Knowing Nutrition

Posts tagged underweight

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Anonymous asked: Hi Tracey, I was wondering if you could help me.I was underweight for a while and lost my period, but now I'm back to a healthy weight and still don't have it.I'm 16, 5'1, and 108lbs. I'm also orthostatic, have a low protein count, and a low white blood cell count. To gain weight I had to eat 1800-2100 calories a day, and broken down i got 120-150g protein, 150-220carbs, and 45-60g fat. I was wondering if there is anything I can add to my diet to fix this without having to gain even more weight.

Hiya! :)

So I have done a bit of research on these topics, and I would stick with the above ratios of protein, carbs and fats, however it is the types of protein, carbs and fats that you choose that can have the greatest impact.

For protein choose fish (salmon and tuna are great), seafood and legumes; for carbs choose your wholegrains, a couple of pieces of fruit, and loads of veges; and for fat choose your omega-3s as much as possible (so fish oil, and oily fish like salmon).

It has been suggested that zinc can increase your white blood cell count so eating foods that are high in zinc, such as oysters, pumpkin and shitake mushrooms may help. I would also suggest taking a multivitamin specifically for female teenagers or women, just to be sure you are receiving adequate amounts of different vitamins and minerals.
The main aim should be to to get as many different nutrients in as possible in order to build your immune system back up.

For the orthostatic intolerance I found that drinking plenty of fluids and increasing your salt intake are ways of managing the symptoms.

For amenorrhea (loss of period) make sure you eat the amount of fat that is set out above, this will help to stimulate your estrogen production and eventually your period should come back. Also make sure you are getting enough calcium - the recommended dietary intake is 1,300mg per day - and get out in the sun for 15min a day to get your vitamin D. This is just to make sure your bones stay healthy and strong as amenorrhea can affect bone density.

It will take time for your body to recover, be persistant with your healthy eating habits, however if you are still concerned about these issues then definitely go and see you doctor :)

References:
WBC Livestrong
WBC2
Increase Protein
Orthostatic Intolerance
Amenorrhea

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