Food in the treatment of HIV/AIDS
Food can be a good way to complement the treatment of HIV/AIDS, because through the intake of certain specific foods you can help to strengthen the immune system. Similarly, the diet can help to reduce the side effects caused by antiretroviral drugs, which are essential for the fight against HIV.
Food is just as important as medicines because it helps to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes, liver failure or heart disease, strengthening the immune system and improving the quality of life.
In some countries, in the HIV counseling centers or in the health centers, a nutritionist is available to consult to evaluate the nutritional status and make changes in the diet, if necessary.
Essential care with the diet
In general, a healthy, varied and colorful diet is recommended, being important to keep the weight under control to avoid losing or gaining too much weight, thus increasing the risk of nutritional deficit of vitamins and minerals, as well as cardiovascular complications.
For this reason, you should include in your diet anti-inflammatory foods such as orange, acerola, piña and linaza, and also those rich in omega 3 such as tuna, sardina, salmon, avocado and chia, because they help protect the liver, the pancreas, the heart and the intestine. Read more examples in: Foods that help fight inflammation.
Another important point in the diet of a person with HIV/AIDS is hygiene, you should wash your hands and food before consumption. They are extremely important because in this way the risk of contracting an infection with microorganisms such as Giardia and Salmonella is reduced, and consequently the risk of suffering from gastroenteritis.
In addition to this, it is very important to avoid the consumption of raw foods such as carpaccio, sushi, roast beef or any food with little cooking due to high risk of contagion and the emergence of an intestinal infection.
Furthermore, it can interfere with the treatment of HIV because it can cause a drug interaction, which does not mean that it cannot be consumed, but that it should not be abused.
See how to wash your hands correctly:
Natural Remedies for HIV/AIDS
It is recommended to take echinacea daily to improve the immune system, but despite being natural, the consumption of Hierba de San Juan, also known as hyperic, which is indicated to treat anxiety, nervousness and depression, if advises when taking medications such as Efavirenz, Delavirdina or Nevirapina.
The ideal is that before consuming any natural remedy, you should consult the treating doctor, because there could be some interaction between the plant and the medicines used to treat the illness.
How to reduce the side effects of drugs for HIV/AIDS
To reduce the unpleasant side effects of the drugs used in antiretroviral therapy, the diet can be adapted to each symptom presented, so as not to cause any damage to the nutritional status and guarantee a good response to the treatment, thus improving the health status of the person.
That is why it is important to know what to do to reduce these effects without changing the drug:
|Secondary Effect||what to do|
|nausea and vomiting||Prefer small and frequent meals, and avoid any drink with food.|
|To calm the nausea you can eat 1 ud of soda galleta or cracker.|
|Avoid very hot foods and prefer them cold.|
|diarrhea||Avoid foods with a lot of fat, very spicy and sugary foods such as soft drinks and industrialized juices.|
|Drink lots of liquids such as water, coconut water or homemade suero, in the same amount of liquid that you lose due to vomiting or diarrhea.|
|Eat foods with little fiber such as green bananas, manzana without cascara, tostadas, bread, white rice, pasta and soda galleta.|
|loss of appetite||Bet on foods like soups or smoothies that don’t need much effort to consume. Making several meals in small portions of smooth consistency.|
|taste alteration||Use aromatic herbs such as turmeric, pepper, oregano, thyme, cominos, laurel, romero or albahaca.|
|Heridases in the mouth and esophagus||Avoid acidic foods such as citrus fruits, vinegar, spicy foods, too many salads or hot foods.|
|weight loss||Add rice harina, milk in octopus or cream of milk in soup and plates with salsas.|
Why pay attention to weight
Whoever has the HIV virus must always be aware of the weight to avoid involuntary weight loss because this leads to a decrease in the level of the immune system, but it is also necessary to avoid excess weight. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a nutritionist every 6 months to adjust the diet to maintain a good nutritional status and consider the use of food supplements.
As medical intervention with antiretroviral drugs needs to be adjusted according to the stage in which HIV is encountered, diet can also be adapted to prevent and treat emerging health problems.
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