Proper nutrition is a powerful tool for the successful management of HIV disease. Medical research confirms that weight loss- especially muscle tissue wasting- often leads to malnutrition. Malnutrition has been identified as a co-factor that contributes to HIV disease progression. Nourishing foods, medications, and nutritional supplements all work together to fight the immune suppression initiated by HIV.
5 Easy Things You can do to Boost Your Nutrition:
- Drink plenty of water, juice, and decaffeinated beverages
- Try to consume at least 100 grams of protein each day. Proteins help to keep your immune system and muscles strong.
- Eat three times a day or more. People who eat more often per day usually have an easier time keeping their weight stable. Try adding snacks between meals, or even eat six small meals.
- Eat a mixture of fruits and vegetables every day
- Talk to your doctor or dietician about the benefits of vitamins and mineral supplements.
If Mouth Sores, Dry Mouth, or Swallowing Difficulties Make it Hard to Eat:
- Try soft foods that are of a smooth consistency. Cut your meats finely or use a blender on them. Add a liquid to foods or dunk foods in a liquid.
- Avoid spicy foods, extremely hot foods, or foods with a high acid content (such as orange juice or tomatoes).
- Rinse your mouth frequently and drink lost of fluids.
What About Fevers and Night Sweats?
Your needs for both fluids and calories are higher when you have a fever. Remember to increase your intake of fluids. Drinks containing caffeine and/or alcohol should be avoided because they cause further dehydration.
Eating healthy should be near the top of your treatment plan. Health care professionals such as your doctor, your case manager, and your dietician can help you make food choices that are right for you, and they can discuss nutrition options with you.