Articles on nutrition

Nutrition for the Elderly

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Are the seniors in Your Life Eating Well? No matter your age, it is important to get the right amount of nutrients every day. However, the elderly are often at a higher risk for certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies due to a variety of factors, such as low activity, slow body functions, comparatively a weaker immunity or poorly balanced diet and medication consumption. Talk to your dietitian and doctor about your changing nutritional needs as you age, and ask him/her about making changes to your diet or taking supplements to help prevent any of the nutritional deficiencies.Studies show that a good diet in your later years reduces your risk of osteoporosis, heart diseases and certain cancers. As you age, you might need less energy. But you still need just as many of the nutrients in food. To get the proper nutrition for the elderly, refer the following guidelines related to food and nutrition.Vitamin B-12Elderly men and women have a higher risk of B-12 deficiency because their stomachs do not contain an adequate amount of hydrochloric acid, which helps the body absorb the B-12 in food. For this reason, those over 50 should get the bulk of their vitamin B-12 through supplements or fortified foods like cereals, milk etc.ZincZinc is important for immune system health, wound healing, and blood clotting and thyroid function. Symptoms of zinc deficiency include loss of appetite, lack of taste or smell, hair loss, skin problems and depression. Men need 11 milligrams of zinc a day, and women need 8 milligrams, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. You can get this amount by eating foods like red meat, fish, poultry, cheese, legumes, whole grains and sunflower seeds.Calcium and Vitamin DAs you get older, your risks of losing bone mass and developing osteoporosis increase. Along with regular exercise, consuming adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D can help keep your skeletal system strong and slow bone loss. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, men and women over the age of 65 needs between 1,200 and 1,500 milligrams of calcium a day, and good food sources include dairy products like milk and cheese. Early morning sunshine is the best source of vitamin D.Other Considerations regarding Nutrition for the ElderlyOffer nutritionally-dense foods. Since many seniors aren't eating as much as they should, the food they do eat must be as nutritious as possible. Encourage whole, unprocessed foods that are balanced in calories and nutrients for their size.Enhance aromas and flavors. Appealing foods may help stimulate appetite, especially in someone whose senses of taste and smell aren't what they used to be.Make eating a social event. Many seniors who live alone or suffer from depression may stop cooking meals, lose their appetites, and depend on convenience foods. If you are worried that your parent or grandparent isn't eating properly, make meals a family occasion.Encourage healthy snacking. Many seniors don’t like to eat large meals or don't feel hungry enough to eat three full meals a day. One solution is to encourage or plan for several mini-meals throughout the day.Nutrition for the Elderly-How can they stay on track Eating healthily is an ongoing commitment, but it’s easier than you think. Here are some tips for staying on course:Ask for help. Admit when you need a hand to shop, cook, and plan meals and find someone to help. It’s important for your health not to revert to frozen dinners or takeout food.Variety, variety, variety! Try eating and cooking something new as soon as boredom strikes.Make every meal “do-able.” Healthy eating needn't be a big production. Keep it simple and you’ll stick with it. Stocking the pantry and fridge with wholesome choices will make it easier to prepare quick, tasty meals.Set the mealtime mood. Set the table, light candles, play music, or eat outside or by a window when possible. Tidying yourself and your space will help you enjoy the moment.Break habits. If you eat watching TV, try eating while reading or use the time to catch up with your spouse or a friend. If you eat at the counter, set the table instead.

Food and Nutrition: Boost Your Mood With Some Food

Dr. Sangeeta Malu, Dietitian/Nutritionist
If you thought poor nutrition only affected the poor, think again. Millions of human beings across the world suffer from under-nutrition. Under nutrition refers not to lack of access to food, but to the body's inability to absorb nutrients. As the saying goes, you are what you eat. This doesn't apply only to your physical health, but to your mental health as well. Here are some things you should know about foods and your moods.  Say NO! to these foods1. Dump the junkMost fast foods contain trans-fats, artificial colors, monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial sweeteners and other synthetic ingredients and have little nutritional value. These ingredients have been linked to irritability and depression in the long run.2. Sugar and glutenThe sugar and gluten present in some foods affect mental health. Consuming them in high quantities will suppress BDNF (Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor) activity BDNF is a growth protein which keeps brain neurons healthy. This can lead to depression, schizophrenia and other mental problems in people.Say YES! to these foods1. Omega-3 fatty acidsFoods like flax seed, walnuts and salmon contain Omega 3, which affects neurotransmitter pathways in the brain, and improves heart function by reducing bad cholesterol and increasing good cholesterol.2. L-Tryptophanis an essential nutrient for brain function. This amino acid is responsible for the production of a chemical called serotonin, which is used to treat people with depression. This can be found in red meat, dairy products and turkey.3. MagnesiumThis vitamin helps maintain physical and mental health. Leafy vegetables, fruits, nuts and avocados contain magnesium, and their regular consumption will keep your mood light and your body healthy.4. Folic acid and vitamin B-12Both these essential nutrients increase metabolism and production of blood cells, which keep the brain healthy.Low levels of these nutrients are associated with depression and mood swings. Folic acid is present in fruits and leafy vegetables, and vitamin B 12 in seafood, meat and dairy products.What we eat determines how we feel! So, eat right and boost your mood with nutrition dense food!

Successful Surgery and Your Nutrition

Dr. Shreedhar Archik, Orthopedist
“Doctor, any dietary restrictions?”  Or Doctor, “what should I eat to prevent infection after surgery?”…and so on…I get bombarded by different questions but the baseline anxiety is same “food’ and its implications on surgical outcome.Nutrition and diet is a vast subject.Let’s see how our nutrition affects our surgical outcome.If you have undergone any surgery in the past you will easily recollect a list of investigations given to you by the doctor before the surgery is scheduled. I will try and decipher how these investigations matter to your surgical result. Complete blood count or CBC as it is known popularly is the commonest test ordered.  Our hemoglobin level is the first indicator of our wellbeing. In Indian population a level of 12 gm. % is considered normal. If you don’t suffer from any specific illness and are otherwise healthy then you should be around this level. Patients generally have more complications if their starting hemoglobin is low. One might argue that why not use a blood transfusion to increase the level of hemoglobin. Blood transfusion lowers your immunity and it has its own risks like transmitting diseases. I might go ahead and say “avoid blood transfusions at all costs unless it is lifesaving i.e. one has sustained a major injury and is bleeding profusely and without a timely blood transfusion is likely to die.In routine elective surgery it is always better to wait and get the hemoglobin up by taking tablets and /or injections.Message1: Don’t undergo an elective surgery with a hemoglobin of less than 10Your serum albumin level is another good marker of malnutrition. A level of <3.5 of albumin means you are severely malnourished and the likely hood of complications after surgery is very high. This is commonly found in elderly patients for obvious reasons. This level can be brought up by consuming proteins. However this should be done under a doctor’s supervision. Someone with a bad kidney can further damage his/her kidney by loading it with proteins.Message2: Don’t undergo an elective surgery with a albumin of less than 3.5Under the heading of CBC you will also see a lymphocyte count. Your immunity level is shown by this count. A lower lymphocyte count means your immunity or the ability to fight an infection is reduced. A lymphocyte count less than 20% should ring alarm bells.Message3: Don’t undergo a routine surgery if your lymphocyte count is <20%Mind you these are general guidelines and things will vary on a lot of factors. E.g. someone with rheumatoid arthritis is very likely to have low hemoglobin. It is always better to consult your treating surgeon. However, use these guidelines for a safe surgery.

Water Nutrition Facts

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Ever notice how lifeless a house plant looks when you forget to water it? Just a little water and it seem to perk back up. Water nutrition is just as essential for our bodies because it is in every cell, tissue, and organ in your body. That is why getting enough water nutrition every day is important for your health. Water is a combination of hydrogen and oxygen. It is the basis for the fluids of the body. Water makes up more than two-thirds of the weight of the human body i.e. the body is made up of 55–75 percent water. Water forms the basis of blood, digestive juices, urine and perspiration and is contained in lean muscle, fat and bones.Here are some facts about water nutrition:-- Water is the main constituent of the body and forms 50-60% of body weight and around 75% of volume. The exact amount varies with age and sex and also depends on body fat content.- Water contains no fats, no proteins, no carbohydrates and therefore no calories.- Lukewarm Water is the perfect complement for a nutritionally balanced meal.- Even in the absence of any visible perspiration, approximately half of water loss occurs through the operation of our lungs and skin.- Water is one of the six basic nutrients. It is widely seen as the most important nutrient because the body requires it constantly and all the important chemical reactions – such as the production of energy – take place in water.- Simply breathing in and out uses more than a pint of water a day. Without water, you would only expect to live for around one week.- Drinking water helps keep the body flushed of waste products.- Strange as it sounds, drinking more water actually helps to reduce water retention.- We each use around 150 litres of water a day, but national surveys show us that we currently drink as little as one litre – that’s around half the amount we need.- We lose lots of water when we suffer from diarrhoea, sickness or infections that cause fever. It is vital to drink more water at these times.- It is generally recommended that adults should drink around two litres of water daily and considerably more when they perform exercise and/or the weather is hot. 6-8 good-sized glasses of water a day should give you this amount.- Being well hydrated helps medicines to work more effectively and helps combat the diuretic effect of some medicines.- Water is the drink of choice for protecting your teeth and gums.Water Nutrition - Recommended Daily IntakeApproximately six to eight glasses (at least 150ml each) of a variety of fluids can be consumed each day. More than eight glasses may be needed for physically active people, children, and people living in hot or humid environments, and breastfeeding women (who need an extra 750–1,000ml per day). Less water may be needed for sedentary people, older people, people in a cold environment or people who eat a lot of high water content foods.

5 Nutrition Packed Vegetables

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
All of us eat vegetables in some form or the other. Maybe in salads, mixed veggies etc. Do you know about the benefits of the vegetables that you eat. Some of them are as common as cabbage, that are loaded with nutrition.Read below for health benefits of commonly available and eaten vegetables.Bottle Gourd: It is rich in dietary fiber with very low content of fat and cholesterol. Approximately 96% of bottle gourd is water  Apart from the iron content it is also rich in vitamin B and vitamin C, it also contains sodium, potassium, essential minerals and trace elements. It is a suitable vegetable for light, low-cal diets as well as for children, people with digestive problems, diabetics and convalescents. It is a suitable vegetable for light, low-cal diets as well as for children, people with digestive problems, diabetics and convalescents. The vegetable is very effective in treating constipation and other digestive disorders. Read for more health benefits of bottle gourd.Cabbage: This leafy vegetable is a delight for people wanting to loose weight. It is packed with vitamin A which protects your eyes and skin, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B which helps in boosting energy metabolism. Cabbage extracts have been proven to kill certain viruses and bacteria. Cabbage boosts the immune system’s ability to produce more antibodies. Cabbage provides high levels of iron and sulfur, minerals that work in part as cleansing agents for the digestive system. Cabbage shredded and boiled 150 grams contains 33 calories. Read for more about cabbage.Carrots: Carrot is a good of source beta-carotene which our body converts into vitamin A  and minerals such as potassium and manganese. It contains some amount of sodium, iron, zinc, copper and calcium. It contains about 87% of water, rich in mineral salts and Vitamin (B, C, D, E). Raw carrots are an excellent source of vitamin A and potassium. Even though the color of original carrots is orange it grows in other colors including white, yellow, red or purple. Carrot juice reduces the risk of many different types of cancer including skin and breast cancer.  Read more for carrot benefits and nutritional values.Corn: It is rich in phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron and selenium. It has small amount of potassium. Corn has vitamin B (Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Niacin, Riboflavin, and Folate). It has traces of vitamin A and vitamin E. Being rich in fol ate, corn helps the generation of new cells, especially important before and during pregnancy. Those suffering from anemia have shown positive effects after consuming corns. Regular consumption of corn, in moderate quantities, has been associated with better cardiovascular health. Read for more benefits of corn.Cauliflower: The allicin in cauliflower is known to promote a healthy heart and reduce the risk of strokes. It contains selenium and Vitamin C, both of which work together to strengthen the immune system. It helps in maintaining healthy cholesterol level. The high amount of fiber in cauliflower improves colon health and helps prevent cancer. Cauliflower even acts as a blood and liver detoxifier. People suffering from ailments like arthritis, asthma, constipation, high blood pressure and kidney bladder disorders can benefit from the consumption of cauliflower. Read more for caloric values of cauliflower.Adopting good eating habits will always keep you away from diseases and infections.

Reading Nutrition Labels Correctly

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Nutrition labels are supposed to tell us how healthy or unhealthy a food really is. Some of us read them, many don't. But if you read them, are you reading them correctly? Reading nutrition label can help make wise food choices but knowing how to read the nutrition fact label can be complicated without the right guide. So, let us show step by step how to correctly read the nutrition label:Step 1- Start with serving sizeAt the top of the label are the serving size and the number of servings per container.  Serving sizes is the amount of food that is typically eating in one serving indicated by cup or number. Serving sizes differ on each food label and may not equal the serving size you normally eat. If you double a serving size, you must also double all the other values on the nutrition label.Step 2- Tally up "Calories" and "Calories from Fat"The calories in a serving and calories derived from fat are displayed directly under the portion sizes. The number of calories you actually take in is determined by the number of servings you eat. For example one serving (10g) of packaged bhelpuri provides 56 calories with 36 calories from fat. And if you eat 5 serving (50 g) of it, then you are actually eating 280 calories with 180 calories from fat.Step 3- Learn about % Daily ValueReferred to DV, the Percent Daily Value tells how much of a certain nutrient one serving of food contains, to how much of that nutrient you should consume daily (based on 2,000 calorie diet).Step 4- Finding nutrients which need to be limited in diet:a) Adding up “Total Fat”: Displayed next is total fat which includes fats that are good, such as monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and fats that are not so good, such as saturated and trans fats ("hydrogenated" and "partially hydrogenated" fats ).b) Finding about "Cholesterol": Next is how much cholesterol is provided by one serving of food (limit to 200 mg/day).c) Looking at "Sodium" content. Sodium, a hidden ingredient in many foods, especially processed food, such as canned soups and tomato sauces.Step 5- Identifying nutrients needed in moderate amountsa)    "Total Carbohydrates": This number represents total of all different types of carbohydrates from eating one serving of food.b)    "Protein" amount. This number tells you how much protein you obtain from consuming one serving of food.Step 6-Be vigilant about amount of "Sugar"This is the amount of sugar you get by consuming one serving of food. Some carbohydrates become sugar when digested in body, so we may be actually consuming more sugar than what is on label.Step 7- Identifying nutrients needed in maximum amountsa)"Total fiber”: This number represents grams of dietary fiber in one serving of food. A food is considered high in fiber if it contains 5 grams of fiber or more per serving. Men age 50 and younger should get at least 38 grams of fiber per day, while women age 50 and younger should consume at least 25 grams of fiber per day.b) Vitamins and Minerals: The nutrition label lists vitamin A, C, calcium and iron. If not present in the food then label mention a footnote ‘Not a significant source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Calcium & Iron’.Step 8- Don't forget to look at ‘Footnote’A chart based on a 2,000-calorie and 2,500-calorie diet. But the question is how many calories do you need? If your body needs 1600 calories or 2800 calories, then clearly you should keep that in mind.Healthy eating often starts with knowing yourself & about what you are putting in mouth. A key step is to know how to read "Nutrition Facts" on a food label and not relying on phrases like “healthy” or “low-fat”. This can help you make quick, informed choices that contribute to healthy eating through more informed label reading.

Reading Nutrition Claims Correctly

Ms. Swati Kapoor, Dietitian/Nutritionist
Whether you are on diet for weight loss, on a muscle gain plan, managing you diabetes, or just looking for healthy food. To know if food is really healthy, you need to know two things: how to read the nutrition labels, and understand the claims that foods make, like 'low calorie' 'high fiber' and others. We showed you the first. Now, we'll tell how to decipher claims that a food product makes.Nutrient content claim is a claim that describes the level of a nutrient contained in a food. Here are the claims and what they mean:Fat Free: The food can contains less  0.5 g fat per 100g of servingLite: The food which contain one-third fewer calories or half the fat of the "regular" versionLow in saturated Fat: The food contains less 1.5 g saturated fat per 100g of serving and less than 10% of calories for that food come from saturated fatCholesterol Free: The food contains less 0.005g of cholesterol per 100g of serving and less that 1.5 g saturated fat and less than 10% of calories for that food come from saturated fatSugar Free: The food can contain less than 0.5 g of sugar per 100 gLow in Sodium: The food can contain less than  0.12 g sodium per 100g of the foodSodium Free: The food can contain less than 0.005g or sodium per 100g of the foodLow Calorie: The food can contain less than 40 kcal per 100g of servingCalorie free: The food can contain less than 4 kcal/100g of servingLow in Fat: The food can contain less than 3 g fat per 100g of servingsSource of Protein: If the food contains not less than 10% of the Daily Value per servingHigh Protein: If the food contains 10% to 19% of the Daily Value of protein per servingSource of Vitamins and Minerals: If the food contains 15 % of the Daily Value per servingHigh in Vitamins and Minerals: If the food contains 10% to 19% of the Daily Value per servingNutrient function claim: a claim that describes the physiological role of the nutrient in growth, development and normal functions of the body. Following claims are allowed if the meet the nutrient claim requirement mentioned above:“Calcium aids in the development of strong bones and teeth”;“Protein helps build and repair body tissues”;“Iron is a factor in red blood cell formation”“Vitamin E protects the fat in body tissues from oxidation”“Contains folic acid: folic acid contributes to the normal growth of the fetus.”So stop wondering what Atta Maggi ‘High Fiber’ means or if marie lite is really lite!! And next time you are up for food shopping compare the food label with the claim requirement before billing.

Your Nutrition Checklist During Pregnancy

Ms. Harpreet Pasricha, Dietitian/Nutritionist
IF YOU'RE LIKE MANY pregnant women, you vowed to eat healthier the minute you found out you were expecting. You may even have started making a mental list of nutritional do's and don'ts: Eat more calcium-rich foods, get more protein, cut out the caffeine and junk foods.The Good thing: Developing healthy eating habits will set the stage for your baby to grow into a strong child and adult, as well as ultimately reduce his risk for certain diseases. There is no doubt that there are plenty of things to think about over the coming months. One thing to get started on straight away is to make good food choices that will help both you and your baby.Are you eating well? What exactly should you eat? What should you avoid and why? Here are some facts and tips for the different types of food to watch out for during this very special time-Firstly you need to eat more of certain foods. Some people see pregnancy as an opportunity to eat freely. After all, you are going to put on 10-12 kg at least that is the expected weight gain for a healthy pregnancy. However, pregnancy is a risk period for the development of obesity and it is always more difficult to lose weight than gain it. Getting the balance right and eating well now is important for the health of the baby as well as the mother.Eating regular meals and a wide variety of food is the definition of 'eating well'. It really is that simple. It also means making time for yourself and eating at least three meals each day.Snacking between meals will be very helpful for those who experience fatigue during the day. Fruit, yoghurt, crackers and buttermilk, is the type of snack that is recommended.A cup of coffee and a chocolate bar, however, is not recommended. It is energy you need as opposed to feeling awake. No more than two cups of coffee per day is recommended during pregnancy.Which foods should I eat more of?You should eat more of the following foods in the second half of your pregnancy:Calcium rich food: Your baby’s teeth will begin to develop as early as the sixth week of pregnancy and calcium is also needed for bone development. Milk, cottage cheese and yoghurt are the best sources of calcium. Some examples of calcium-rich foods are milk on cereal, a glass of milk, a cheese sandwich, all types of yoghurt, and milkshake. Calcium is also found in the soft bones in fish, in broccoli, cabbage and spinach.Iron rich foods: Iron is needed for the growth of your baby’s brain. As you go through pregnancy your baby will build up a store of iron which will last until they reach six months. 75% of women do not eat enough iron. The best dietary source is lean red meat and you should aim to eat it 3-4 times a week. Fortified breakfast cereals, beans, eggs, apricots, prunes, figs, spinach and broccoli also contain iron but you also need a good supply of vitamin C to make use of the iron.Vitamin C Rich Foods: Vitamin C rich foods include gooseberries, guavas, oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, lemons, limes, kiwi, blackcurrants, mangoes and nectarines. Any drink made from these fruits is also high is vitamin C. Potatoes are also a reasonably good source. The need for vitamin C increases by 33% during pregnancy. Choose two of the foods listed above to meet your daily Vitamin C requirements.Oily Fish: Mackerel, herring, salmon, sardines and kippers contain oil which is essential for the development of your baby’s brain and eyes. Aim to eat oily fish 2-3 times a week.Drink plenty of liquids: Drink at least eight glasses of water daily to help prevent dehydration. Without enough water, many of our regular body functions can't take place, including cell respiration, digestion and absorption of nutrients.Foods to be avoidedPeanuts: These are a possible allergen.Unwashed fruit and vegetables Take extra care when eating out and only choose cooked fruit and vegetables.Liver: It may contain too much vitamin A.Raw eggs: Ensure the yolk and white are solid when having a boiled or fried egg and avoid homemade mayonnaise.Undercooked meat: Even cooked until pink is not cooked enough.Unpasteurized milk and milk products such as cheese and yoghurt.Alcohol: The balance of evidence suggests that drinking alcohol should be avoided during pregnancy, alcohol while pregnant; even small amounts have been linked to serious birth defects.DON'T fill up on empty calories. Candy, cake, cookies and ice cream definitely don't count as double-duty, nutrient-rich foods. It's OK to have them during pregnancy but in moderation. Limit these foods to thrice a week, you won’t feel deprived and you also won't overeat.DO remember that you're not really eating for two while you are pregnant.What about folic acid?Folate is a folic acid supplement available from your pharmacy. It contains 400 micrograms of folic acid and should ideally be taken three months prior to conception and up until the twelfth week of pregnancy. It aids the vital development of your baby’s spine and brain, thereby preventing the conditions spina bifida and anencephaly (jointly known as Neural Tube Defects or NTD).Some foods are fortified with folic acid and will help to increase the high intake required during pregnancy. These include bread, breakfast cereal and milk supplemented with folic acid.To avoid constipationA lot of pregnant women suffers from the problem of constipation. To avoid constipation:Choose high fibre foods such as whole wheat or wholegrain breakfast cereal, wholegrain bread, pasta and rice.Fruit and vegetables are also an excellent source of fibre. Aim to eat four or more pieces a day. In practical terms, this means eating at least one portion of fruit or vegetables at each meal and then one more in between meals.Eight to 10 glasses of water each day is also vital to help avoid constipation

5 Super Fruits to Keep You Healthy

Dr. Yogesh Kumar, Ayurveda
Amla or Indian gooseberryScientifically known as Emblica Officinalis ,Amla grows wild or can be easily cultivated. This wonder fruit is highly valued by nutritionists and doctors.its fruit is sour and astringent and is mostly eaten raw,it has a sweet after taste.It is also used in making jams pickles and jellies.It is a rich source of vitamin c the fruit pulp contains a chemical which prevents the oxidation of vitamin in it.it has been used to treat scurvy in many cases.it has a laxative property.in combination with iron, Amla is used as a remedy for anemia ,jaundice, and dyspepsia.2. AppleIT is said that there are thousands of variety of the Apple in the world and you can never taste them all.Apple is a good source of fibre. Fibre is a term used to the indigestible carbohydrates in our diet.It is also known as roughage.Roughage protects from various digestive disorders and it gives bulk to the diet.3. BananaThe banana is the most valued  food item.Its energy content makes it a very advantageous and filling staple.Ripe banana can augment the diets of small children and convalescents with many beneficial effects. The banana fruit has 20% sugar.It is well digested and nutrients are easily absorbed.The ripe banana has 1.2 g protein,0.4 g fibre,88 mg potassium.The fruit is a fair source of vitamin B and calcium.4. Jack fruitOnly 30% of the Jack fruit is edible,the fruit contains a large number of seeds and the three fourth of the edible portion is contributed by moisture.It has a little protein and fat,19.8% carbohydrates and it yields 88 Kcals of energy.It provides some carotene,thiamine,riboflavin,niacin and vitamin C.5. JamunThe Jamun fruit is attractive purple color,sweet in taste and healthy.It has glucose and fructose as the principal sugars.It is a good source of vitamin C and Minerals. Jamun is believed to be beneficial in the treatment of Diabetes.

Pre-Workout Nutrition to Maximise Effects of Training

Dr. Ameet Thakkar, General Physician
Both pre and post-workout supplementation can greatly increase the effectiveness of your training routine. However, this must be done consistently and properly. Without proper nutrition and right kinds of training, your body won't have a maximal response when it comes to building lean muscle mass. From this perspective, training and diet are equally important and should not be considered as separate factors.The food and supplements that you take, along with the work that you perform in the gym, are both part of your training and both are equally important. It's not about the athlete who trained harder, but it's about the athlete who trained smarter.When exercising and working out, your body goes through acute changes in the metabolic environment of muscle tissue. First there is a significant increase in blood flow to working muscles and also a sharp increase in catecholamines (e.g. noradrenalin, adrenalin). As a result, catabolism (muscle breakdown) develops during exercise, and anabolism (muscle building) immediately after exercise. Since these changes are acute, some lasting only a few hours, the pre exercise meal is crucial to optimizing the anabolic effect of exercise. BEFORE EXERCISEIn order to get the most out of your pre-workout meal, you need energy. This is where carbohydrates come into play. You need carbohydrates to store energy and to take advantage of increased blood flow to muscle tissue. CarbohydratesExercise places great demand on glycogen stores. The harder and more vigorous you train, the greater demand this puts on your glycogen stores. Glycogen is the sugar stored in the liver and muscles. Since high intensity exercise burns energy at such a high rate, the body is unable to supply sufficient oxygen to be able to use fat for fuel. Instead, it must use sugar found in the muscle and in the blood. If you consume simple sugars right before you exercise, you can reduce the amount of glycogen used during exercise, which will certainly help to increase and prolong performance. More importantly, higher glycogen and insulin levels appears to create an anabolic hormonal environment favourable to building muscle. Proper carbohydrate intake prior to exercise provides more energy to the muscles and provides a greater effect on the power from muscle fibers, primarily fast twitch muscle fibers that are used during weight lifting. Also, the effect of cortisol, a stress induced hormone, is reduced. This means that your body will be placed in a more conducive environment towards building muscle instead of breaking it down to get through the exercise session.ProteinAnother pre-workout strategy involves pumping more blood to your working muscles. Since the amount and availability of amino acids is often the limiting factor for protein synthesis, a pre-workout protein meal will enhance the delivery of amino acids to muscle tissue to proper muscular growth and recovery. Research has confirmed the effectiveness of a pre-workout protein drink. Research has confirmed that you deliver greater amounts of amino acids during exercise when you consume protein before a workout than after. There is also a significant difference in amino acid delivery in the first hour after exercise, with the protein drink providing a significant advantage before you workout.Net amino acid uptake throughout the muscle is twice as high with a pre-workout protein drink as compared to consuming it after. Phenylalanine disappearance rate, an indicator of muscle protein synthesis from blood amino acids, was much higher when amino acids were taken during the pre-workout stage. As a result, this indicates that the body and muscles respond more effectively to protein immediately before resistance exercise than after exercise. This is primarily because of an increased delivery of amino acids to the muscle.CaffeineCaffeine stimulates the central nervous system by blocking adenosine, a neurotransmitter that normally causes a calming effect in the body. The resulting neural stimulation due to this blockage causes the adrenal glands to release adrenaline, the "fight or flight" hormone. Your heart rate increases, and it releases glucose into your blood stream for extra energy. Caffeine is going to extend your endurance, make you more powerful, and it will have an ergogenic effect on muscle.Beta-AlanineWhen we exercise, especially when it’s high intensity exercise, our bodies accumulate a large amount of hydrogen ions (H+), causing our muscles pH to drop (become more acidic). H+ causes your muscles pH to drop, in turn decreasing your strength and causing you to fatigue faster. These limitations stop you from adequately overloading your muscles and forcing NEW muscle gains. Beta alanine prevents the drop in ph within our muscle by boosting the synthesis of another amino acid carnosine. Carnosine helps stabilize muscular pH by soaking up hydrogen ions (H+) that are released at an accelerated rate during exercise. Beta alanine can increase carnosine concentration by 65%. L-ArginineL-arginine is a vasodilator -- that is, it dilates the blood vessels, allowing more blood to pass through at once. Arginine stimulates protein production. It also help your body manufacture creatine, a protein that contributes to muscle mass and power. L-arginine is necessary to get rid of waste also- so it’s going to flush out toxins and it will help the body get rid of creatinine, the waste product associated with the process of manufacturing creatine.Creatine(ATP) molecules are the main fuel for the enzyme motors of the muscle in initial high-intensity muscle activity. During muscle contraction, ATP (adenosine tri-phosphate) loses a phosphate molecule to create energy and gets converted to adenosine di-phosphate (ADP). Now in order to produce more energy, ADP must be converted back to ATP. Now when ATP is depleted, creatine acts as a source of phosphate and converts the ADP molecule to ATP molecule. The more creatine that is available to the body, the faster the body can produce ATP molecules, so that more and more energy is available for the muscle contractions. This is how creatine acts as a great energy source for short bursts of exercise such as sprinting, bodybuilding and other athletic activities. These increased amounts of creatine slow the possibility of fatigue and enhancesrecovery. Also creatine helps promote muscle growth and development, because it increases the number of satellite cells and nuclei in the muscle. You can’t grow bigger muscles without additional nuclei bringing recruited to take care of the extra muscle. Creatine intake along with training has been shown in many studies to cause a substantial increase in the number of satellite cells and myonuclei compared to strength training alone, and strength training with protein intake.It is advisable not to consume these ingredients without consultation with your physician or a qualified trainer