HIV and Nutrition: Tips for Better Health and Wellness

I took interest in nutrition and fitness in high school, and it’s a passion of mine that has changed my life for the better in many ways. It’s helped me recover from alcoholism, treat my depression, and heal childhood trauma. By the Grace of God today, I live a sober, active, healthful life of which nutrition is a vital element.      

Sound nutrition is essential to keeping the body functioning at its optimal level, and this is especially important if you’re living with HIV. It can be difficult to distinguish which choices are better than others when it comes to food, but hopefully some of the information in this blog can help make your meal-time decisions easier!

There are two types of nutrients in the world of food: Macro-Nutrients and Micro-Nutrients. The three Macro-Nutrients are Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat. Macro-Nutrients provide calories, our body’s energy source. The two Micro-Nutrients are Vitamins and Minerals; these enable key functions and aspects of the body such as: immune system, bone-density, sleep patterns, and nutrient absorption.

Below are some easy ways to fulfill your body’s requirements for both Macro and Micro-Nutrients:

  • Eat a diet rich in leafy green vegetables, fruits, and legumes.
  •  Choose lean, low-fat sources of Protein (Egg-whites, Chicken, White fish), complex Carbohydrates (Whole grains, Sweet potatoes, Brown rice), and clean Fats (Olive oil, Coconut oil, Natural peanut butter)
  • Limit foods and drinks high in artificial, processed sugars (Soda, Candy)
  • Make sure all meals and snacks include some Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fat (Macro-Nutrients) as this helps the nutrients you eat to absorb.

Here are some guidelines for Caloric Intake when living with HIV:

  • Eat 17 Calories per pound of body weight if you’ve been maintaining your weight.
  • Eat 20 Calories per pound of body weight if you have an Opportunistic Infection.
  • Eat 25 Calories per pound of body weight if you’re losing weight.

We hope these nutrition basics help you live a fuller, healthier, more energized life, and God bless!

(All information for this blog was acquired through WebMD.com)

By Sam LaMantia

Oakland University student and a team member at Gospel Against AIDS