Food Matters : Nutrition for Professionals

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Food Matters : Nutrition for Professionals

 Engulfed by the all-consuming corporate rat race, many professionals are neglecting their health and nutritional requirements.

 
--BY ASHIM NEUPANE
 
Burdened by hectic workplace routines, professionals are overlooking their nutrition intake, which gives rise to various health problems. According to Bhupal Baniya, a clinical nutritionist at Om Hospital and Research Centre, an inadequate diet intake often leads to reduced energy levels and a feeling of tiredness throughout the day. On many occasions, a poor diet leads to severe health problems such as mental stress, depression, diabetes and obesity, Baniya shares. A healthy diet and regular exercise are crucial elements that not only enhance one’s personal life but also increase productivity at work.
 
Case in point - Ram Shrestha of Thankot, who was struggling to lose body fat and stay fit. Despite his efforts, he was gaining weight regularly. Frustrated with his lifestyle, he consulted a local fitness trainer and started to follow the diet plan recommended by him. After strictly following the diet plan for a few months, Shrestha began to feel changes in his body; he was slowly losing body fat and getting fitter than before. Amazed with the changes, he started to work out, and the results were remarkable. Shrestha felt focused at work and says his stress levels have declined.
 
The importance of consuming copious amounts of water cannot be overstated. Drinking 500 ml of water after waking up in the morning helps improve metabolism, hydrates and cleans toxins from the body. 
 
An average adult body needs 50 to 60 percent of carbohydrates in a diet. However, people are consuming carbohydrate-rich steamed white rice, and less amount of food containing proteins, good fats, vitamins and minerals. An average body needs one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight, which means, you have to consume 70 grams of protein per day if you weigh 70 kilograms. Likewise, the average adult needs 20 to 25 percent of good fats.
 
“Often, lack of proper nutrition leads to stress, hypertension, diabetes, anxiety, among other health problems. Professionals should follow a balanced, healthy diet to stay focused at work,” Baniya says, adding low energy levels at work is often caused by a poor diet. 
 
Due to their busy schedule, the consumption of fruits and vegetables is minimal among professionals. Fruits have anti-oxidants, which helps reduce stress. Baniya suggests professionals carry some fruits like strawberry, orange, grapes, among others to the office and eat them after lunch.
 
According to Baniya, professionals stay hungry for long periods after breakfast and eat lunch late in the afternoon. “Staying hungry for more than three hours increases acidity, the chances of haemorrhoids (piles), anal fistula, thyroid, and diabetes will also be high,” he shares.
 
Meanwhile, professionals eat high-calorie refined wheat flour (Maida) food after a long gap of three to four hours. Consuming a lot of high-calorie food after being hungry for an extended period affects the metabolism. While people may feel satiated after eating high-calorie foods such as momo, chowmein, instant noodles, Baniya says these foods have little nutritional value so professionals may feel weak and dizzy at work.
 
An average male needs 2,500-2,700 kilo-calories (kcal) per day, and the average female requires 2,000-2,200 kcal per day. The calorie intake may vary according to the lifestyle. In addition, the calorie intake may vary on several factors like health, physical activities, height, weight, sex, body shape, among others. 
 
 
Calculating BMI and maintaining Calorie Intake   
Your body mass index, also called BMI, can help you determine your ideal calorie consumption per day. BMI can be calculated by dividing your weight in kilograms with your height in metres square. For example, if your weight is 70 kilograms and height is 1.73 metres, you have to square your height, which will be 2.99-metres square. Now, your BMI will be 70 kilograms divided by 2.99-metres square, which is 23.41 kilogram/metres square.
 
A persons whose BMI is under 18 is underweight, 18-25 is normal, 25-30 is overweight, and over 30 is obese.
 
An average female requires about 2000 calories per day to maintain her current weight, 2500 calories to gain weight, and 1500 calories to lose one pound of weight per week. An average male requires 2500 calories to maintain his current weight, 3000 calories to gain weight and 2000 to lose one pound of weight per week.
 
BMR Method
Baniya suggests the BMI method may not be suitable for professionals to maintain calorie intake. He suggests the professionals calculate their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) to maintain their calorie intake. BMR can be calculated by the following method:
 
Multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.9 if you are female and by 1 if you are male.
Multiply the number by 24
Multiply the number by the lean factor multiplier as per your body fat (Note: Visit the doctor to get an accurate body fat percentage, since online calculators may not deliver an exact figure. Lean factor and body fat are illustrated in the table below). The number is your BMR
Multiply BMR by activity level multiplier to know how much calorie is required
 
Baniya suggests companies to provide nutritional foods to employees to maintain their health. “The corporates should also monitor canteens. Canteens should prepare nutritional foods regularly. Salads and fruits should be on the menu of the canteens,” he suggests.
 
He further suggests that professionals visit nutritionists to maintain a healthy lifestyle. “Online suggestions may misguide people, and it may harm the body,” he advises. 
 
Suggestions from Baniya
Wake up early in the morning and drink 500 ml of water
Partake in physical activities (yoga/ workout/zumba/ jogging)
Eat breakfast at around 8-9 (milk, oats, corn flakes)
Eat lunch at about 12-1 (steamed rice, vegetables, lentil soup, salad, chicken, and fish)
Eat fruits and salad before leaving home from the office
Eat dinner at 7-8
Drink almost 3 litres of water daily
Quit smoking and alcohol

 

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