The modern-day healthcare industry talks extensively about losing weight and explains various ways to do so. However, it is vital to understand the importance of maintaining a healthy weight for your physical and mental well-being. Like excess body weight, we must also understand the detrimental effects of being underweight. Data suggests that one in five middle-aged and older adults in India is underweight.
As per research, being underweight leads to a greater risk of certain health conditions, including malnutrition, osteoporosis, decreased muscle strength, hypothermia and lowered immunity. It also shortens the lifespan of an individual. Furthermore, underweight women have less chance of becoming pregnant than women who are a healthy weight.
Gaining weight follows the same calorie-counting principle as weight loss. So, if you have to lose weight, you must consume fewer calories than you burn. Similarly, you must consume more calories than you burn if you want to gain weight. However, it does not mean that you must eat anything you like. Instead, you should balance your meals, include all essential nutrients, and follow a healthy lifestyle. For example, eating fatty, fried foods regularly is meaningless when trying to gain weight just because you can consume more calories. Consuming a balanced meal with a healthy lifestyle is vital for healthy weight gain.
The HealthifyMe Note
Like calories have a massive role in losing weight, it is vital to consider them while planning your weight gain strategy. Of course, you should consume more calories than you burn, but how you consume your calories is crucial. It means that you must not overeat unhealthy foods to compensate for the number of calories you have to consume. Instead, it is essential to be mindful of what you are eating.
Healthy Weight Gain: Essential Nutrients to Consume
Since the primary strategy for weight gain involves being on a calorie surplus, it is something you can also aim for. You can consume 300 to 500 more calories than your regular daily consumption. For example, you usually consume around 1500 calories daily, so your goal should be to take approximately 1800 calories daily. In addition, it is generally a good idea to increase the number of your meals rather than increasing your portion size by a significant amount. However, several other nutrients need to become a holy grail in your diet to gain weight.
Below are some nutrients you must incorporate into your diet to gain weight healthily.
High-protein foods can help you build and repair muscles. A protein-filled diet can increase muscle mass easily if accompanied by regular strength training. In addition, it leads to weight gain since it strengthens and grows muscle mass. It might resultantly help you look fit and toned while gaining weight simultaneously.
The best way to incorporate protein into your regular diet is to start with lean meats if you are a non-vegetarian. It includes everything from chicken and turkey to fish and pork. If you are not a meat eater, you can always opt for substitutes like eggs, nuts, and tofu. The point is to avoid fattier cuts of meat like steak and sausage because those can lead to unhealthy weight gain.
The most significant confusion in planning your meals occurs when you choose fats. For most people, fats are the unhealthy nutrients you find in junk food or desserts. However, a less-known fact is that eating foods rich in healthy fats can lead to significant and healthy weight gain. It is because fatty foods usually have more calories in one gram than either carbohydrates or protein.
So, foods high in unsaturated fat and low in saturated fat are suitable options for you to consume. However, you must remember that too much saturated fat is harmful. So, the correct way to add healthy fats to your diet would be to consume foods like peanut butter, avocados, fish and olive oil.
Carbohydrates can be simple or complex. This distinction often refers to the amount of sugar present in the food. Complex carbohydrates can help you gain weight mainly because they are higher in calories while maintaining a good amount of vitamins and minerals that many refined carbohydrates contain. Therefore, it would be a good idea to incorporate foods like whole grain bread, cereal, pasta, and brown rice accompanied by some starchy vegetables into your diet.
Foods with natural sugars like fructose and lactose can help you gain weight. Fructose is a form of natural sugar that you get from fruits. Like fructose, lactose is a form of natural sugar found in dairy products. These forms of natural sugar can give you the energy to function while preventing unhealthy weight gain. Moreover, natural sugar is healthier than refined sugars, like those found in high amounts in soft drinks and candy, which can lead to unhealthy weight gain.
The HealthifyMe Expert’s Take
Eating balanced meals comprising all essential nutrients and minerals is vital for gaining or maintaining a healthy weight. However, it becomes even more critical if you are underweight or just need some help gaining weight. In that case, it is vital to highlight some nutrients that can help you to do so while holistically improving your lifestyle. So, adding foods rich in these nutrients can bring you closer to your weight gain goal.