Living With HIV: Healthy Eating
When you are living with HIV, healthy eating plays a big role in helping you to maintain good health. Your nutrition plays a vital role in helping your body mitigate the effects of living with HIV. Cindy Pivacic shares her insights into her journey of healthy eating when living with HIV.
Your food intake
We have all heard the cliché ‘You are what you eat.’ The belief behind the saying is that what you eat directly relates to your body’s health. In this day and age of convenience foods and microwave meals, authentic nutritious food is becoming less conventional. The many additives in convenience food can cause illness. Your food intake is an important part of your overall health, and your nutrition supports your journey when living with HIV.
Food intake and chronic diseases
The five prime chronic diseases: Diabetes, Cancer, Hypertension, High Cholesterol, and Heart Disease, are linked to infection and defective immune systems. In many instances, additives are excessive in sodium, hydrogenated oil and refined sugars. Many cooking oils cause inflammatory reactions in the body due to additives, preservatives, and pesticides. Many convenience foods are high in calories and insubstantial in nutritional value, and our health will consequently become vulnerable to diseases.
Healthy eating when living with HIV
Healthy eating when living with HIV is important. Healthy eating should start from a young age as genes often play a role in high blood pressure, heart disease, and other related conditions. It is also possible that people with a family history of high blood pressure share communal environments and other potential elements that increase their risk. Eating healthy is not about dieting and losing weight, it’s about feeling healthier both physically and mentally.
The benefits of healthy eating
Healthy eating when living with HIV is important. There are many benefits of healthy eating. These include:
- May help you live longer.
- Keep your skin, teeth, and organs healthy.
- Support your muscles.
- Support your immune system.
- Fortify your bones.
- Lower your risk of developing chronic illnesses, including Diabetes.
- Enhance your mood and energy levels.
Adapting to healthy eating when living with HIV
After my first diagnosis of HIV, I adapted rather than completely changed my eating habits (diet) as I was already practising a healthy regimen. Following my diagnosis of TB, meningitis, two strokes and Cancer, I again adapted my eating habits, cutting out and adding healthier options. Once again, after my heart attack resulting in a double bypass, I tweaked my diet to fit in with my health situation and active lifestyle. One of the changes I made was to lose some weight. With the right mindset and eating strategy, I lost 20 kilograms. This loss has increased my mobility and, by doing so, enhanced my life.
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