In the world of health and fitness, a balanced diet coupled with a healthy lifestyle is the foundation for athletes to build on their bodies, keep their energy levels high to beat fatigue and perform at their best. While all vitamins and minerals are crucial and essential for the overall health and fitness, here are the top seven nutrients that are very instrumental in building performance for athletes, suggested by Rohit Shelatkar, VP at Vitabiotics Ltd and Fitness & Nutrition Expert.
Omega 3 fatty acids help regulate one’s hormones and the heart rate, and lower blood pressure. The biggest source of omega 3 is fish oils, which are very good for cardiovascular health besides strengthening the muscles and joints. They also act as good supplements to one’s mental health.
Magnesium regulates neuromuscular, cardiovascular, immune, and hormonal functioning. Lack of magnesium in an athlete’s diet can lead to muscle weakness and fatigue, injury and can affect one’s mental well-being. Good sources of magnesium include green leafy vegetables, fruits like bananas, figs, avocado and raspberries, nuts and seeds, legumes, seafood and vegetables like peas, broccoli, brussels, and sprouts among others.
The kind of high intensity training undertaken by athletes puts a lot of pressure on the bones and joints. Fragile bones will eventually lead to injuries and impair development. That is why Vitamin D3 is very essential for increasing calcium absorption and strengthening the immune system (by fighting free radicals). Sunlight is the best source of Vitamin D but there are foods rich in Vitamin D like egg yolks, fatty fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon, soy milk, cheese among others.
B-vitamins like thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pyridoxine (B6), pantothenic acid, biotin, folate, and B12, are important requirements for any athlete because they are involved in energy production while working out and micro-nutrients like folate and B12 are required to produce red blood cells, protein synthesis, and in tissue repair and maintenance. Popular sources of vitamins are whole grains, eggs and dairy products, red meat, fish, legumes, seeds and nuts, and dark leafy vegetables among others.
Very active individuals and athletes who train for more than 6 hours every day need to be wary of iron-deficiency anaemia because they would be burning their iron stores faster than sedentary and non-athletic people. Iron helps red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Rapid loss of iron will reduce endurance and make one dull and lethargic. Foods like dark green leafy vegetables, lentils, legumes, nuts and seeds, whole grains and dry fruits are rich sources of iron.
Vitamin C has immune-boosting properties and is especially an essential vitamin for athletes training outdoors because it prevents airborne viruses and common colds. Rich sources of Vitamin C are citrus fruits and strawberries, and vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, and capsicum among others.
While Vitamin E does not improve overall athletic performance, it is an important antioxidant for athletes because it prevents oxidative cellular damage, reduces the risk of picking up viruses from public spaces, increases one’s anaerobic threshold, lowers output of pentane and lactic acid, and eases muscle cramps that can happen during physical activity. Dark green leafy vegetables and fish or foods that contain fat are high sources of vitamin E. (IANS)
Time to reflect on the most immediate need for one and all, to be physically, mentally and emotionally healthy. Today there is no bigger issue than health, as the world fights against the Covid-19 pandemic.
IANSlife spoke to health experts in different fields, who list down precautionary measures for people to follow:
For Heart Patients
Dr. Bipeenchandra Bhamre, Cardio-Thoracic Surgeon, Sir H N Reliance Foundation Hospital and Research Centre says:
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A majority of heart patients above 65 are at a higher risk of getting sick due to coronavirus. Even, hypertension and diabetic patients are at risk for heart disease and are also associated with morbidity and mortality with COVID 19. Those patients who have recently undergone an open-heart surgery will also be prone to acquiring this infection as their immunity to fight the new infection will be less in comparison to the general population. Having a heart and circulatory condition probably doesn’t make you any more likely to catch coronavirus than anyone else. But if you have a heart condition, it may mean that you could get more ill if you catch it, and that’s why it’s really important to protect yourself.
He suggests few guidelines for the patients who have had an open-heart surgery or bypass surgery:
Don’t venture out of the house: If your loved one or you are recovering from an open-heart surgery or bypass surgery, in the last 3 months then you must protect your loved ones or yourself from contracting Covid-19 by staying at home for an extended time of 8 to 12 weeks.
Maintain a 6 feet distance: Initially, we use to ask family members or friends to maintain a 3 feet distance from the people who have undergone heart surgery. But, owing to the new Covid-19, we ask our patients to keep 6 feet distance while recovering from cardiac surgery.
Complete isolation from people is recommended when one is recovering, as he/she is vulnerable to suffer from infection more than the normal population.
Stick to a healthy and a well-balanced diet: include fresh fruit and vegetables in your diet to enhance your immunity. Bid adieu to junk, oily, packaged, spicy foods, ice, cold water or aerated drinks. Eat only home-cooked meals. Say ‘no’ to alcohol and quit smoking. Limit your salt intake and drink a lot of water to stay hydrated.
For pregnant women
Dr Vaishali Joshi, Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at Kokilaben Hospital says:
“The physical and social restriction imposed by lockdown measures have created insecurities, anxiety and panic in pregnant women which is the most emotionally vulnerable period in a woman’s life due to the interplay of pregnancy hormones.”
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It is important to do antenatal exercises at home.
Always speak with your doctor prior to scheduling an appointment to check the necessity of stepping outside home.
Pregnancy has not proved to cause severe complications even if one catches corona infection. Any healthy pregnant woman can get completely treated from infection without affecting her unborn child, as until now it has not been shown to have trans placental transfer.
It’s safe to breastfeed your baby even if one has been detected to be Covid-19 positive.
The importance of social distancing, hand and respiratory hygiene is crucial to ensure the safety of the mother and her baby.
This is the time to work on your holistic health with help of family, your obstetrician by staying at home and being safe.
For Diabetic Patients
Dr Siddhesh Kolwankar, AVP – Clinical and Product, Wellthy Therapeutics, says:
The best thing for a person with a chronic condition is to continue managing that condition. This means taking medicines on time, monitoring blood sugar or blood pressure levels, following the diet as prescribed and exercising regularly. In addition, patients with diabetes, hypertension or a history of heart disease must be more alert for Covid-19 symptoms.
He underlines the following precautions:
For a person with diabetes, viral infections increase inflammation or internal swelling.
This is also caused by above-target blood sugars, and both could contribute to more severe complications.
Stay hydrated and keep a constant check on your blood sugar levels
Ensure that you are equipped with sufficient medications, along with glucose monitoring devices and diabetes supplies for the near future.
Be prepared for high sugar and low sugar episodes:
If your blood sugar level is low (below 70 mg/dl or your target range): Supplies such as hard candy, jelly, honey and fruits grapes, banana, and fast-acting carbohydrates to be consumed in 15g doses (roughly 3 teaspoons full)
If your blood sugar level is high (greater than 240mg/dl) more than 2 times in a row, contact your doctor to get further assistance
In addition to basic hygiene, make sure injection / infusion devices and finger-stick sites are sanitized with soap and water or alcohol sterilizers.
For patients with skin problems
Dr. Pallavi Sule, Dermatologist and Aesthetic Physician says:
Skin is the largest organ of the body. Healthy skin is achieved by a holistic approach and a well-balanced skincare plan. In view of the Covid-19 crisis, it is very important to take all preventive measures — the most important and proven one being handwashing.”
Don’t let your hands dry by overuse of soaps and sanitizers. Moisturise your hands with a good, fragrance free and colour free moisturiser often and keep them healthy and hydrated.
Also, in this quarantine time stick to your skin care and hair care routine that you know suits you, experiment less.
Have a large portion of fresh fruit and vegetables loaded with antioxidants. This will keep skin healthy and also protect against damage.
For Dietary Needs
Nutritionist and Lifestyle Educator Karishma Chawla says:
“I believe we must celebrate heath everyday since it is the essence of life! Eating clean is not a diet but a way of life! Eating clean along with a balance in other parameters of well being such as stress, exercise, relationships, career and spirituality results in holistic healing like prevention or fighting disease, strengthening immunity and reaching the optimal state of health. I would also emphasize that social connection, positive emotions, being in the flow, humor and nature bathing are precursors to good health.”
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When Covid-19 or any other such health threat comes our way, the best way to deal with this is – being well prepared in every aspect of heath mentioned above along with keeping faith! It’s time we take our health more seriously, adhere to healthy habits and sustain it rather than looking for quick fixes to healthy living!
For Mental Health
Dr Anju Sharma, psychiatrist says:
“The outbreak of the pandemic Covid ï¿½ 19 has created a stressful environment for all leading to worldwide psychological chaos. The fear and anxiety about the disease causes strong emotions in adults and children. One needs to cope up with the stress to make yourself and the people you care about stronger. Each individual reacts differently to a stressful situation. Besides this virus fear, there are various other factors that can lead to stress.
Each individual has come out of their comfort zone during this ‘pandemic. During this time, a person tends to get a little frustrated and loses their temper. It is important to understand that each one is dealing with the changes and it is in our hand to accept the change and spend some quality time at home.
It is the time people have to realize what their hobbies are and invest time in those activities. Those working from home will get some time off. One tends to get bored watching Netflix all the time or playing with play station, so at that time when you are bored analyze your interest and utilise the time in some creative pursuit.
As we all are home, we are spending more time with our near and dear ones. But it is important to give them some personal space as well. Spending time 24*7 will create aggression and lead to a mental breakdown, therefore, allow them some private space to revive their emotional factors.
For a relaxed environment, play soothing music or chant mantras to exhibit positive energy into the environment.
Nipa Asharam, Certified Health Coach and Life Coach says:
“If there is one thing we need to remember this World Health Day is that self-care and lifestyle needs to be our religion. When we look at it through this lens then all the choices we make – food, thoughts, habits and consciousness, we impact not only our individual self but also our family and our community. Health isn’t outside of us, it is in us and vibrating through us. Radiate with self-love and self-care.” (IANS)