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Hot & Healthy | Best Vitamins and Natural Supplements for Losing Weight


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Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight whether through fad diets, weight management programs, or sensible eating and exercise, knows that it’s a major uphill battle.  And, more often than not, the weight loss from fad diets and cleanses is temporary at best, with potentially harmful side effects.

Certain vitamins and natural supplements have been found to support healthy weight loss.  Alone, they may not be effective in budging that needle on the scale; however, combined with a weight loss regimen, you may see better results than if you did with just exercise and diet alone.

Furthermore, as a restricted diet can lead to a deficiency in certain nutrients, paying attention to and adding these vitamins can help support overall health, in addition to helping you with your weight loss goals. Making sure you’re getting enough of these vitamins and minerals will help your body to function better, regardless of their impact on fat or calorie burning.

Below are a few recommended supplements that have some research supporting their ability to assist in weight loss. We’ve also included some good sources of the vitamins and minerals, as nutrients are usually better absorbed through food than in pill form.

Calcium-Tablets-2007

Calcium

How it works: A lot of research over the last decade have shown that foods high in calcium have a fat-burning effect. The research suggests that the calcium stored in fat cells trigger the cell to release fat to be burned so the more calcium, the more fat released as an energy source. Calcium also binds fat during digestion, preventing all of the dietary fat you eat from being absorbed. Researchers have found that Calcium supplements can also help women lose more weight and body fat, especially if their intake of calcium and vitamin D was already low.
Good sources: Milk products, like milk (which is often fortified with vitamin D, necessary for the absorption of calcium), yogurt, cottage cheese (fortified soy and almond milk), spinach, kale and fortified cereals.

vitamin-d-sunlight1

Vitamin D

How it works: Many people are deficient in this vitamin, even though we can produce our own vitamin D through a short period of exposure to direct sunlight. Most of us only get 20% of the vitamin D we need through the food we eat. However, this deficiency can interfere with weight loss goals as well as normal body functions. Vitamin D also promotes calcium absorption and plays a role in cell growth and immune function. Studies show that vitamin D helps the body to respond to insulin, which helps push glucose (a source of energy) into cells. The less efficiently your body takes in glucose, the more likely the calories consumed will end up stored as fat (which can ultimately lead to diabetes).  Moreover, parathyroid hormone levels rise when you’re vitamin D deficient which can trigger fat cells to start converting sugar to fat and storing it, rather than releasing the sugars to be burned as energy. A lack of vitamin D can also prevent leptin, a hormone that controls appetite, from working efficiently, leading you to eat more.
Good sources: 10 to 15 minutes of exposure to sunlight daily, fortified cow and soy milk, salmon, egg yolks and beef liver.

omega-3

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

How it works: These fatty acids switch on the enzyme that triggers fat-burning in cells, while decreasing the levels of fat-storage enzymes.  Omega-3s may also improve leptin sensitivity and production, a hormone that influences metabolism and fat storage.  These acids are also known to help boost mood, which can help you curb emotional eating.
Good sources: tuna (canned or fresh), salmon, mackerel, sardines, flaxseed, chia seeds.

Fiber

How it works: Cutting back on the amount of food you eat is one of the many ways to lose weight, and fiber makes it much easier to do (it can be hard to ignore hunger pangs). Fiber can help you feel fuller faster and for a longer period of time, which can help curb your cravings.  Fiber slows down the speed with which food travels through your gastrointestinal system; the slower digestion keeps you from getting hungry quickly. A recent study found that overweight participants who supplemented their diet with fiber reported feeling less hungry after meals than those who didn’t. Most people only get half of their recommended daily allowance of fiber. If you’re a woman under the age of 50, aim for 25 grams a day (21 grams if you’re over 50). If you’re a man under the age of 50, you should be getting 38 grams of fiber, and 30 grams if you’re over 50.
Good sources: Whole grain bread and pasta, beans (black, kidney, white, chickpeas, etc.), vegetables and fruits (if edible, with the skin left on)

Every little bit helps when you’re trying to lose weight. Get better results and improve your overall healthy by ensuring that you fill your diet with foods rich in the above nutrients or by taking supplements.

[Sources: Wikipedia + Flickr]

Virginia Cunningham is a freelance health writer, yoga enthusiast and shares her knowledge of how to lose weight in the healthiest way. Not only does she eat the most nutritious foods, but she is also sure to take any necessary supplements.

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