NUTRITION FOR FITNESS AND SPORTS
Exercise is the master conditioner for the healthy and the major therapy for the ill. Fitness means a dynamic equilibrium, the ability to respond to life’s physical, emotional and social demands. Mild exercise consumes calories without increasing food intake, thus slowly reducing body weight. Strenuous exercise increases food intake but within limits, therefore no weight increase follows.
Sports and other energy consuming recreational activities give several benefits to the body, which includes flexibility, coordination, equilibrium, agility, speed, strength, endurance.
Protein: About 15% of the energy requirements is met by proteins, mainly from the animal protein. Soyaprotein, nuts, oilseeds, legumes and pulses, milk and milk products can be used to fulfill the protein requirements adequately. Protein supplementation can also be taken depending on the need and type of exercise.
Fats: These are also important but it should be kept in mind that good fat or PUFA and MUFA should be included in the diet than saturated fats.
Carbohydrates: If lower levels of carbohydrates are consumed, it may result in glycogen depletion, resulting in staleness that effects performance in training and competition. So, unrefined complex carbohydrates must be included in the diet like whole wheat flour, jowar, bajra, ragi. Legumes like moong, chana, rajmah, vegetables and fruits. Glycogen loading is also practiced to improve glycogen storage in muscles. This is the technique used by endurance athletes for carbohydrates loading or glycogen super-compensation.
Vitamins: B-complex vitamins are proportionately increased with energy intake. Vitamin C intake through fresh fruits and vegetables will increase the level of antioxidants in the body that helps in the removal of free radicals that are formed during heavy bouts of aerobic exercise. Vitamin A and E rich foods should also be included in the diet to provide antioxidants.
Water and other fluids: During exercise the body temperature may rise by 10C every 5-7 minutes. Rise in body temperature is harmful and may be fatal. Sweat losses can increase up to 30ml/min., which amounts to about 18kcal/min. loss during maximal exercise. Hence, adequate hydration is necessary at all times. Pre-exercise hydration thus provides protection against heat stress.
A technique called hyperhydration is practiced to provide adequate hydration to the body. The athlete must not underestimate his fluid requirements. Various factors influence fluid absorption like how much fluid the athlete should drink, what kind of solution and the level of exercise.
NUTRITION IN FEVERS
Fever is elevation in the body temperature above the normal which may occur due to many causes like infection, inflammation or due to unknown causes.
These may be:
Acute fevers: these are of short duration. Fevers accompanying infections like colds, influenza, chicken pox, tonsillitis, pneumonia, typhoid, malaria. They last for few days to few hours.
Chronic fever – they lasts for longer duration like several days to several months. E.g. tuberculosis.
As the person is acutely ill and anorexic, a high energy, high protein, full fluid diet is recommended in the beginning.
Energy requirements increase by almost 50% since the BMR of the body increases. Hence higher calories are given depending on the person.
Small meals are given at frequent intervals of 2-3 hours.
Sufficient intake of salt and fluids should be ensured.
As soon as the fever comes down, a bland, low fiber, soft diet which is easily digested should be given.
Well cooked, well mashed, sieved semisolid foods like khichdi, rice with curd, kheers, and custard may be given.
As the condition improves larger meals may be given.
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