Vitamins are important in everyday life. You can get essential vitamins and minerals through food, but the problem is you have to measure your intake to know how much you are getting. You may also compromise one over the other without even knowing it.
Why We Need Vitamins
Vitamins support and enhance various metabolic reactions in the body. They ensure your body is working well, especially when you need them.
Did you know that vitamins could be your best friend when it comes to weight loss? In fact, eating a nutrient-rich diet is one of the best ways to lose weight by burning fat more efficiently, instead of storing it in your body in unwanted fat and unburned calories.
That’s not all. There are 13 essential vitamins needed by your body to ensure healthy physiological functioning. When your body doesn’t get one or more of these vitamins, it could lead to health issues, which could affect your weight.
Case in point: depression. A depressed state makes you more prone to overeating and less eager to exercise. There is also higher craving for fatty or high carbohydrate foods to “make you feel better.”
Although depression alone is not the main cause for weight gain, this condition could contribute to the need for certain vitamins and minerals, thereby affecting your weight and metabolism.
While the ultimate diet pill is yet to become available in the market, here are some of the most essential vitamins your body needs to help you in your fitness goals:
1. B Vitamins – Do you always feel fatigued and can’t seem to find the energy squeeze in a walk or your workout routine? You could have a B vitamin deficiency. B vitamins are essential to speed up metabolism and make you feel fuller longer.
If your body lacks one or more of the B vitamins, your metabolism slows down, making it harder to lose weight. These B vitamins help with weight loss and will surely be your best friends:
To get enough B vitamins, make sure to eat lots of whole grains, wheat germ, bananas, nuts and beans. Chicken, fish, beef, pork, eggs, dairy and other animal products are also good sources of B vitamins, particularly vitamin B12.
2. Vitamin C – You may recognize vitamin C as your first line of defense against common colds and cough, but did you know it could help you with your quest for weight loss, too?
Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant, which helps your body transform fat into energy. According to a study from University of Colorado, the antioxidant activity of vitamin C burns fats and boosts one’s metabolism.
It also helps your body absorb iron, which improves not only your metabolism but also the oxygen levels in your body. This leads to healthy and proper formation of red blood cells and hemoglobin complex, hence better distribution of oxygen in your body.
Another study conducted by experts from Arizona State University, showed that people who had more vitamin C in their diets burn more fat than those with inadequate levels do. Another study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition revealed that people who have less vitamin C in their systems have to exert more during exercise compared to those who had adequate levels of vitamin C.
Citrus fruits, such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit are your best sources for vitamin C. Red and green peppers, broccoli, collard greens, Brussels sprouts, kale and spinach are excellent sources of this vitamin, too.
3. Vitamin D – Vitamin D is known as the sunshine vitamin. If you’re not a fan of going in the sun, then this could be one reason why you should consider getting up early in the morning, because vitamin D, especially the right kind, helps you lose weight.
Researchers found out that the participants who had high levels of vitamin D lost more abdominal fat compared to those who did not receive any sunshine.
According to a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, vitamin D has no negative impact on weight loss and can even improve your heart health. However, this is the right kind of getting vitamin D and not from supplements.
The best way to get this vitamin is to go out anytime between 7 and 10 a.m. in the morning and after 3 p.m., for just 10 to 15 minutes. Combine this with cardio exercises, such as running or biking to help you with weight loss.
In terms of food, there is not much food sources rich in vitamin D, although fatty fishes such as salmon and tuna are excellent choices. Fortified foods such as milk and cereals contain modest amount of vitamin D.
4. Vitamin E –Perhaps you have read tons of articles about vitamin E as an anti-aging skin treatment, or a natural solution to get rid of stubborn scars. This is because vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and can do all that, but did you know that it could help you lose weight, as well?
Antioxidants such as vitamin E are important for muscle health. Even when at rest, vitamin E can still burn calories and improve fat burning rates to help you lose weight. Aside from this, this vitamin removes waste from your body to boost your metabolism and make it more efficient.
Avocados, sunflower seeds, almonds, wheat germ and vegetable oils, such as sunflower, canola, and olive oil are excellent sources of vitamin E.
5. Essential Fatty Acids – When it comes to heart-friendly foods, essential fatty acids or omega 3 will always be a favorite.
It also contains the right amount of fats, so you don’t have to worry about an ever-expanding waistline and a higher number on your bathroom scale. Aside from being health-friendly, omega 3 is also good for your belly, too.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, subject individuals with bigger waists, body mass indexes, and hip circumferences had lower levels of omega 3 fatty acids in their blood. However, there is conflicting sides on whether omega 3 is an effective tool for weight loss. Still, it won’t hurt if you add tuna, salmon and mackerel to your diet. It’s good for your heart health, too.
Don’t forget to boil or bake your foods instead of frying them. This is a safer and healthier cooking method, and at the same time, you don’t have to worry about excess oils.
Tips to Get Your Vitamins Naturally
It is tempting to go to a local health store and buy all the vitamin supplements you can find. But many experts suggest that spending too much on vitamin supplements, which claim to be effective weight loss and nutrition tools, could just make your waist size bigger and your wallet smaller. Therefore, go natural when it comes to getting your vitamins by following these simple tips:
- Vitamin B2. This B vitamin is riboflavin. It helps transport oxygen in your body and aids in the formation of red blood cells, cell respiration, and production of antibodies. It also metabolizes carbohydrates, protein, and fats for proper function. It also helps absorb and activate other B vitamins and minerals, including iron.
- Vitamin B6.This B vitamin is a water-soluble vitamin called pyroxidine. According to Health Canada, this vitamin burns fats, including carb and protein that can be stored as fats. It also helps produce red blood cells and aids in maintaining balance among hormones to avoid disrupting your body’s rate of metabolism.
- Vitamin B12. This is the most important B vitamin, at least in terms of unlocking your body’s metabolism to burn excess fat and helping you with your weight loss goals. According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin B12 transforms fat into energy in its optimum level. It also works well with folic acid in producing healthy red blood cells and maintains protective coating around the nerve cells for better neurological health.
Your body needs essential vitamins to burn fat, transport oxygen in important areas, synthesize DNA, nerves and cells, and produce energy for better functionality. Most vitamins also function as co-enzymes to boost your metabolism.
In other words, don’t take vitamins lightly. They could do more than just boosting your immunity. However, don’t fall for false advertising claims that promise you 10 pounds off in 10 days. Go for vitamin-rich diets that you can sustain on a regular basis, and you will surely see an improvement in your health and body forever.
Starting right now, read all the labels on the foods you buy carefully. Look for the healthiest, most natural versions of everything you like to eat. Plant some vegetables or herbs, too.
You don’t need a huge farm to grow your own foods. You can try planter gardening, or start a small vegetable patch in your front or back yard.
If you don’t have a green thumb, visit your local farmer’s market or produce stand. That way, you can support your local farming community while meeting your goals for optimal health.
- Grow Your Own Food. It is safer, healthier, and you are sure that there are no harmful chemicals when you grow your own food. At the same time, gardening is good exercise and an effective stress reliever. It’s a win-win for your overall health.
- Get More Sunlight. This is the best way to get your vitamin D. Go out when the sun’s UV rays are not too harmful for your skin, and get from 10 to 15 minutes of exposure. Stay out of the sun between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day when the rays are the strongest.
- The More Colorful, the Better. The more you see colors on your plate, the healthier you will be. Add more variety in your diet and make sure to include all food groups. Losing weight is not about cutting certain food groups. Rather, it’s about maintaining balance in everything that goes inside your body, so “Eat the rainbow,” as they say.
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