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HIV and Nutrition

HIV and Nutrition

HIV and Nutrition. Good nutrition plays a vital role in people living with HIV. It’s all about maintaining a healthy eating lifestyle and boosting the immune system to prevent possible complications. According to studies, HIV-positive individuals who follow a nutritious and healthy meal plan respond well to antiretroviral medications. So, how does good nutrition affect the infection? What are the right foods to eat if you are HIV-positive? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.


There is a reason why doctors always advise people with HIV to pay special attention to their nutrition. Aside from the fact that good nutrition is essentially required even if you were not HIV positive, infected individuals particularly need to have good overall health in-order-to prevent complications with the infection. One of the best examples is experiencing severe weight loss due to the effects of the virus.


Here’s how good nutrition can benefit people with HIV:


  • It improves the quality of life because of the sufficient supply of nutrients that the body needs.
  • It helps in managing symptoms of the infection and prevents further health dilemmas.
  • It boosts the immune system to help the body fight the disease or infection better.
  • It lessens the side effects of HIV medications.


We also listed the principles that people with HIV need to consider when choosing the right food to eat:


  • Maintain a healthy weight by only eating the right amount of food daily.
  • Avoid foods that are rich in sodium, added sugar, and saturated fat.
  • Ensure you add fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains to your meal plan.
  • Limit your intake of sweets and alcoholic beverages.
  • Remember to add proteins and little carbohydrates to your meals.


Factors that affect nutrition if you have HIV

Weight loss is common in people with HIV. It signifies the absence of lack of nutrients that the body requires to remain healthy. This is one example of bodily changes due to HIV medications and the disease itself. One way to improve the condition is through observing a healthy diet.

Another bodily change that the infection causes is lipodystrophy. It is also commonly known as fat distribution syndrome. It causes a massive difference in body shape, which is also a sign of increased cholesterol levels. Again, a proper diet and a healthy meal plan are necessary to stop the condition.


Improving your nutritional status by eating the right food

The following foods list can significantly impact your nutrition, especially if you have HIV. The list can help you maintain a healthy weight to help your body manage your condition. Consider the following:


Complex carbohydrates:

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Cereal
  • Rice



Note: This list above can be a problem if you have been diagnosed with diabetes. Check with your doctor first before adding them to your meal plan.



  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Fish
  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Nuts
  • Soybeans
  • Chickpeas
  • Cottage cheese



  • Whole grain
  • Oat
  • Chickpeas
  • Beans
  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Lentils
  • Apricots



Vegetables (to reduce inflammation):

  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Chard
  • Collards
  • Beets
  • Celery
  • Broccoli



Other food varieties:

  • Almonds
  • Walnuts
  • Blueberries
  • Pineapple
  • Strawberries
  • Cherries
  • Turmeric
  • Ginger
  • Chia seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Mackerel



A healthy eating lifestyle means having a healthier and more functional immune system. For people with HIV, their immune system prevents the infection from getting more severe. Moreover, besides taking regular HIV medications, remember to have frequent visits with the healthcare professional to help you manage your condition better and live a longer, higher quality life.

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