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Saina Nehwal - Healthy Diet And Determination Won Her The Bronze

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Saina Nehwal

22 year old Saina Nehwal, became the first Indian to win a medal in badminton at the Olympics. This young athlete believes that a a lot of hard work and a well balanced, healthy diet helped her achieve this victory. For female badminton players, it is essential that they consume plenty of calories from all macro nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins and fats. The right diet to be followed by elite badminton players like Saina Nehwal is discussed in the blog below.




High Carbohydrate, Moderate Protein Diet


Macro nutrients for athletes

To help fuel the muscles, a carbohydrate rich diet that has moderate protein and a low fat content is advised. This helps the player perform his/ her best at each game as they need a minimum of 3000 calories a day for all the vigorous hours of practice and training.  Vitamins, minerals and fluids are also vital and must be present in balanced amounts on a daily basis. Popular low carbohydrate and high protein diets are not recommended by experts for a badminton player. 



Ideal Diet For A Badminton Player


Carbohydrate rich rice

  • Carbohydrates- No athlete will last even 30 minutes in a game without adequate intake of carbohydrates, which is the main source of glucose for all the cells in the body. More than half of the food consumed in a day should be in the form of complex carbohydrates such as cereals, breads and pastas. It is important to choose unrefined ones that are high in fiber. Starchy fruits and vegetables like potatoes and bananas are also important contributors of carbohydrates in the diet. This is needed to build glycogen reserves, which is very important on match day.



  • Proteins- A moderate intake of protein is sufficient to heal any muscle injury that occurs after the game. Proteins also help to build the muscles and keep them strong. A badminton player must refrain from taking too much protein as it can cause undue stress on the kidneys. Badminton players need only marginally high levels over the normal intake. 1- 1.2 g of good quality protein is ideal for an athlete and it should always be combined with carbohydrates for the best results. Lean meat, dairy and eggs are good animal sources. Pulses and beans are other options for vegetarians that can help an athlete get the required amount of protein for going lean. 


Olive Oil

  • Fats- They are important source of concentrated calories and hence a low fat diet is advised for badminton players. Too much dietary fat will cause weight gain which may impair peak performance. Margarine and lard are fats that are to be avoided as they are harmful for the heart and the health. Unsaturated fatty acids that are present in vegetable oils must be ideally used. These include olive, canola, safflower, sunflower and rice bran oil.


Energy drinks

  • Fluids- The aim for a player is to be well hydrated and drink just the right amount of fluids. Too little or too much can be a problem. The player should drink small sips of water before, during and after a game in order to play well. Energy drinks that contain electrolytes such as sodium and potassium are recommended.


Saina Nehwal's Diet Plan


  • Saina lost 5 kgs to become fitter and leaner in preparation of the Olympics game. To achieve this, she gave up all foods that were high in carbs and starch. This included all oily and junk food that give only empty calories.


  • She loaded herself with proteins mainly from non veg sources. Eggs and milk were her choices for a high protein breakfast and lunch mainly comprised of chicken that was steamed or boiled. This aids to accelerate repair and growth of the muscles that get strained due to physical activity. Proteins helped Saina become lean and lose weight.



  • She rarely indulges in ice creams and other sweet as she is very disciplined about her diet. Only after wining the bronze did she feast on pizzas, pastas and other fatty food.



  • She also drinks plenty of fluids to hydrate herself on a daily basis. On match days she takes small sips of water as and when she requires it.



Saina Nehwal surely did India proud by winning the bronze in the 2012 London Olympics. All credits go to her dedication and change in diet, that helped her perform so well.   


Image Credit thesainanehwalifood.tvgtfcyouth



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Saina Nehwal - Healthy Diet And Determination Won Her The Bronze