It’s no secret that unhealthy eating habits can ruin a person’s digestive system, their overall health and lifestyle. What to eat and what to avoid is the basis of how our body functions yet it’s one question we don’t know the answer to! That’s why understanding your nutrition is extremely important. To help you learn more about nutrition and exercise, we invited one of Pakistan’s most accomplished nutritionists, strength expert and celebrity fitness trainer, Mantahaa Tareen, at Mashion HQ. Here are all the tips and facts she shared with our readers.
1. Fastest Way To Lose Weight
Losing weight is hard as it is but shedding those pounds quickly is even tougher. Health experts around the world prefer slow and balanced diets to quick weight loss fixes. That’s because several studies prove crash diets to be unsustainable in the long-term. Whereas, when you lose weight gradually you can develop a habit of mindful eating, maintain a healthy lifestyle and stick to a healthy diet plan. Our expert isn’t a fan of crash diets either. But for those who want to drop pounds really fast, she recommends a detox plan and intermittent fasting.
2. The Ideal Calorie Intake
In dietary terms, calories are the amount of energy food provides. For our body to function properly, maintaining a balance of calories is very important. Consistently taking in more energy than you need will inevitably lead to weight gain, whereas taking in too little can backfire and your body can go into starvation mode. When trying to lose weight, the aim should be to consume fewer calories than you expend each day. According to Mantahaa, “The recommended daily amount of calorie intake for women is 2000 and for men, it’s 2500. For dieting purposes, I would say 1500. But don’t go lower than that and just increase your activity levels.”
3. Side Effects Of Keto Diet
The keto diet is the latest fad diet that everyone’s obsessing over and sure, it has worked wonders for many. But it’s not all a bed of roses. The keto diet is an extremely low-carb, high-fat diet that puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. This makes your body more efficient at burning fat. The strict diet plan guarantees quick weight loss, but is not considered a healthy or sustainable option and isn’t free of side effects. According to Mantahaa, there are four major side effects of keto diet:
- Hair fall
- Increase in your blood triglycerides level
- Increase in blood cholesterol
- Fat deposits that will remain for a long time after the diet
4. Water — The Ultimate Saviour
We already know this but staying hydrated is essential for your health. But it’s even important when working out! Exercising causes the body to lose water through sweat and not drinking enough water can lead to dehydration. To maintain hydration, fitness experts advise drinking water before, during and after exercise. Drinking water will also keep you from overeating after a rigorous workout session. Mantahaa urges everyone to never skip drinking water after a workout. “It cuts belly fat, helps in eating less and keeps you hydrated.” She recommends drinking five litres in the summer and three litres otherwise.
5. Best Foods For Weight Gain
Just like being overweight, being underweight can also be a result of poor nutrition. Some of the easiest ways to gain weight are by creating a calorie surplus, eating more frequently and eating the right foods. To gain weight the healthy way, our expert recommends consuming more whole wheat, buckwheat, oats, brown rice, fish, mutton, beef and protein. For the perfect meal plans, catered just for you, we recommend checking out Mantahaa’s food line, Nude Food.
6. The Must-Have Superfoods
While no single food can offer all the nutrition, health benefits and energy we need to nourish ourselves, there are some foods that can take care of most of our nutritional needs. These are called superfoods, and, according to many health experts, are the healthiest foods one can eat. According to Mantahaa, some of the must-have superfoods are those that include antioxidants such as matcha, acai berry and moringa. Some local and affordable sources of superfoods are plums, berries, falsas, almonds, as well as green tea.
7. The Power Of Pilates
From Syra Shahroz to Katrina Kaif, celebrities – as well as fitness enthusiasts – all over the world are huge fans of Pilates. Described as an art of controlled movements, Pilates offers several physical and mental health benefits. Mantahaa endorses Pilates and says, “It’s great for toning and sculpting. A lot of women have broad shoulders or broad thighs; Pilates can help shape their body. Along with this, Pilates reformer and Pilates mat are also great for your skin, great for your energy levels and it doesn’t make you overdo your workout.”
8. Effect Of Nutrition On Mental Health
Like the rest of your body, your brain also functions best when it gets the best fuel, which is the right nourishment. Eating well has always been associated with feeling good and certain foods can lift up your mood. To keep your mental health stable through your diet, our expert advises not to eat a lot of sugar as it causes crashes. “Instead, have lots of fruits, dark chocolate — which is excellent to combat mood swings, stay happy and get your hormones up by fitness.”
9. Go-To Diet And Workout Tips For PCOS
Due to the hormonal imbalance, insulin resistance and inflammation that PCOS causes, women with this disease have a harder time shedding weight. Since women with PCOS have higher insulin levels than normal, a diet high in refined carbohydrates, such as starchy and sugary foods, can lead to insulin resistance, and cause difficulty in controlling weight. For these women, Mantahaa recommends the following: no processed food, no processed flour, no sugar, more cardio (around 60%), strength and Pilates.
10. The Role Of Green Tea
Green tea has long been associated with several health benefits — thanks to its rich nutritional and antioxidant properties. But the biggest reason it’s popular is its alleged benefit of weight loss. While green tea may help boost the body’s metabolism, it alone cannot work wonders. According to Mantahaa, “The only side effect of green tea is dehydration, otherwise it’s very good for you. But it won’t help you lose weight. In order to shed those extra pounds, you’d need to cut your calorie count.”