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When Virat Kohli spoke about turning vegetarian due to a health issue: ‘I felt amazing…’ | Food-wine News


Virat Kohli is reigning the cricketing world with his incredible performance as the ultimate finisher of the game. A large part of the ace cricketer’s efforts has been his physical fitness and his push towards a healthy diet. Recall that in 2018, he turned vegetarian owing to a concerning health issue. In multiple conversations including with former England batsman Kevin Pietersen in 2020, Kohli opened up about the back issue and his impending switch.

“Left eating meat just before the England Test series. In 2018, when we went to South Africa, I had a cervical spine issue while playing a test match. It compressed a nerve that was running straight to the little finger of my right hand. It gave me a tingling sensation and I could barely feel my little finger. I could not sleep at night and it was hurting like mad,” Kohli said in the Instagram Live session in 2020.

“Then I got my tests done and my stomach was too acidic and my body was too acidic, creating too much uric acid. Even though I was taking calcium and magnesium, everything but one tablet was not sufficient for my body to function properly. So, my stomach started pulling calcium from my bones and my bones got weaker. That is why I stopped eating meat completely in the middle of England tour to cut down the uric acid and I have never felt better in my life, to be honest,” he added.

Kohli also shared that his energy levels were better and improved. “I felt amazing, it is almost two years now and it is the best decision I have taken… it made me feel why I didn’t do it before,” he said then.

protein Vegetarian diet requires careful planning to meet the protein requirements (Source: Freepik)

Taking a leaf out of Kohli’s switch to vegetarianism, here’s experts’ take on how it benefits.

Festive offer

Vegetarian diets can be rich in calcium, which is crucial for bone health. Foods like leafy greens, fortified plant-based milk, and tofu can provide calcium without the need for dairy products, said Dr Santosh Pandey, acupuncturist and naturopath, Rejua Energy Center, Mumbai.

A balanced vegetarian or plant-based diet, with careful attention to macronutrients, offers several advantages, said Suvidhi Jain, lifestyle, exercise, and nutrition coach and founder – LEAN by Suvidhi. “These diets are rich in essential nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which support overall health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. The inclusion of plant-based foods, especially greens, boosts fibre intake, enhancing gut health and aiding digestion,” said Jain.

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Reduced saturated fat intake in these diets can lower cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of heart disease, and they are often lower in calories, aiding weight management and obesity prevention, added Jain. “A vegetarian diet, particularly one that includes potassium-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension,” said Dr Pandey.

What to keep in mind?

It is important to note that while vegetarian diets offer numerous health benefits, they require careful planning to ensure adequate intake of essential nutrients, such as protein, iron, vitamin B12, and omega-3 fatty acids. “A well-balanced and varied vegetarian diet can provide all the necessary nutrients for overall health and well-being,” said Dr Pandey.

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