Fish Tales Worth Considering
Whether your issue is high blood fats, low-grade muscle wasting, obesity, or other nutrition-related problems, a 'healthy diet' is recommended. Even if it isn't obvious that you have any of these or other health problems beyond chronic HIV infection, it is worth thinking about eating more fish and fish oils. There are some who should watch such intake, including those who use blood-thinning medications.
But if there aren't contraindications, we can figure out a way to make it work. If you live along one of the coasts or grew up near rivers and streams where fishing is common, you may already have a taste for the scaly creatures. If not, you may need to look at creative ways to improve your intake of polyunsaturated fats, specifically omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, flaxseed, and other sources.
Consuming between seven and 11 grams per week is a good goal. At the same time, it is important to minimize foods that raise blood fats and feed inflammation, especially the saturated fatty acids. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that we consume no more than 65 grams of total fat, no more than 20 of which should be saturated, in an average daily intake of 2,000 calories.
You can lower your saturated fat intake in two primary ways. First, substitute foods lower in saturated fat and eat more foods with omega-3 fatty acids. Second, reduce your serving size of foods with high saturated fat content and introduce items with omega-3s.
Fields-Gardner is the director of services for the HIV nutrition company Cutting Edge and is a member of the International AIDS Society and the American Dietetic Association's Dietetic Practice Group on HIV and AIDS.