TIPS TO BOOST IMMUNITY – WORLD AIDS AWARENESS DAY
–Smeetal Pereira, Dietitian and Clinical Nutritionist (M.Sc. Foods, Nutrition and Dietetics)
Every year 1st December is celebrated as World AIDS Awareness Day to support those infected by the dreadful HIV virus to help fight the stigma attached to AIDS, create more awareness about preventing the spread of HIV and supporting those living with HIV infection. Creating awareness about the medical nutrition therapy for treating those living with AIDS is still in the nascent stage.
As the name suggest AIDS (acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) kills the immune system and increases the risk of being infected with other diseases. Therefore, the key treatment strategy is to increase immunity and keep infections at bay. In order to ensure a strong immune system, food and nutrition plays a vital role.
As per the best nutritionist in India, following nutrition tips will help build a strong immunity and fight against viral infections which can be easily incorporated by individuals who are at a higher risk of viral infections or are surviving with HIV infection:
- Adequate caloric intake – In most cases of HIV, the appetite reduces drastically and this affects the food intake. This in turn can lead to weakness and fatigue. Ensuring adequate caloric intake as per the body’s requirements and maintaining healthy weight is important to keep the immune system strong.
- Adequate protein intake – Plant-based organic protein sources such as dals, beans, lentils, pulses helps to meet up the body’s requirements for protein and also do not cause inflammation unlike the non-vegetarian sources of protein such as eggs, chicken, milk, and milk products and meat. Meeting 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per Kg body weight per day prevents muscle wasting and promotes stronger immunity since the white blood cells of the body which are responsible for fighting against infections are protein in nature.
- Antioxidant-rich foods – Food including naturally colored fruits (orange, sweet lime, guava, pineapple, pomegranate, papaya) and vegetables (carrot, pumpkin, spinach, cabbage) and healthy fats (walnuts, almonds, pistachios) are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, Iron, Omega 3 fatty acids, Zinc and Magnesium which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are responsible for scavenging the free radicals and infection-causing viruses. An average intake of 5 to 6 servings of fruits and vegetables in the most unprocessed form ensures reduced inflammation and promote overall health and well being.
- Adequate hydration – Cautiously keeping a check on water intake is essential because dehydration worsens the immune system. Also, appropriate electrolyte solutions need to be consumed so that the body’s pH balance and homeostasis are maintained and the body is supplied with nutrients to fight against virus.
- Physical activity – Adequate body weight training strengthens the immune system and increases blood circulation and production of the white blood cells. Regular physical activity ensures oxygen and nutrient supply to all parts of the body which is essential for a strong immunity.
- Adequate rest – Managing stress and taking appropriate rest, helps build up the immune system. Detoxification of the body happens during the rest period. Resting ensures that the body recovers quickly from the infectious virus.
These nutrition tips are helpful not only for individuals living with HIV or AIDS but also for the general population to keep viral infections at bay by boosting immunity.
Don’t forget to play your role in spreading awareness about nutrition for building immunity. Spread the word and help others.
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