On episode 18 of Sisters Without Shame, registered dietitian Eunice Mpehlo explores the benefits of a healthy diet in the treatment of HIV/Aids.
A friend in crisis hopes to better his chances in treatment seeking nutritional guidance. This is information that is often overlooked in his visits to his local clinic.
Mpehlo has extensive experience in both private and public health practice and runs her own practice in Gqberha. Mpehlo says thatgood nutrition is all about finding and maintaining a healthy eating style. This is especially important in HIV/AIDS treatment as nutrition supports overall health and boosts the immune system.
“Optimal nutrition is optimal health,” says Mpehlo. “For most people living with HIV, good nutrition really is the same as it would be for anyone else, but some conditions related to treating HIV/AIDS such as wasting syndrome, diarrhea, or lipid abnormalities mean that proper nutrition really is important to people with HIV/AIDS.”
Nutrition neglect could be dangerous
HIV and HIV medicines can sometimes cause nutrition-related problems explains Mpehlo.
“Malnutrition and HIV can be quite a vicious cycle, a poor nutritional status can result in weight loss, lean muscle mass loss, as well as macro or micronutrient deficiencies.
“This in turn really results in having an impaired immune system which decreases the body’s ability to fight HIV and other infections. Once you have a poor ability for the body to stay healthy it increases one’s vulnerability to other infections, increased frequency and duration of these opportunistic infections.”
The World Health Organization recommends an average minimum daily energy requirement of an adult in the developing world at around 2000 calories. “That works out to be about 8400 kilo joules which is only actually sufficient for good health.”
Eating well is key to maintaining strength, energy, and a healthy immune system says Mpehlo.
A good diet should consist of the following:
Starch based foods: Including fruits and vegetables, nuts
Calcium: Dairy products or dairy alternatives
Legumes: Beans and pulses
Proteins: Fish, eggs, red meat, and chicken
Good fats: Unsaturated oils, and spreads
Mpehlo adds that you should also limit high fat foods and sugars. “It really is focusing on immune support through a healthy and balanced diet.
Your basket matters
Healthy food doesn’t need to be expensive food it doesn’t need to break the bank. In fact, if growing your own could save you some coins. “Growing your own is even more affordable than going to the shops and you know paying transport costs you know and then you could even use it as a source of income once you’ve established a vegetable garden.”
How to listen to the full interview on Sisters Without Shame
Apple Podcasts: Click here to listen on any Apple device.
Google Podcasts: Click here to listen on Google Podcast.
Instant play: Just click “play” to listen right here on this browser.
Want to connect with Sisters Without shame?
To send an SOS to Sisters Without Shame, email hello@healthformzansi. Alternatively, send a WhatsApp to 076 132 0454.