According to the World Health Organization, 462 million adults worldwide are underweight. This is a cause for concern as it can affect your health and lead to complications in the long run.
We have all read and heard about the risks of being overweight or obese. But did you know that being underweight is also not good for you?
If you are underweight and want to increase your weight at home, there is only one way to do it – the healthy way!
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Gaining weight can be a time-consuming process. You need to aim at gaining weight in a healthy manner and not just gorge on junk. Here’s what you need to do.
Following a diet that is high in carbohydrates and fats is one of the best ways to gain weight healthily. While carbs provide energy, healthy fats are calorie dense. Together, they gradually increase weight.
Some healthy sources of carbs and fats are:
Theoretically, eating an additional 500 calories every day increases your weight by a pound in one week. So, eat more calorie- and nutrient-dense foods through the day in the form of heavy meals and snacks. You can either increase the portion sizes or eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Avoid eating empty calories that do not provide any nourishment.
You can increase your calorie intake by adding nuts, seeds, or cheese as toppings in your meal. Below are some more snack options to increase your calorie count:
This is the most important nutrient required for weight gain. Your muscle is mainly made up of protein, so eating enough protein helps you gain healthy muscle weight instead of fat.
The ideal protein intake for an underweight person should be between 1.5 grams to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight. A study shows that when you follow a high-protein diet, most of the excess calories get stored in your muscle.
Some protein-rich foods include:
It is important to ensure that you lift weights at the gym or play a sport to improve your physical strength and avoid letting the excess calories in your body turn into fat.
Head to the gym at least 4 to 5 times a week to increase your muscle mass. Focus mainly on strength training instead of spending a lot of time doing cardio.
Cardio is great for a healthy heart, but it also burns a lot of calories and doesn’t work much in your favor if you are underweight.
Drinking water has been synonymous with weight loss since it helps to reduce the amount of food being consumed. Hence, do not drink water before meals or with meals as it makes you feel full. Drinking water does not help you to gain weight but prevents dehydration and flushes out toxins from the body. You can include protein smoothies in your diet to stay hydrated as well as gain healthy weight.
But some doctors claim that drinking excess water can also lead to weight gain. They believe that the body can only flush out a limited amount of water. If you drink more water than the body can handle, it gets stored in the body and causes weight gain in the form of water weight.
This is one of the easiest and most pocket-friendly ways to add calories and starch to your diet. Consumption of excess potatoes has been associated with long-term weight gain.
As potatoes have a high glycemic index and may spike your blood sugar levels if consumed on a daily basis, you can sometimes substitute potato with sweet potato. Though sweet potatoes are high in fiber and resistant starch, which aid weight loss, proper cooking and preparation can help you put on a few pounds.
Prepare sweet potato mash with butter or cheese and add some meat to make a well balanced carb-protein snack.
You can add mashed potatoes as a side dish to your meal or eat a baked potato as a snack. Here’s a delicious baked potato recipe that you can have for dinner (increase portion size as needed).
You can eat potato every day if you want. Try to have it in different forms each time. This recipe can be followed 2 to 3 times a week for weight gain.
Consuming dry fruits, nuts, and seeds is an excellent way to gain weight gradually. A health guide from the University of Colorado suggests that nuts, nut butters, and dried fruits (like dates, apricots, prunes) are good sources of protein, vitamin E, and monounsaturated fats and should be added to meals and snacks for a boost in nutrient and calorie intake (5).
You can add chopped dry fruits as toppings in several dishes or make nut butter to spread over bread. Below is a fool-proof and easy way to create nut butter with any dry fruit you like.
Home-made nut butters can stay in the refrigerator for up to one month. You can consume this with whole grain bread or toast every day.
Ashwagandha works better than a few weight gain supplements since it is Ayurvedic and does not cause any harm to the body. Studies also state that it works by significantly increasing muscle mass and strength. Even after discontinuing or decreasing the use of this powder, your body will retain its muscle mass for a long time.
Note: Make sure you consult your doctor before using ashwagandha.
You must consume ashwagandha powder with milk 1-2 times a day for about a month to notice visible changes in your body.
Ginger is known to stimulate your appetite. Eating ginger before a meal gets the digestive juices flowing. This can help you eat larger portions and aids better digestion and absorption of nutrients.
You can consume a small piece of ginger 1-2 times every day.
Chamomile tea is known to have appetite stimulating properties. It is also known to calm and relax your nerves. These facts do not have scientific backing yet, but this remedy has been used by people for years and has proved to be quite beneficial.
You can drink chamomile tea 1-2 times daily, an hour before meals, or just before bedtime.
Milk has been traditionally used as a method to gain weight and muscle for years. It is not only calorie dense, but it also has a good amount of protein, good fats, calcium, vitamins, and minerals. It has a combination of both casein and whey proteins that help to build muscle. Studies have shown that muscle mass increases when you combine drinking milk and weightlifting exercises
1-2 glasses of warm milk
You can drink about one to two glasses of milk per day. Try not to consume more than two glasses every day.
Try any or a combination of the above methods to gain weight. Below are a few tips that can help you.
Here are a few precautions you need to keep in mind.
Follow the above remedies and tips diligently, and you will surely gain weight the healthy way. Do you know any other methods to gain weight? Share them with us in the comments below.
How long does it take to notice weight gain?
This differs from person to person. It can usually take a few days or up to a week or two to see any visible results.
Why overeating doesn’t make you fat?
It is not overeating that makes you fat, but it is eating the wrong or bad kind of calories that become toxic and lead to weight gain.
Is it bad to lose weight too quickly?
Yes, it is. Losing weight too quickly promotes a lot of health risks since crash diets are low in nutrients. Also, when you stop the crash diet, you put on more weight than you had before.
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