HIV Positive: Focus on Healthy Foods

People with HIV should focus on a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein sources (such as fish and chicken), and healthy fats (such as avocado and nuts). They should also limit their intake of saturated fats, processed foods, and added sugars.

By Cindy Pivacic.


Additionally, people with HIV should consume enough calories and nutrients to maintain a healthy weight and support the immune system. Some specific foods and nutrients that may be beneficial for people living with HIV include:

Fruits and vegetables: These are rich in antioxidants, which can help protect the body from damage caused by HIV.

Whole grains: These provide complex carbohydrates for energy and also contain fibre, vitamins, and minerals.

Legumes: These are an excellent source of protein, fibre, and many essential vitamins and minerals. 

Omega-3 fatty acids: These are found in fatty fish such as salmon and are important for maintaining a healthy immune system.

Vitamin B12: This nutrient is important for maintaining healthy nerve function and can be found in meat, fish, and dairy products. (I supplement my intake, sometimes in tablet form but mostly, I inject myself – I know this is not for everyone).

Vitamin D: This nutrient is important for maintaining healthy bones and can be obtained through exposure to sunlight, fortified foods, and supplements.

Zinc: This mineral is important for maintaining a healthy immune system and can be found in meat, seafood, and whole grains.

For breakfast, oats are generally my choice, but I also opt for an egg on toast (there are healthy ways to prepare them) and occasionally peanut butter toast. There are quick and easy ways to prepare tasty meals. Research or follow/ask other people that follow a healthy diet. 

 NB: It is not expensive to eat healthy foods. If you put the effort in, there are various options. You will find it can be a lot cheaper, so no excuses! 

Swap foods for healthier options:

  • Swap white bread for whole wheat bread
  • Swap processed meats (such as biltong or droewors) for lean meats like chicken or fish
  • Swap fried foods for grilled or baked options
  • Swap sugary drinks for water or unsweetened tea or coffee
  • Swap full-fat dairy products for low-fat or non-fat options
  • Swap high-sugar snacks for fruits or vegetables

It’s also important to consult with a healthcare provider or a dietitian to tailor a diet that suit the specific needs and health condition of the individual.

A chronic condition can affect anyone. How you manage it is what makes the difference.

You can get cover of up to 3 million rand for your chronic health condition and up to 10 million if you are living with HIV.

SMS CHRONIC to 33857 to find out more. 

I did!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only.

It is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure, and is not a substitute for professional consultation with a health professional.


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