Living a Better Life with HIV

AIDS is a disease caused by human immunodeficiency virus, which targets and weakens the body’s immune system. So in my opinion, lifestyle changes, starting with nutrition, to prevent infections is one of the best ways to live a better quality life with HIV, according to Dr. Lina Velikova, MD, Ph.D.

AIDS

Every year, on 1 December, the world commemorates World AIDS Day, the theme for 2020 is “Global Solidarity, Shared Responsibility

Tips to Quality Living with Better Choices:

Maintain a Strong Hygiene Routine

Those who are HIV positive should have a strong hygiene routine, starting with frequent hand washing with soap to prevent germs from entering the body.

Wash Fruits and Vegetables

It’s important to remember to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables before eating them.

Avoid Touching Raw Meat

Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria are spread from one food product to another. This is especially common when handling raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.

Raw meat and poultry have a number of microbes, some that are naturally present and others that might be acquired during the slaughtering process. The natural protective barrier of an AIDS patient, against microbes, is generally weak. Therefore, it is recommended for AIDS patients to avoid touching raw meat and poultry directly or to take precautionary measures such as wearing gloves.

Consume Properly cooked Eggs and Fish

Never eat them raw. According to FDA Food Safety guidelines issued for HIV/AID patients (www.fda.gov) “Cook eggs until the yolks and whites are firm. Use only recipes in which the eggs are cooked or heated to 160°F.”

Fish, eggs and meat have naturally-occurring microbes in them. Proper cooking at a high temperature kills these microbes and thus protects you from a possible infection. These microbes include Salmonella species, E.coli and other similar bacteria that can cause food poisoning. Even healthy people should be careful about consuming poorly cooked eggs and meat, but especially those that are HIV positive.

Your Daily Calorie Intake

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Women with HIV require an additional 300 kcal of food daily. Why? Their bodies have to work harder to fight off infections. All that extra work uses up more caloric energy, which means eating healthier foods becomes more and more important.

This includes macronutrients, micronutrients and carbohydrates. Vitamins A, B12, iron and zinc are essential for building immunity and should therefore be added to the daily routine as well.

Try to have small frequent meals.

A Healthy Diet

In case of diarrhea, which affects many AIDS patients, eat soups, drink plenty of water, fresh juices and starchy foods. A strong healthy diet can prevent infections from ever happening and even delay the progression of the disease.

Workout to Build Immunity

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Exercise frequently to keep the body strong is important for AIDS patients. Walking is the most convenient and simple aerobic exercise one can do. One of the recommended exercises for patients living with HIV and AIDS is 30-minute aerobic routine exercises with medium to high intensity-levels as these were proven to yield significant improvements in cardiorespiratory conditions and reduced perceived stress among the infected.

Light weight lifting with muscle-building will help increase stamina . Other beneficial exercises include dumbbell bench press, crunches and lunges.

Note: Always ask your doctor for a green signal before starting any of these exercises except walking, which can start anytime.

“Overall, I would say that incorporating a healthy diet and regular exercise is the key to living a better life with HIV.” adds Dr Velikova.

Bio: Dr. Lina Velikova’s journey into the world of medicine started in 2004. After her graduation, she became motivated to become an immunologist. Her areas of expertise include autoimmune diseases, sleep medicine, transplantation medicine, immunotherapy, and pediatric immunology.

Disclaimer

The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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