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Healthy Diet

No matter your HIV status, healthy eating is good for your overall health. If you are living with HIV, following a healthy diet offers several benefits. Good nutrition helps:

What Types Of Foods Should Be Included As Part Of A Healthy, Balanced Diet?

A balanced diet includes:

  • Proteins, which build and maintain muscle. Good sources of protein include meats, fish, beans, nuts, and legumes.
  • Fruits and vegetables, which provide essential vitamins and minerals, fiber, and other substances necessary for good health. These foods are filling and naturally low in fat and calories.
  • Carbohydrates, which give you energy. Complex carbohydrates are a “time-release” source of energy and include fruits, vegetables, cereals, and grains. Simple carbohydrates, or sugars, give you quick energy and can come from white flour, honey, jams, syrups, and dried fruit.
  • Fats, which give you extra energy. The so-called “good fats” can be found in nuts, seeds, canola and olive oils, and fish. The “bad fats,” which are linked with a higher risk of heart disease, are found in butter and animal fats, like red meat.

Can My HIV Or My HIV Treatments Affect My Diet And Nutrition?

Yes. People living with HIV sometimes face issues that can affect their nutrition, such as:

  • Changes in your body’s metabolism;
  • Medicines that can upset your stomach;
  • Opportunistic infections that can cause issues with eating and swallowing, like oral candidiasis and Kaposi sarcoma; and
  • Foods that can affect antiretroviral therapy (ART) (like raw meats and fish).

Any of these problems can affect your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients necessary to stay in good health.

Talk to your health care provider about your diet, and ask specific questions about what steps you should take to maintain good nutrition. Your health care provider may recommend that you take vitamins or supplements to ensure you are getting all the nutrients you need for a balanced diet. He or she may refer you to a nutritionist or dietitian with whom you can talk about your nutrition needs.