6 supplements for athletes to enhance their performance

6 supplements for athletes to enhance their performance

By Neha Ranglani  on: 12 December 2014
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People who play sports need special nutrition to perform to their optimal level. Many sports enthusiasts depend on artificial supplements to enhance performance but are ignorant of what good food can actually do to their body. The main focus needs to be a good, balanced diet as per the sport they play which can be supplemented with supplements to help them perform better.

What is a supplement?

A supplement is something that is added to one’s diet, typically to make up for a nutritional deficiency but does not replace food. There are a host of supplements sold in the market with all possible claims but not all are useful. Nutritionist Neha Chandna lists out some useful supplements which can be taken by athletes.

Protein powders: Being the most popular supplements, there are many varieties of these in the market, the most popular one being whey protein. They come in various blends like concentrate, isolate, hydrolysed, etc. They are used by people who do weight training to help their broken muscles recover. They can also be taken by vegetarians to make up for the protein deficiency in their diets. A normal person needs 1 g/kg body weight protein/day whereas a sportsman may need 1.2-1.5 g/day depending on the sport they play.

Creatine: This is naturally produced by our kidneys and liver to give energy to our muscles. Creatine supplements can increase the total body mass and lean mass, improve performance in short-burst exercises like sprints, long jumps, 200 m running, basketball, football, etc. They also help weightlifters lift more weight, help in recovery and improve muscle strength. They do help in endurance activities like marathon, aerobics, etc.

The normal dose of creatine/day is 2-5 g. Creatine supplements are not recommended for anyone under 18 years of age as well as pregnant or breastfeeding women. Speak to a health professional before taking creatine supplements. Always read and follow the instructions on the package when taking it.

Caffeine: It is a natural stimulant found in tea, coffee and sports drinks in very high amounts. It helps you be awake, alert and improves endurance in athletes. It decreases perceived exertion during performance and may also increase fat burning during exercise. The recommended level of caffeine is not more than 400 mg/day (roughly 3 cups).

Branched chain Amino acid (BCAAs): They are made up of 3 amino acids – isoleucine, leucine and valine – which help improve muscle endurance and recovery and also boost immune system. The recommended dosage is between 3-5 g before and after training. 

Glutamine: This is an amino acid which prevents muscle breakdown and reduces the chances of infection in athletes by improving immunity. Research has also found that glutamine supplements can help maintain muscle mass by preventing protein breakdown and improving glycogen synthesis thereby increasing muscle glycogen stores. It also helps maintain gut health. The recommended intake of glutamine is 3-4 g/day.

Sports drinks: These contain large amounts of sugar and proportionate amounts of electrolytes which are needed by athletes who are into endurance sports like marathon runners as these athletes lose huge amount of water, sodium and potassium through sweat. You may benefit from sports drinks if you do heavy exercise or sports for more than 45 minutes at a time.



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Are vitamin supplements necessary?
12 December 2014
Ramesh started popping vitamin pills after watching a TV commercial. He was convinced that they were good for his health and helped him be more energetic throughout the day. He did not bother checking with a doctor before starting a course. Is Ramesh right about these pills? Do they really help in any way? Nutritionist Neha Chandna has the answers for us. When should one take vitamin supplements? Why are they needed? Today, we lead a very hectic life with loads of work pressure, long commutes and unhealthy foods. To be able to perform at our optimum level, we need to take vitamin supplements. These can be taken after meals. However, do consult your doctor and/or dietitian before doing so. Can’t one get that nutrition from natural sources? Natural source is the best way to get nutrition but unfortunately, the food we eat today is not pure like before, nor is our absorption power that strong. The stress and anxiety we go through in our day-to-day life affects our digestive system as well.  So, it’s best to supplement your diet with required vitamins to make up for the loss. (Read: Why amla is so great for your health) Can taking these supplements without consulting a doctor / dietician be harmful? It’s always better to consult a dietician or doctor before taking a supplement to be sure you are on the right track and you are taking only how much is required by your body. Blindly popping these pills may affect your health negatively. Usually, what are the common vitamin supplements that one should take? You can take a multivitamin mineral supplement B-Complex for energy Calcium for women above 30 years of age Vitamin E and C for immunity These are general ones but it changes depending on your food intake and other factors like health problems, lifestyle, age, etc. so let consult with a doctor before you start eating them. Points to Remember Vitamin supplements are not a replacement for your food. You still need to eat your meals on time; they only help in giving you more nutrients which may not be covered in your diet. Eating vitamin supplements does not give you the leeway to start eating unhealthy, junk food. They cannot provide adequate nutrition as they are just supplements. You still need to exercise to lose weight and stay fit. Do not overdo these pills. Anything in excess can be bad so stick to the prescribed amount. 
Healthy vegetarian recipe: Tandoori tofu
12 December 2014
Tofu which is made from curdled soybean milk is a nutritious ingredient. It is a great source of protein for vegetarians and a good substitute for paneer as well for vegans. Not to forget, it is low in carbs, diabetic-friendly and has zero cholesterol. Tofu is also an excellent source of iron which helps in the making of hemoglobin. Here is a recipe to use this ingredient well. Nutritionist Neha Chandna shares her tandoori tofu recipe with us.  Ingredients 100g firm tofu Pinch of cumin powder Pinch of turmeric Pinch of coriander powder Salt Pinch of red chilli flakes 1 garlic minced 1tsp lemon juice 1 tbsp spring onions and coriander leaves for garnish 1.5 tsp olive oil Method 1.      Pre-heat the grill. 2.      Combine salt, chilli flakes, turmeric, cumin and coriander powder. 3.      Heat oil in a pan and cook this masala mixture for a minute. 4.      Apply this mixture on both sides of the tofu with a brush. 5.      Grill it till the grill marks appear on the tofu. 6.      Serve with spring onion and coriander leaves. Image for representation purpose only.
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Dietitian Neha Chandna (Ranglani) has 8 years of experience in the field. Food and Health is the matter of interest for most of the people today and realizing the need to create awareness and spread the right information to the society, Neha decided to extensively educate herself in the field of nutrition. As a known fact that diet and exercise go hand in hand, She went a step ahead to certify herself as a REEBOK Aerobic instructor. One of the Most Famous & Online Nutritionists Dietitians in Mumbai (Khar west).Neha Chandna, a dietitian in Mumbai, is a university topper in Dietetics from S.V.T. She has worked as a nutritionist for reputed gyms and fitness trainers and as a consultant with doctors and physiotherapists. She deals with sportsmen, individuals who are obese or victims of lifestyle issues- to name a few- diabetes, thyroid, osteoporosis, PCOS etc. and active/exercising sector of society. She educates and conducts seminar/workshops for corporates like banks (HDFC & Standard Chartered Bank), BPOs and MNCs on the Right ways of eating and living. She also takes workshops on Nutrition in Pregnancy and Lactation. Neha Chandna also writes articles for magazines and newspapers like New Woman, Beauty and salon, Hello Mumbai, the afternoon etc. She has also done a couple of interviews for TV9 channel. She is an online consultant for a health social networking website www.ihealthu.com. Dietician Neha Chandna is one of the Best Dietician / nutritionist in Khar west , Mumbai.Neha Chandna is a Famous Nutritionist in Khar west & a famous nutritionist in Mumbai for weight loss diet chart and for other diet plan services. Popular dietcian in Mumbai. Consult her for best online Diet charts in Mumbai. 
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