients, having a proper diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial. Eating the right foods can help keep the immune system stronger. A stronger immune system = greater ability to fight off diseases, as well as help control some of the other common problems of HIV patients, 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 nutrition sources to help build strong muscles, control wasting syndrome and sustain the 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 feeling fuller longer.

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

• Increaed Fluid Intake: 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).

Food: Proper Preparation Is Key To Better Health

How your food and beverages are prepared is just as important as the food choices you make. 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.
• Never eat unpasteurized milk or diary products. Also avoid raw, soft-boiled and/or “over easy” eggs.
• At restaurants, ask that no ice be put in your drinks.
• Rinse all fruits and vegetables carefully.
• Reheat leftover thoroughly. Don’t eat leftovers that have been in the refrigerator for more than three days.

For more information about HIV nutrition and food safety, please visit: http://www.tufts.edu/med/nutrition-infection/hiv/index.html

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