If you're HIV-positive, it's essential to work closely with your physician to maintain your best possible health and wellness.
But what can you do outside your doctor's office to help maintain or enhance your overall health? The answers could be found in your grocery and health food stores, says holistic nutritionist Sally Kravich, M.S., C.N.H.P., author of Vibrant Living: Creating Radiant Health and Longevity.
“To support your immune system, arm yourself with the best food containing the highest quality nutrients, along with maintaining a positive attitude. An individual can do a lot to support themselves in addition to their medical treatment."
Whether you're on HIV medication, or struggle with drug addictions, or even if you're newly diagnosed and medication-free, you must support your liver, says Kravich. “The liver is the hardest working organ in the body. It processes bacteria, viruses, drugs, medications, environmental toxins, along with being a digestive organ” says Kravich, who points to necessary daily supplements like milk thistle, dandelion and beet root to cleanse and strengthen your liver.
In addition, make sure to have plenty of Vitamin B12 (minimum of 2,000 mcg per day). Grape seed extract is a powerful anti-oxidant to add to this combination and much easier on the colon than large doses of Vitamin C.
Sugar lowers the immune system and feeds unhealthy bacteria, fungus, mold, and parasites, which seriously impair your body's ability to defend itself from HIV. “If you need to sweeten, go natural,” with Sugar in the Raw, Agave nectar, Stevia or raw honey, says Kravich.
To counteract unhealthy bacteria (fungus, mold, parasites, etc.), take a probiotic supplement which will help your body absorb essential nutrients from food and enhance and strengthen your immune system.
"It is absolutely essential to take probiotics if you are on any drugs or medications," says Kravich. Unhealthy bacteria flourishes in the small intestine where nutrients are absorbed, so take a daily dose of this friendly probiotic bacteria for intestinal and immune support.
To keep your muscle tone strong, you must have plenty of protein with amino acids. Making a daily protein shake is one of the easiest ways to keep protein levels up, says Kravich.
For a simple shake include:
--A simple protein powder, preferably organic whey, rice or hemp
--L. Glutamine (which aids the digestive system)
--A liquid base of rice mik, almond milk, or carrot juice
--A greens powder (which adds essential minerals)
--Natural fruit such as blueberries and banana OR papaya/mango and banana