What NOT to eat before a workout
Nutritionist Niti Desai took questions from our readers on simple but effective diet tips to make you look and feel healthy. We bring you transcripts from the chat:
Health and health related issues have become one of the greatest causes of concern today. Be it cancer or heart ailments, health issues have plagued the Indian population -- urban and rural alike (It is estimated that 25-30 per cent of urban population and 10-12 per cent of the rural population suffers from high blood pressure and heart attacks).
How do you battle everyday pressures? What should you eat and which foods should you ditch? Should you avoid breakfast or is it healthy to skip dinner? What should your lunch comprise and is drinking water all the time a good idea? What oils are healthy and which one are entirely avoidable.
Niti Desai is an independent health, wellness and fitness professional who has been a nutritionist for Femina Miss India, Grazia Ford Supermodel India and Teen Diva.
Desai holds a postgraduate diploma in dietetics from the Leeds Metropolitan University, UK and has worked overseas as a dietician before returning to India.
She has also been a visiting faculty at the same university and contributed to various books.
In the pages to follow, we bring you the transcript of the chat:
A very good afternoon and welcome to the chat. I am here to take your questions.
My parents are above 60. We eat simple veg food. However, at times we are ignorant of big names like trans-fatty acid etc. How do we find out we are eating right things at right quantity?
When it comes to fats -- definitely avoid trans-fats which are present in bakery foods and biscuits. Avoid using hydrogenated fat and use blended oil
Is it ok to drink water just before doing weights?
You need to be hydrated well. But a lot of extra plain water may not be useful.
We hear about cooking oils fortified with antioxidants. Can you tell us how these are beneficial?
Cooking oils fortified with antioxidants have multiple benefits
Fortification increases the antioxidant power of oil and keeps it stable during storage and prevents rancidity. Antioxidants also help to fight the free radicals -- certain harmful chemical substances that are produced during frying of foods and lastly these antioxidants are very useful for our body too.
What are the foods one must not have before going to the gym?
Fatty foods such as fried foods or cakes/pastries/croissants or buttered foods are avoidable as are nuts.
What should I have after a workout?
Post-workout meal is very important to get the best results of the workout, especially if it is a weight training or resistance training -- make sure that you have a snack in the 45 minutes immediately following the workout. Ensure it has to be a carb + protein combination -- it could be egg whites / chicken / fish / paneer (skimmed milk) along with banana/mango/grapes/rotis/bread or pasta.
Image: Watch what you eat says nutritionist Niti Desai
Photographs: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
How to stay fit and feel great!
My family prefers to have extremely oily and fried food almost every day. While I will try to reduce the frequency of such meals can you suggest ways in which I can reduce high cholesterol intake?
You must surely make that effort, Shraddha. You can hep you family by choosing the right oil. Use a blended oil to meet the varied requirements of the body. Our national dietary guidelines also suggest that we use blended oil.
Fish, pork, chicken and beef -- can you give me some advice on what amount I should consume of these in a week?
Fish and chicken is considered lean meat with minimum amount of harmful fat and you can have them more often. Beef and pork are red meats and you should have them once a week or 10 days if you are a normal healthy weight individual.
If someone is undergoing chemotherapy and she's been told she needs to increase her proteins, are there any products you could recommend to help boost her protein levels, natural if possible?
High protein foods include eggs, chicken, fish, milk, paneer, curd, pulses and dal
Which is the best bread to buy? Is dark bread better
Any wholewheat/multigrain bread of a well known brand is good.
What kind of fish one should consume if one has undergone bypass surgery a year ago?
Use fish rich in Omega 3 fatty acids. Have 150-200 gm twice a week. These include halwa, bangda, seer, hilsa, purava. Also use two teaspoons per day of a blended oil with high antioxidant power as it is extremely heart friendly.
Image: Eggs are one of the best sources of protiens
Photographs: Bobby Yip/Reuters
'Avoid fried foods, cakes, chocolates, mitahis and ice-creams'
I know what not to eat if I am suffering from PCOD.
Eat to lose weight because weight loss is the treatment for PCOD. Include plenty of fruits and vegetables (not the starchy type). Include high-fibre, low-glycameic index cereals such as jowar/bajra/ragi. Increase your protein intake. Include pulses and skimmed milk products/egg whites/chicken/fish. Start exercising; it is very important!
Please tell me if eating chicken and prawn is good or bad for health?
Anything is moderation is good; anything in excess is harmful. So have non-vegetarian food once in day. Stick to lean meat such as chicken and fish and seafood. If you have high cholesterol levels, keep the sea food intake low.
Since cooking oils are the most debated in terms of fat quantity what should one keep in mind while choosing one?
Use a combination of oils to meet the varied requirements of the body. Therefore the best way to do that would be use blended oil that will give you the goodness of a variety and also oil which has a high concentration of antioxidants.
I am 64 years old and stay at home. Previously I used to be very active but not anymore. What is the best diet for me? I am a non-veg person.
Since your physical activity has come down, you need to cut down on your calories to prevent weight gain. Please include fruits, vegetables, whole grains and the right kind of fat in the form of nuts. Use a cooking oil, which is loaded with antioxidants; it will also help you delay the ageing process and will help avoid empty calories.
What kind of cooking oils should I use?
Since no cooking oil meets all the dietary requirements, it is best to use a combination of cooking oils use blended oils, which give you the goodness of more than one oil and which has good amount of antioxidants, especially in view of our cooking methods where the oil is heated to high temperatures
I am 48 years old. My weight is 93 kg. I have hypertension. Please advise the diet I have to follow to reduce my weight.
Start with an aim of 10 per cent weight-loss. It will have positive effects on your blood pressure.
Have small and frequent meals -- three meals a day and 2-3 snacks in-between meals. Avoid fried foods, cakes, chocolates, mitahis and ice-creams. Reduce your slat intake and avoid papads, pickle, cheese, sauces and processed foods. Take plenty of fruits and vegetables and start exercising, especially cardiovascular activity
With constant juggle between my professional, social, family and personal lives I end up neglecting my own well being and leading to a lot of stress. Any quick suggestions on what to eat to reduce stress?
This is a common story amongst working women. Do not skip meals especially your breakfast; Plan your meals; drink plenty of water throughout the day and take time out for some physical activity -- it is a great stress buster. Most importantly get good 6-8 hours of sleep. Have camomile tea and wholegrain products, which help maintain sugar levels and help to reduce stress. Flaxseeds and walnuts will also help.
Image: Ice-creams besides fried foods, cakes, chocolates and mitahis are a taboo
Photographs: Sucheta Das/Reuters