World AIDS Day: 11 Ayurvedic diet tips for HIV positive patients

A HIV diagnosis doesn’t mean that your life has ended and you stop taking care of yourself. It means that you need to be more dedicated towards your health. And the first step to healing yourself is through the right diet! In the recent years, there has been a widespread realisation that lifestyle and diet play a big role in the management of HIV. Patients with an increased viral load have a compromised immune system and standard drugs for the treatment also leave a trail of toxins in the body, destroying it from within. To get the best out of the antiretroviral treatment and to minimise the damage the drugs do to your body, it is important that you follow the right diet.

Dr Surya Bhagwati from Dr Vaidya’s New Age Ayurveda says, “The patient should have foods that are nourishing and easily digestible. Sticking to a healthy diet pattern will reduce instances of sickness and boost recovery and improve the patient’s energy levels,” she says. The doctor outlines important Ayurvedic diet tips for patients and caregivers, which helps in avoiding health complications caused by HIV and the antiretroviral treatment.

1 Eat fresh

Ayurveda recommends that you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Dr Bhagwati says, “Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, so that you get enough fibre and micronutrients with every meal.”

2 Have ghee with every meal

Dr Bhagwati says that pure ghee should be an accompaniment with every meal. A rich repository of valuable nutrients, ghee also aids digestion and reduces inflammation in the body. It also helps in clearing toxins out of the body.

3 Avoid Spicy, oily, acidic food

Anything that is spicy, oily or acidic should be crossed out your diet forever. Too much of these foods can irritate the digestive system.

4 Include more colour in your diet

Fruits and vegetables in various colours contain plant pigments in the form of carotenoids and bioflavonoids, which are converted into vitamin A on digestion. Vitamin B complex is found abundantly in carrots, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and citrus fruit like oranges, grapefruit and tangerines. Both these micronutrients help to strengthen the body against infections.

5 Eat more fibre

A diet rich in fibre is guards your body against lipodystrophy, a potential side effect of HIV and antiretroviral drugs, which causes changes in the person’s body fat.

6 Choose whole grains

Eat whole grains as much as possible. Include brown rice, whole wheat and multigrain flour in your diet.

7 Have iron-rich foods

Eat your fill of iron rich foods like legumes, nuts, seeds, cruciferous vegetables and dried fruits.

8 Have coconut oil

Coconut oil has amazing antimicrobial qualities, making it a great diet addition to an anti HIV diet.

9 Have probiotic foods

Probiotic foods help in building immunity by strengthening the gut microbiota. So include rich fermented foods like yoghurt, buttermilk and naturally fermented pickles.

10 Avoid processed foods

Avoid anything that contains processed sugar, white flour, packaged foods with chemical preservatives. Stick to natural ingredients as much as possible.

11 Include herbs in your diet

Some herbs like garlic, amla and turmeric have strong immunomodulating properties. Use herbs as an adjunct to standard HIV treatment. Here is a list of herbs that strengthen the immune system in HIV patients.

Image source: Shutterstock

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