Contributed by: Rachana Arya
For some people, gaining lean body weight can be just as difficult as losing weight is for others.
When done in a smart, healthful way, though, it won’t be too long before you hit the magic number on your scale.
Underweight is an overlooked phenomenon which is much less explored compared to those associated with overweight and obesity.
If you are underweight, it could be due to a variety of causes, including:
Underlying health problems
Effect of certain medicines
Excessive physical activity
There’s a lot of focus in the medical community on the health consequences of being overweight, but what about the effects of being underweight?
According to research, being underweight increases the risk of acquiring a variety of health problems. Keep reading to learn more about these risks, plus how you can find help.
Health risks of being underweight
Although being overweight is a better-known culprit of health issues, being underweight can also result in health problems.
There are various risks and complications associated with being underweight. These risks include:
Malnutrition, vitamin deficiencies, or anaemia
Increased risk for complications from surgery
Fertility issues and pregnancy loss
Growth and development issues in children
Loss of bone density
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
By making a few tweaks to your dietary habits, you can gain a healthy weight and avoid the negative health effects of being underweight.
Additionally, multiple lifestyle modifications are also independently associated with long-term weight gain.
Tips to add pounds healthfully
There are many foods and supplements available that help you to gain weight. Instead of wasting your time or money on “miraculous” powders, pills and products that claim to increase muscle mass, concentrate on a well-balanced diet, and frequent exercise.
Here are some of the best tips to help you gain weight or add muscle, in a healthy way.
Try eating smaller, more frequent meals every three to five hours. Add more snacks into your routine.
Stick with foods that are rich in nutrients, like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and lean proteins.
Consume calorie-rich beverages such as whole milk or cream, juice, shakes rather than water, tea, black coffee, and diet beverages that contain no calories.
Opt for homemade protein smoothies instead of ready-made protein supplements.
If drinks decrease your appetite, avoid drinking water or other fluids 30 minutes before meals to prevent you from feeling full.
Choose high-calorie foods that provide energy and build muscle mass like butter, salad dressings, mayonnaise, high-fat cheeses, beans, eggs, and full-fat yoghurt.
Exercise is important for your health, muscle strength, balance, and flexibility. Physical activity also helps to stimulate your appetite.
Avoid junk food like chips, sugary sodas, doughnuts, and candy. These will add pounds but not be the source of a healthy weight gain.
Try drinking two glasses of milk per day as it is a complete food because it is rich in all nutrients that are essential for our body.
Prepare your meals with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil or butter to add calories.
Red meat and fatty fish are a rich source of protein that helps to build your muscles and increase your weight.
Starch foods are a cost-effective and tasty option for quick weight gain. Foods such as potatoes and corn contain carbs and calories that increase muscle glycogen stores.
Rice is one of the most convenient sources of carbohydrates essential to gaining weight. It is also a calorie-dense food packed with nutrients and carbs that can facilitate the weight gain process. One cup of rice provides about 200 calories that contribute to gaining weight.
Dried fruits have a great potential in helping gain weight, as it contains various antioxidants, proteins, calories, and micronutrients. A handful of almonds, cashews or walnuts can be added to many meals, including salads for weight management. Seeds like sunflower seeds can be enjoyed as a healthy snacking option.
Ensure that you’re always hydrated and stick to your healthy, nutritious diet only.
An underweight person’s body lacks the nutrition necessary to keep bones, skin, hair, and other critical organs healthy.
Focus on getting enough nutrients — calories, vitamins, and minerals — for your body to work correctly
Also, by opting for regular health screenings, you can stay on top of your health condition and take preventive measures in the event that you are likely to get hit by a disease.
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