Understanding the Importance of Nutrition

ThinkstockPhotos-463060589Did you know that there’s a link between staying healthy with an HIV-positive status and proper nutrition? It goes beyond just remembering to keep weight under control and avoid fast food. The benefits of proper nutrition and a regular diet include greater amounts of energy, better overall physical health, improved fitness and maintenance of your immune system.

The Effect of HIV on Calorie Needs

With an HIV-positive status comes an increased metabolism. Although scientists don’t yet know why, studies have shown that those with HIV burn around 10% more calories while resting compared to HIV-negative individuals. Those with AIDS or an advanced infection may burn even more.

This higher metabolism contributes to the possible malnutrition that some HIV-positive individuals can suffer. Some medicines can cause nausea or make food taste strange. Combined with the body being less capable of absorbing and processing necessary nutrients—due to damage done to the lining of the digestive system—this can cause a weakened state of health. With an already compromised immune system, it’s vital to keep overall health as good as possible.

Eating Right Keeps You Healthy

Malnourished people can suffer from a wide range of ailments, from brittle hair and bones to delayed healing capability and weakened immune systems. For an HIV-positive person, that’s a series of complications that can be life-threatening.

By consuming a balanced, healthy diet—for HIV-positive individuals, this may need special adjustments—and taking recommended supplements, a person can improve their chances of fighting off infections and even developing AIDS. Nutritional counseling and assessment is a vital part of treatment. Don’t neglect your nutrition! A healthy diet keeps you looking and feeling better and provides you a better chance of fighting infection along with your medications!