Secret diet tips to boost immunity

Diet tips to boost Immunity-HIV-AIDS

How to boost immunity with Natural Vitamins, Anti-oxidants and Zinc

This Article was published in our current edition of HALA Magazine. FREE Download here!

Our body naturally demands increased nutrients when it is fighting off infection. With initial HIV infection the case is no different. The body relies on our daily supply of food for the needed immune boosting elements from vitamins, minerals and calories. Excesses are resourcefully stored in the body as savings because they are very useful to maintain the body tissues; but not all classes of food gets to be preserved.

Good nutrition is a basic essential requirement to help replace and maintain the body tissues.  An infection with the human immunodeficiency virus as its name implies, predisposes one to a rapid breakdown of body tissues due to the demand for energy to provide resistance to the viral infection. This is particularly so when an individual’s immune status is very low as can be seen with poor compliance to anti-retroviral medications and the presence of AIDS-defining ailments. The addition of diarrhoea episodes may lead to a further reduction in absorption of ingested food, encourage loss of more body nutrients thereby precipitating further immune decline.

The answer to an increased energy demand in the body is to improve one’s diet –both in quantity and quality by deliberately ensuring a balanced diet to suit the individual’s body requirements. An ultra-quick way to harness the immune boosting capacity of foods is to go for naturally occurring elements that are widely available in most fruits and vegetables.

Basic things you need to know about natural vitamins, anti-oxidants, zinc and more

Vitamin A: This fat soluble vitamin is readily available as its precursors in colorful vegetables and fruits like tomatoes, mangoes etc. Vitamin A is vital to a functional immune system as it helps in the maintenance of the internal lining of body surfaces in the respiratory tract, the intestines and the urinary tract. It helps the functions of cells responsible for immune response. In a study carried out in Uganda among HIV-positive people, it was found that the survival rate (measured by CD4 levels) was inversely related to the levels of vitamin A. Another study carried out among HIV-positive mothers in Malawi showed that there were more children with low birth weight found among those mothers who had Vitamin A deficiency.

B-complex Vitamins: These families of vitamins help to improve the body’s killer cells function. A deficiency of Vitamin B12 is often associated with pernicious anaemia (a condition in which there is an autoimmune destruction of the stomach’s parietal cells leading to an impaired ability to absorb Vitamin B12). Folate deficiency also causes anaemia. These vitamins are abundant in green leafy fruits and vegetables.

Zinc: Zinc is a micronutrient. This mineral is necessary for several important enzymes to work. It helps with the formation of new cells and in the generation of antibody response to an immune attack. Zinc is readily available in legumes such as beans, groundnuts, and it is also in sea foods.

Antioxidants: Vitamins C, E, selenium, carotenoids are the major dietary antioxidants. They help to reduce damage caused to the body’s cells from normal by-products of metabolism as well as disease processes.

Proteins: These basic tissue building blocks are essential for repair of quickly broken down tissues.

In addition to these naturally occurring immune boosters, the place of maintaining a good standard of hygiene cannot be over-emphasized. For anyone positively living with HIV, it is ideal to particularly keep a very high standard of hygiene.  Food items are best consumed in the cooked form to minimize contamination. Food should be prepared in a manner that conserves most of its nutrition while it kills off harmful germs that may be present in the food. Good nutrition in HIV infection is not stand alone action, but works hand-in-hand with compliance with antiretroviral drugs.

An ultra-quick way to harness the immune boosting capacity of foods is to go for naturally occurring elements that are widely available in most fruits and vegetables.



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