Blog Post - News, Views and Tips
It is all well and good restricting your calorie intake and shedding the body fat that you shouldn’t be carrying, but in creating that calorie deficit don’t underestimate how important vitamins and minerals are to your healthy eating plan.
You may be creating a big calorie deficit and losing body fat, but if your food choices are poor and your diet is lacking in essential nutrients, then you will find that you will be more hungry than ever before. During your diet, it’s critical that you deliberately boost your intake of fruit and vegetables over and above the recommended 5 portions a day, because otherwise your body will actually produce hormones to make you crave foods, trying to make you eat more to compensate for the vitamins and minerals it thinks you’re lacking. Eating only 1 or 2 portions of fruit and vegetables a day is far too low to be giving your body what it needs to maintain optimal health, even when you are eating normally.
Vitamins and minerals are organic substances necessary for life. They are so important that if you are lacking in any one of them, you will find that it has a big impact on your body’s health potentially leading to many illnesses and in some case life threatening ones. Vitamins and minerals are involved in so many processes within the body, for example –
Vitamin A (fat soluble) builds resistance to respiratory infections and helps the eyes to be healthy, including counteracting night blindness.
Vitamin B (water soluble) improves mental alertness and keeps the heart, nervous system and muscles functioning normally.
Vitamin C (water soluble) is fundamental for helping the body absorb iron, preventing scurvy and keeping the skin and gums healthy.
Vitamin D ( fat soluble), the “Sunshine Vitamin”, is vital for bone health and the correct functioning of cells. Lack of it is seriously detrimental to health.
Calcium and Magnesium are both required to be present in the body to keep your heart healthy.
Calcium and Phosphorus are necessary for healthy bones and teeth.
Interestingly your body’s ability to absorb Calcium is reliant on it also having a sufficient amount of Vitamin D.
Therefore if you suspect you are lacking vital vitamins and minerals, the best I can suggest is a diet high in fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds and good quality protein like eggs. It’s also worth having a blood test to find out if you are low in Iron or Vitamin B12. Decent Iron levels can be especially hard to maintain if you are a menstrating female, but a good supplement can help here (see my Vital Iron post), ensuring either it also contains Vitamin C, or is taken with good source of Vitamin C like orange juice. Vitamin D is best topped up by getting enough sun exposure during longer lighter days as your body produces this itself in reaction to sunlight, but eggs and fish like Salmon are also rich in this essential nutrient (see my Summer, Sun and D post).
Reassuringly, it is perfectly possible to shed the fat by eating a calorie restricted diet, whilst still making sure that it contains the vital components and nutrients your body needs on a day to day basis. Do this and you will find that even when technically eating less, you can still feel fuller and more energised as the weight comes off.