Control HIV with Plants: Here’s How

While there is still no cure for it, it is POSSIBLE to control HIV.

First, what is HIV?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a type of virus that attacks the immune system, specifically the CD4 cells. These cells are highly responsible for fighting infections. Over time, when not treated, the immune system will no longer be able to fight against the virus, and consequently, it leads to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).

The sad thing is, once someone gets HIV, the person will get HIV for life. But no worries, it is controllable!

You may have heard of the HIV treatment called Antiretroviral Therapy (ART).

This treatment involves taking various pills every day. While these pills do not cure HIV, they reduce the risk of HIV transmission and help HIV patients to live longer with better quality of life. 

Rather than just relying on medication, nutrition has a role to play too.

Since HIV is an inflammatory disease, it is wise to also use plants in aiding HIV. Plants are famous for being anti-inflammatory!

Focusing on the whole-food, plant-based diet is crucial for HIV patients. Eat a rainbow of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes for power-pack vitamins and minerals. Examples of foods that fight inflammation include berries, strawberries, avocado, kale, spinach, cabbage, almond, walnuts, ginger and turmeric. 

Red meat, foods high in fat, sugar, fast foods and processed foods can cause inflammation, and it’s best to avoid eating any of these.

People with HIV also need protein to improve immunity as it is responsible for building infection-fighting cells. Since animal meat can harm health if overeaten, it is always good to opt for plant-based protein such as tofu, tempeh, chickpeas, quinoa and many more (yes, there are many sources of plant-based protein!). If you are not ready to go plant-based entirely, you can opt for a combination of white meat (lean, low-fat content) and plant protein.

Another reason to focus on nutrition is that weight gain is one of the common side effects of ART.

The body burns calories while fighting HIV infections and ART helps to protect the body from infections. This medication also helps the body to avoid losing weight. However, in some cases, it leads to excessive weight gain.

While the ART treatments do work, no doubt, bear in mind that a healthy, low-fat diet and regular exercises are needed to control HIV.

Do not skip the healthy lifestyle routine!

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