Itís important to keep your body energised and supported with the right vitamins and nutrients. Itís especially important when youíre trying to lose weight- your body needs to feel strong and healthy to reach your goals as quickly and easily as you can. But it can be hard to keep track of all the different nutrients out there and what they can do for your body. Hereís a guide to 6 of the most important nutrients, and how you can make sure youíre getting enough in your dietÖ
Protein is an important energy source and helps to promote muscle strength, repairing muscle damage, improving muscle fitness, and keeping you strong and healthy. It also helps to protect your immune system and ensure proper transmission of nerve impulses, as well as supporting the healthy growth and maintenance of other body tissues like hair, nails and skin.
Your metabolism is also strongly influenced by your protein intake. Because protein helps you to sustain muscle during weight loss, it helps to support your metabolic function, so you burn fat more efficiently. Not only that, it makes you feel more full, so you are more likely to eat less, and the enhanced antioxidant, insulin and leptin functions all contribute to better weight management over time.
Good protein sources: lean meats, soy products (including tofu and tempeh), legumes, poultry, nuts and seeds, grains, leafy green vegetables, milk products, eggs, fish, yellow fruits and vegetables.
Calcium plays a big role in nerve and muscle function, helping to regulate blood clotting and insulin secretion, as well as strengthening your bones. Recent studies have also suggested that the calcium stored in fat cells influences how fat is stored and broken down by the body- where the more calcium there is in a fat cell, the more it will burn.
Bone strength is another good reason to look for low-fat calcium sources. When you donít get enough calcium in your diet, your body takes calcium from your bones- which results in them becoming thinner and weaker over time, with increased risk of fractures and osteoporosis.
calcium sources: milk, cheese, yogurt, leafy green vegetables, tofu,
oranges, sardines, salmon, sesame and sunflower seeds.
Ironís principle job is to carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body, so low iron levels can cause tiredness, lethargy, irritability, excessive coldness, and even breathlessness and dizzy spells. Not getting enough iron can also make it harder to lose weight, and to sustain weight loss in the long term.
Itís particularly important to keep your iron levels up when youíre following a fitness plan for weight loss, because youíll need optimum energy levels and adequate supplies of oxygen reaching all parts of the body, especially working muscles. Iron is also lost through sweat and tissue damage, so you need to make sure youíre getting plenty in your diet to make up for any lost through exercise.
sources of iron: lean meats, eggs, leafy green vegetables, whole
grains, dried fruits, nuts, rolled oat
You need vitamin D to help your body absorb calcium, and therefore keep your teeth and bones strong and healthy. As well as that, it can help to boost your immunity and to regulate insulin secretion and blood pressure. There has also been some research to suggest that vitamin D can help to reduce the risk and effects of many ailments including depression, osteoporosis and some types of cancer.
The body produces vitamin D naturally, but only when exposed to sunlight. So while a walk in the park is a good way to keep your vitamin D levels up, you will probably need to supplement it with some dietary sources- especially in the depths of winter.
Good sources of vitamin D: eggs, cheese, milk, fortified cereals
Zinc is important for tissue growth and the strength of your immune system. Low levels of zinc can result in reduced libido, decreased fertility, hair loss, changes to your sense of taste and smell, and mental lethargy. Getting enough zinc in your diet makes you feel brighter and more lively, with any wounds healing faster and illnesses clearing more easily.
Not only that, zinc also plays a role in proper digestion and metabolism, so it can help support your weight loss efforts by giving you more energy, controlling you appetite, and helping you to burn fat more efficiently.
Good sources of zinc: whole grains, milk, yeast, eggs, leafy green vegetables, lean meats, seafood, peanuts
Vitamin B12 helps to ensure the smooth functioning of vital life processes in the human body, working to support higher energy levels, mental clarity and emotional stability. By regulating the formation of red blood cells, it helps to maintain a healthy nervous system and DNA production. It has also been suggested that it plays a role in reducing the risk of heart disease.
In terms of weight loss, vitamin B12 is important for keeping your energy levels up, so you can get through your fitness plan more easily.
Good sources of vitamin B12: eggs, dairy products, enriched cereals, lean meats, poultry, seafood, fortified soy products
Join your friends and become a fan of ALFitness on Facebook