Try these Ayurvedic food combos to gain healthy weight
Do you often find yourself looking at your drumstick-thin wrists and wonder, “How can I gain weight?” No matter what or how much you eat it just never adds the pounds that you desperately wish for.
Is there any hope left for you?
This is going to be the bible for our skinny pals consisting of amazing remedies for weight gain. If you want to gain weight naturally at home without the side effects of health supplements, read on!
How to know if you are underweight?
Calculating BMI (body mass index) is the quickest way to find whether you are underweight or overweight. It is calculated by dividing your height by weight as kg/m² or lbs/in².
If the BMI is 18.5-24.9, it is considered a healthy weight compared to your height, if it is 18-18.5 you are thin and >18 is considered as underweight.
What determines your bodyweight?
Ayurveda sees every person as a unique individual with a specific body type. This body type is determined by their inherently dominated body energies or Doshas namely Vata, Pitta and Kapha.
All these body types have a different set of attributes when it comes to body size and nature, behaviour, metabolism and appetite.
What causes being underweight?
Apart from the unique body constitution, there are several other factors that could be affecting your ability to gain weight.
- Malnutrition – Malnutrition can cause unexplained weight loss, reduce body mass index that can leave you feeling tired and weak.
- Hyperthyroidism – In this condition, the body overproduces thyroid hormone which increases body metabolism and burns fat faster. Hyperthyroidism can lead to unexpected weight loss.
- Depression and Stress – Our thoughts have a far greater impact on our health than we think. Recent research shows depression to be the underlying cause of weight loss in 7% of the participants. Mental health can be an important factor that affects your health and weight.
- Genetics – If your parents are lean you’re likely to inherit their skinny structure.
- Vata Predominance – Vata people tend to be lean and thin. Since their catabolism is higher than anabolism, they tend to lose weight easier than they gain it.
Is being underweight really an issue?
Although it is widely presumed that being skinny is better than being overweight, that’s not quite true. If your weight deviates from a healthy BMI spectrum of 18.5-24.9 then you are likely to develop various health issues over time.
Health risks of being underweight
A research published in 2016 claims that being underweight leads to higher risks of low bone density or osteoporosis that causes brittle bones.
Being underweight is associated with the aggravation of Vata. Dryness, weakness and other health-related problems increase the risks of infertility due to aggravated Vata Dosha.
If you are underweight you are more likely to be malnourished too. Improper nutrition can cause various deficiencies in the body like anaemia.
Poor Agni or Digestive Fire
Poor digestion may be the reason why you can not gain weight even after eating the most nutritious diet. It also causes the accumulation of body toxins or Ama that deteriorates health and prevents you from bulking up.
Weak Immune System
Your ability to fight disease is adversely affected if your weight is not healthy.
Malnutrition and malabsorption are observed to inhibit growth in children which leads to an underdeveloped body and brain.
The most visible sign of cancer is unexpected weight loss. Your body fights against cancer cells that cause the loss of muscle mass.
It is advised to get immediate medical help or consult an Ayurvedic expert/dietician instead of self-diagnosis if you have major health issues that are causing a sudden weight loss.
Diet for Weight Gain
Healthy food is the best medicine available to humans. In Ayurveda herbs and other foods are categorized according to their guna and properties and how they interact with the body energies or Tridosha.
A dosha specific diet is a great way of balancing doshas and preventing health issues.
5 Natural Food Combos for Weight Gain
Ghee (clarified butter) with warm milk
Ghee and Milk combo is an elixir that has numerous health benefits. It is calorie-packed and fat-rich and a wonderful remedy for skinny people trying to gain a healthy weight.
As per Ayurveda, ghee is an excellent remedy for pacifying aggravated Vata dosha that causes being underweight.
Ashwagandha with Milk
Ashwagandha and Milk combo is highly beneficial in nourishing the body, building strength and improving immunity. Ashwagandha relieves stress with its antidepressant properties.
The most amazing benefit of Ashwagandha is that it stimulates Agni and increases appetite thus helping thin people gain weight.
Honey with Milk
Honey is known for its healing and detoxifying properties. It acts as a catalyst that multiplies the gunas of the food that it is added to. This is why fat-rich milk and honey is great home remedy to gain weight.
Warning: Heated honey becomes toxic due to the release of a chemical called HMF. So avoid hot milk with honey at all costs.
Triphala is a three-herb combo of Amla, Baheda and Harada. As per Ayurveda, it is an amazing health-boosting tonic. It purifies the blood with its outstanding detoxifying properties. It is one of the best remedies for weight gain.
It is also a natural laxative that aids digestion and stimulates hunger. Triphala is beneficial in both losing excess weight and gaining healthy weight.
Shatavari boosts the immune system, improves mood, builds stamina and reduces tension. It calms the nervous system which helps in stabilising the Vata’s anxiety causing energies.
Shatavari ensures a relaxed good night’s sleep which is essential for body healing and weight gain.
Things to Avoid for Faster Weight Gain
Fruit Milk Shakes
Although fruit milkshakes, like banana shakes, are very popular in today’s fitness regimen, Ayurveda advises to not mix them. Fruits and milk are incompatible due to their contrasting properties.
Incompatible foods can disrupt digestion, cause acidity, and heartburn.
Drinking Cold Water
Agni plays a crucial role in triggering appetite and digesting food. Drinking cold water diminishes digestive fire or Agni. Also, avoid gulping water before meals to maintain healthy digestion and nutrient absorption.
Deep uninterrupted sleep is important for restoring health but avoiding oversleeping. Sleeping slows down your metabolism and decreases hunger.
You want to keep your body active so that it can consume more food and is also able to digest efficiently.
Things to remember
Being underweight can be directly related to your diet and lifestyle choices. Ayurveda’s natural remedies for weight gain can help you maintain your desired weight if you follow the right regimen based on your dosha type.
Do not follow eating trends blindly as some food combos can be detrimental to your health despite being popular remedies for weight gain. Proper digestion is the key to healthy weight gain in the absence of which even highly nutritious food can’t help you.
Keep your Doshas in check, exercise regularly and choose a suitable diet for the best results.
Have a happy weight gain journey!
Why am I so skinny even though I eat a lot?
The most common reason, in this case, is catabolism being higher than anabolism. It means that your body releases more energy by compound breakdown than it uses to create them.
Growth happens best when anabolism is greater than catabolism. Excessive physical or mental activities cut down fat. Another reason for staying skinny could be the predominance of Vata dosha. Vata people are hyperactive, thin and light.
You can balance Vata by adding heavy foods like ghee, butter, milk, yoghurt, and honey to gain weight easily.
How to gain weight at home?
First things first eat often, at least 5 meals a day. Have plenty of sleep. Your body is able to build and self-repair the best while you’re fast asleep.
Avoid junk food that contains unhealthy grease and choose healthy fat-rich foods instead like clarified butter, milk, dal, rice, potato, nuts, green veggies. You can also add flavour to them to help you eat more.
Exercise regularly to be able to process and transform the food that you’re munching on into muscles to increase your BMI.
I want to gain weight but I don’t feel hungry. What should I do to increase my appetite?
Those who want to gain weight but have unpredictable hunger can use herbs to kindle the digestive fire –
- Black Pepper
- Cumin Seeds
- Chilli and other hot spices
One reason for the lack of appetite is weak Agni that leads to constipation. You may need to detoxify your body with the help of fasting and try remedies for weight gain. This will give Agni enough time to start functioning efficiently and eliminate the accumulated Ama which increases hunger.
Can I gain weight in a week?
Yes, it is possible to gain weight in a short amount of time if you consume more calories than you burn. Exclude all foods that do not help in adding healthy weight to your body for example junk food, soda, coffee and energy drinks.
Wisely include nutrition-rich foods like wholewheat bread, cereals, fruits like bananas, chick-pea, sweets, paneer, cheese, etc.
But here’s a catch, you can not force this diet upon yourself. Your body isn’t a balloon that will swell up if you keep feeding it more in a week. In the worst case, this may lead to indigestion, diarrhoea and vomiting.
It is advised to gradually increase your diet over a period of a few weeks to begin to observe weight gain.
What is the best exercise for weight gain?
Pranayama has several positive effects on physical and mental health. This regulated breathing technique clears nerve blockages and improves blood circulation to the entire body and brain. Pranayama, Bhastrika, Aulom Vilom are excellent physical remedies for weight gain.
Doing Squats, push-ups and practising Yoga Asanas like Chakrasana, Dhanurasana and Vajrasana is an effective and easy way of building muscle mass at home.