Nutrition Q&A: Foods that prevent dehydration

Nutrition and Dietetics expert, Parvathy Radhakrishnan answers readers’ questions on nutrition. Get your doubts cleared and see them featured on our FAQ page every Wednesday.
This week’s answers:

1. Dear Maam, i am diabetic for past 8 years. I am reading of late that we should go for low carb food. How is it possible in India? Pl help
Controlling diabetes is not only about lowering carbs but also about the type of carbs eaten. Both of this is achieved by making changes to your existing diet by cutting down on simple sugars, including only complex carbohydrates (whole grains, vegetables) and protein foods like dal, pulses, lean meat, nuts, fat free milk or curds. Thus, a balanced proportion of carbohydrates is got where the carbs do not exceed 50 to 55% of the total calories (unless you are extremely physically active in which case you may need a larger carb intake).

2. Hi. Please suggest suitable diet for my son who is 12 yrs old and a keen football player. He is drained out in summer and cant practice for more than 2 hours.
Planning a diet for your son is beyond the scope of this column but I can give you suggestions. Football is an endurance sport that uses up a lot of energy.
· Eat a main meal with sufficient proteins and carbohydrates but low in fat 3 hours before practice.
· Eat a carbohydrate snack just before going out to play, like a cup of steamed corn, sandwich or fruit.
· For every 45min of training replenish body with a banana. The high carbohydrate and mineral content, its ease to carry along and no mess in eating makes the humble banana a favourite among sportspeople.
· Water before, during and after exercise is important. The body should be well hydrated before the activity and during too.
· After the training eat a good meal high in protein to rebuild and repair the fatigued body.
· He may need a bedtime glass of milk and biscuits.
· The intense activity of more than 2 hours keeps the metabolic rate high for the next 24 hours. Therefore all the meals he eats should be nutritious starting from breakfast till bedtime.
· No fast foods or soft drinks on days of training as it dulls the performance

3. Hi Madam. What are the best foods to eat in summer to prevent dehydration?
Nothing like a lot of fresh seasonal fruits, green salads and refreshing unsugared drinks like buttermilk, fresh juices, and lots of water to hydrate one’s body. All carbohydrate foods that need cooking in water will rehydrate the body.
Avoid fried or fatty foods as they increase body heat.
When we sweat we lose not only water but also small amounts of minerals like sodium, potassium and calcium. Fresh juices like tomato or orange replenish the lost minerals sufficiently. Avoid heavily sugared drinks as they actually dehydrate and increase the thirst. Sports drinks like Gatorade help your body replenish the depleted minerals and water after a work out.

4. Hi Parvathy, i eat chaat foods once in a while. Will it increase my cholesterol? Right now my count is 3.9.
Eating chaat once in a while is perfectly all right.

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