Positive Living: Looking After Yourself (cont.)
Fighting HIV Symptoms with Food
Diarrhea is a fairly common problem, and becomes even more
so with HIV disease. If you have chronic
diarrhea, it's even more important that you get good nutrition and
liquids into your body. Check with your health care provider to
see if any parasites or your medications may be causing the diarrhea.
Here are some nutrition suggestions for helping to reduce diarrhea:
- Avoid high fiber foods such as raw vegetables,
fresh fruits, dried beans, and bread, cereal or pasta
made from whole grain because they will make your
stools looser. Eating white bread, white rice and pasta
is helpful because they are processed and they will
stay with you better. Potatoes, applesauce, canned fruits,
cooked cereals, melons and skinless fruits are all good options.
Avoid prunes or any other fruit with seeds.
- Avoid hot spices - peppers, chili powder or Tabasco
can make diarrhea worse.
- Try to stay away from foods that cause gas,
such as beans, broccoli, cabbage, green peppers and onions.
- Avoid citrus fruits and try to drink fruit nectars,
such as apricot, instead.
- Switch to decaffeinated drinks. Caffeine will make
food and water go through your system faster.
- If you are at all lactose intolerant, you will
probably be experiencing a lot of bloating, gas and
cramping. You might try a lactose reduction aid like Lactaid, or stay
away from dairy products until the diarrhea passes.
- Sometimes greasy or fried foods, butter and oils can
cause diarrhea. There are now a lot of fat free foods on the market you may
want to try.
Diarrhea causes dehydration so drink lots of fluids.
Try to drink eight or more glasses of juice or calorie-rich liquids each day.
Water is best. Severe diarrhea can cause a lack of protein. Check
with your health care provider to make sure that you are getting enough protein
in your diet.
For most people, feeling sick and throwing up is related to
infection, stress, medication or medical treatment.
If nausea lasts for more than two days, call your health care provider.
Here are some tips for dealing with nausea:
- Drink clear and cool beverages; sip them slowly using
- Eat small amounts of food many times during the day -
a few mouthfuls
- Eat bland foods such as potatoes, rice, bread,
noodles and fruit. It's good to go by the "BRAT" formula: bananas,
rice, applesauce and dry toast.
- Avoid skipping meals - an empty stomach will make you
- Avoid fried or greasy foods, very sweet foods, spicy
foods, and strong-smelling food.
- Do not lie down for at least one
hour after eating.