Q&A With Mihira Khopkar | Get all your diet-related queries answered!

The 7th of April marked the occasion of World Health Day across the globe. To celebrate this day, Reliance Foundation Youth Sports introduced the ‘Wellness Wednesday’ series with Mihira Khopkar, Lead Sports Nutritionist at Sir H.N. Reliance Foundation Hospital. In this weekly series, we aim to create awareness and educate the audience about the importance of good nutrition and sport-specific diets in an athlete’s life.

To introduce the series, we asked our audience to share any questions/queries they had related to nutrition. Here's what Mihira has to say:

1. What is nutritious to eat this summer?

Summer is all about maintaining core body temperatures.Hydrate as much and as often as possible. Include ingredients such as coconut water, rose water, sabja seeds, buttermilk, jeera, raw mango or kairi, kokum sherbet in your drinks and include water dense fruits such as melons, kiwi etc in your everyday plan!

2. What should be included in a teen's diet to stay fit?

Teens are at an age where they need to balance adequate energy and protein for growth as well as training. Some might find it hard to eat too much, others might have a large appetite. Nutrition strategy needs to be tailored according to one’s individual needs but usually small frequent meals work best for both scenarios. Let each meal be a complete meal in itself with 40% of the plate filled with veggies / fruits, 25% with meat / eggs / dairy / pulses and 25% with good carb sources like millets, brown rice, millet bread, quinoa, and 10% with nuts and seeds!

3. What’s the best diet for injury prevention and injury recovery by improving immunity?

For increasing immunity, include a diet plan that is anti-inflammatory! It should focus on good fats such as Monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and Omega 3s through oily fish, nuts and seeds along with colourful fruits and veggies for Vitamin A. Citrus fruits such as amla, kiwi, oranges for Vitamin C. Pineapple and papaya contain bromelain for faster recovery, especially from a muscle injury. And most importantly, a diet that’s rich in protein!

4. What is an ideal pre-match meal for a player?

A pre-match meal broadly needs to be fast absorbing, should be low on fiber, low / no fat and should contain moderate protein. It could be divided into two sections, 3-4 hours before the match (rice and egg curry, dal-rice with curd, curd rice, tomato-based pasta with less veggies) and 30-45 minutes before the match (bananas, oranges, melons, chikoos, mangoes etc).

5. Should a person drink cold or warm water during a workout?

I’d always go with cold water. 100% cold water when the outside temperature is hot and humid but at least room temp on other days since exercise increases core body heat due to loss of water through sweat!

6. What is the best meal to eat for post-exercise breakfast?

Post exercise the main goal is to refuel, rehydrate and recover. Your breakfast should contain fresh seasonal fruits, good carbohydrates like oatmeal or Indian breakfast like poha, upma, paratha or dosa with good quality protein like eggs, chicken, paneer, milk, tofu or a whey protein supplement.

7. What should a weight loss diet plan include?

A fat loss diet is a combination of caloric changes as well as quality meal plan changes! Remember never to skip meals but instead make small quality changes such as increase overall protein intake as well fiber intake. This is why the incorporation of raw salads, steamed veggies, soups, whole fruits and good quality protein sources such as meat, poultry, dairy, soy along with pulses, sprouts are emphasized!

8. What is the best vegetarian diet for athletes?

A diet that comprises dairy products like milk, curd, paneer and soy items such as soy milk and tofu along with a good spread of lentils, dals and pulses is ideal. Always combine two plant sources to gather the best quality protein. For example, dal and rice together can provide all essential amino acids than dal alone!

We look forward to covering more diet-related topics and dietary recommendations to build a healthy and happy lifestyle in our weekly ‘Wellness Wednesday’ series. Stay tuned to our social media platforms!

*Disclaimer: All the mentioned dietary recommendations are not customised for any individual and are presented without any type of health assessment or knowledge of any individual health conditions. This is for education purposes only. Individual dietary requirements may vary, so please seek customised advice from a registered health professional to suit your individual goals.

Q&A With Mihira Khopkar | Get all your diet-related queries answered!

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