Fitness Q&A: Five super foods to recharge

Fitness expert, Namita Jain answers readers’ questions on fitness. Get your doubts cleared and see them featured on our FAQ page every Thursday.

This week’s answers:

1. My daughter is 15 years old. She has belly fat and has recently been diagnosed with mild hypothyroid. We are strict vegetarians. She plays competitive tennis and goes to gym atleast 4 hours per week at the minimum. I am not able to see her reduce her weight nor reduce belly fat. This has started causing a minor hinderance to her tennis program.
I would very much appreciate if you can suggest what can be done moving forward.


Here are some suggestions:

· Set a scheduled eating pattern
Eating erratically affects the metabolism adversely. Set regular times for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

§ Check her weight weekly
When you weigh her regularly, you know when she has gained weight. These weekly checks will help her get back on track.

§ She should eat slowly and sensibly
The faster she eats, the more she will consume. This results in increased storage of fat. She must eat slowly, sensibly and at regular intervals – and consume foods that are low in fat.

§ Lead an active life
It is important to increase activity levels whenever possible. For example; take the stairs instead of the elevator, walk when possible instead of driving – her mind and body should be active to avoid lethargy from setting into her routine. Nothing is worse than that for slowing down the metabolic rate.

§ Build muscle
She can increase her metabolism by adding strength training to her workout.
Good choices include weight bearing exercises like push-ups, sit-ups or squats.

§ Include cardiovascular exercise
She can include some sort of aerobic exercise such as walking, jogging or swimming three days a week, for 30 minutes. Metabolic rates can increase up to 25-percent after a aerobic workout. This form of exercise will also help improve the digestive system and decrease levels of body fat. Good choices include walking, swimming and cycling.

2. Hi, Namita Jain. My age is 25 yrs i am a male. I want to lose weight and my eight at present is 87 kg’s & i am a vegetarian as well as non vegetarian.
I consume 5-6 cups of coffee in a day and take 2 cheese toast for breakfast followed by a glass of fresh orange juice and for lunch i mostly eat dal n roti and i avoid vegetables the same applies for my dinner as mentioned above about my lunch in my routine.
I want to lose 17 kilograms as soon as possible. So could you please help me out by mailing me the best possible diet plan for about a month which would make me lose my weight quite fast in vegetarian & non vegetarian.
It’s really very urgent so plz revert back as soon as possible.

Arjun Gupta

Diet chart

2 idlis and sambhar
1 bowl grapefruit/ papaya
1 cup coffee or tea

1 Apple
1 coconut water

1 serving mixed veggie salad
2 rotis or I cup rice
1 cup green vegetables
1 cup dal or curds

2 non-cream biscuits
1 cup coffee or tea

1 coconut water or herbal tea

Late evening
1 cup roasted savoury such as popcorn (without oil or butter)

Vegetable soup with whole wheat croutons (toasted)
1 cup mixed vegetables
2 rotis or I cup rice
1 cup dal or curds

3. Dear madam, what is the difference between core training and abs?

Training the abs is a part of core training; core training includes training of abs, the back and the hips.

4. Hi, I am a regular swimmer but have not learnt it from a coach. Will this affect the benefits that I can get from swimming?

When you learn swimming from a coach, you learn good technique and form. Swimming, like any other sport involves exercising the arms, and legs in a skilled manner. Learning strokes with proper form will make you ‘very good at swimming’, rather than just ‘good’ or ‘average’ at swimming.

5. I always feel drained out after I workout in the morning. Please suggest a suitable foods to keep me running through the day.
A dip in energy levels is a common complaint when you spend long hours at work. Here is a list of five super foods guaranteed to recharge your batteries and supply you with an energy boost.

1. BANANA – a high-energy fruit that will fill you up

Bananas are good for the nerves and muscles, and enhance functioning of the immune system. Rich in potassium and sugar, they provide the body with nourishment and instant energy.

Do you know? A large banana has about 100 calories. It is richer in solids and lower in water content than most fresh fruits. It provides quick recovery from fatigue.

Tip: Put the bananas, milk and water in a blender. Add the honey and whizz again until your smoothie is smooth and frothy.

2. FIGS – a high-fibre snack

Rich in iron and calcium, figs improve blood quality and build strong bones.

Interesting fact: Figs help to balance acidic conditions that result from a diet rich in meat and refined food.

Tip: Add chopped fresh or dried figs to your breakfast cereal, the fibre will fill you up and energize you through the day.

3. ALMONDS – the king of nuts
In comparison to all nuts, almonds have the highest calcium and fiber content. They are called the king of nuts, because of their high nutritional value.

Think one handful, not bowlfuls. Limit your intake; eating too much will result in weight gain.

Tip: Add sliced almonds to your fruit or cereal bowl.

4. SPROUTS – super, energy- enhancing foods

Filling and low in calories, sprouting increases valuable amino acid (protein)
content. Popular sprouts are mung, alfalfa, kidney beans and chickpeas.

Tip: Add in sandwiches and salads.

5. YOGURT – cooling and filling
Yogurt is a delicious filling snack that now comes in an array of flavors. It contains probiotics which are responsible for several activities in the gut, such as producing lactase and improving digestive tract function.
Yogurt boosts your immune system, so if you’re hungry, just grab some yogurt!
Tip: It tastes delicious with fresh fruit and honey.

Namita is a Clinical Exercise Specialist and Lifestyle & Weight Management Consultant. She is currently attached to Bombay Hospital as their clinical and wellness specialist.

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