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Expert-recommended diet for HIV infected patients

Dr Shely Ganesh recommends these foods to improve immunity in HIV patients

HIV patients need to keep their immune system healthy at all times. Infections like diarrhoea, malaria, pneumonia and tuberculosis become a threat the moment your immunity becomes weak. Here are 12 diseases that can affect people with HIV/AIDS easily. Moreover, there is poor absorption of nutrients, loss in lean body tissue and disruption in metabolism which all worsen the patient s health. If poor food intake is added to this list, chances of malnutrition in HIV patients increase. In fact, an HIV-infected person is at a higher risk of malnutrition suggests Dr Sherly Ganesh, Manager Nutrition & Dietetics at the Columbia Asia Hospital Whitefield, Bangalore. (Read: HIV/AIDS Causes, Symptoms, Tests, Treatment & More)

She further suggests that a well-nourished person can cope with HIV better and fight the illness as they have a stronger body and better immunity. Here are a few dietary recommendations by her for HIV-infected persons:

Diet for HIV patients must include:

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  • Antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables must be consumed in plenty as they help boost immunity.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids are a must. For vegetarians - wheat germ, flaxseed, tofu, soymilk, soy beans and soy-based foods are excellent options. For non-vegetarians - fatty fish such as herring, canned light tuna, mackerel (except king), trout, wild salmon and sardines are preferred. Here are 10 reasons to enrich your diet with Omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Proteins are a must but stick to a low-fat protein diet.
  • Whole grain products like barley, brown rice, quinoa, cereals and whole wheat breads must be consumed regularly.
  • Add starchy carbohydrates like potatoes, brown rice, wholemeal pasta and bread to your diet.

Foods to avoid for HIV patients:

  • Avoid intake of trans fats or hydrogenated oils, shortenings or margarine.
  • Consumption of saturated fats which is found in products like whole milk and cheese, eggs, lard, palm or coconut oils, cream and meat must be decreased.
  • Canned juices, sweetened beverages and high fat desserts like cakes, ice-creams and cookies are best avoided.
  • Reduce your intake of sugars and sweets.

Read this in HINDI

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