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Underweight? Here's how to gain weight the healthy way

Just like losing weight is tough, gaining weight can be challenging too.

Person on a scale

A healthy person will have a BMI ranging from 18.5 to 24.9. But an underweight person will have a BMI below 18.5 and will be prone to some health risks like the development of diseases classified as civilization diseases, such as diabetes, stroke, atherosclerosis, hypertension and nutrition disorders.

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An underweight person will be thin and deficient in many necessary vitamins and minerals which will lead to a weak immune system and a higher risk of infections. They will also feel tired and nauseated most of the time.

So, if you fall under this category then you are right to think about gaining weight. That will make you healthier and much more in control of your body.

It is important that when you are on a weight gain journey, you are gaining weight through muscle mass instead of fats.

Here's how to gain weight healthily:

  • Increase the number of meals

If you are underweight, it is highly probable that you have a small appetite and maybe eat only one or two proper meals a day. This will need to be changed. If you have a small appetite that is fine but you need to increase the frequency of your meals. Eat small portions but eat 5-6 meals a day. 3 can proper huge meals and then you can snack in between them. According to a 2017 study published in PubMed Central, an increase in eating frequency is bound to lead to weight gain.

  • Protein and carbohydrate-rich diet

Protein is known to promote muscle growth. A healthy intake of protein-rich foods will make a huge difference on your weight and what you will gain will not be fats. Foods like eggs, meat, fish, lentils, legumes, etc. are extremely rich sources of protein. Also including dairy products like yoghurt and carbohydrate-rich foods like potatoes in your diet will help you.

  • Exercise

When looking to gain weight, it is best to stick to weight training. Exercising with barbells and dumbbells will lead to muscle gain and hence promote healthy weight gain. A 2011 study shows that 3-5 times of weight training per week leads to a significant weight gain.

  • Sleep

The usual recommended hours of sleep is 6-8 hours. But a 2011 study claims that sleeping less than 6 hours or more than 8 hours can help you gain weight. Again, if this practice is healthy or not remains debatable but participants of the study showed an increase in their weight by following this method too.

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