The active form of the disease has been as easy as taking a daily pill for many of the 1.1 million American people living with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), treating the condition so that it does not evolve into AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
Present antiretroviral therapy ( ART) guarantees that there is an undetectably low level of virus in the system or the viral load.
As a result, people will live relatively safe lives without much fear of anyone else getting compromised or developing full-blown AIDS.
But the reality is that even if managed, HIV causes a certain low level of inflammation which can set the stage for long-term harm over time.
While it is not detectable in the blood, HIV can still be present in the tissue and can result in a lymph node inflammatory response. And some common HIV treatments may accelerate aging in cardiovascular.
Moreover, ART regimens may alter the fat distribution of the body, leaving an estimated 60 to 70 percent of people living with HIV ( PLWH) overweight or obese and prone to complications of obesity, such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and cancer.
HIV care teams also include nutrition consultants, who emphasize the importance of overloading the usual guidelines for healthy-heart eating.
“A healthy diet helps people living with HIV reduce the risk of developing heart disease, cancers, and other diseases while improving the quality of life.
A Plant-Based Diet to Keep Inflammation in Check
The high level of circulating HIV-related inflammatory markers, including the undetectable type, makes a plant-based diet much more important for that population.
Hands down, eating vegetables is one of the best things PLWH can do, whether fresh or frozen. Eating a “rainbow” of foods, including fruits; dark green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, broccoli); red, orange, and purple (beets, yellow peppers, carrots); and beans, peas, legumes, and starchy vegetables.
Furthermore, several nutritional experts say that PLWH contains large quantities of seasonings which have been shown to be effective as reducers of inflammation. “An anti-inflammatory or heart safe diet may also contain spices and herbs. The black pepper, coriander, cinnamon, fenugreek, and turmeric are among those with proven benefits.
Protein for maintaining muscle mass
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends the addition of different proteins in all meals, including lean beef, organic chicken, turkey, oily fish, eggs, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, or nuts, beans, and seeds. That is because PLWH is vulnerable to the long-term impact of muscle tissue inflammation.
“Body composition research tends to show a lower ratio of lean to fat body mass between PLWH, which means that increased levels of protein are still necessary to help create lean muscle tissue. Webel recommends that you eat 1 to 1.4 grams of lean protein per kilogram of body weight.
Such protein-dense variations as nut butter on high-fiber bread, tuna salads, eggs, grilled cheese, almonds, or breakfast yogurt are recommended by the U.S. Veterans Administration’s HIV guidelines.
Fiber to enhance nutrient absorption
Fiber-rich raw vegetables, fruit, beans, nuts, and whole grains increase cholesterol, control blood sugar, and sustain optimum productivity in the digestive system. Some starchy foods deliver a cost-effective way to pack a surprisingly nutritious punch too. “Because of the risk of poor absorption of nutrients due to HIV-related inflammation, an easy-to-prepare meal such as brown rice and beans can provide sufficient protein, fiber, and other nutrients at relatively low cost.
Important foods and vitamins to improve the immune system
Bean, protein and fiber-centric menus meet most needs for vitamins, minerals, fats, and carbohydrates. Nevertheless, the need to actively monitor the higher levels of circulating lipids; lower concentrations of HDL, known as “healthy cholesterol”; and increased bone loss, even with low levels of viruses, strongly supports ensuring that these nutrients are integrated into daily food intake. Including:
Vitamin D Available in fortified milk, fatty fish, and as a result of exposure to the sun, vitamin D maintains healthy bones, though those who live in colder climates are weak.
Calcium found in fatty fish, milk products, and almond milk is essential for bone health.
Iron Leafy greens such as broccoli and spinach help to generate hemoglobin, the blood component that helps carry oxygen across the body. Red meat, whole-grain bread, pasta, eggs, liver, and even dark chocolate also raise levels of iron.
Good Fats High-quality olive oil, avocados, cheese, nuts, and beans, as well as salmon, tuna, and other oily fish, promote cell growth and provide energy.
Water to Battle Muscle Pain and fatigue
Water improves processes of metabolism, moves medications through the body, increases digestion and removal, and keeps cells healthy. It also controls body temperature and moisturizes breathing air while providing a calorie-free fullness sensation. Webel says she sees among her patients that sufficient liquid intake helps to reduce the muscle pains and tiredness that often go with HIV. The Administration of Veterans suggests going down from 8 to 10 glasses per day. “The best thing you can drink is pure, filtered, balanced water, but unsweetened carbonated and aromatized waters are also good.
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