Vitamins

food full of vitamins

Vitamins play an important role to the overall health of the human body. They are mostly found in our food or in nutrition supplements. Among the most important ones are:

vitamin-a Vitamin A helps vision and prevents eye problems, promotes bone growth and tooth development, essential for the reproduction and development of cells

It can be found in fruits (they contain alpha and beta-carotenes that are transformed to vitamin A in the body) such as, apricot, avocado, blackberries, cantaloupe, kiwi, mango, orange, peach, tomato, watermelon. It is also found in red, yellow, orange and dark green vegetables, such as asparagus, broccoli, carrots, green pepper, kale, peas, spinach, summer squash, sweetpotato. Nuts are also a very good source of vitamin A such as, almonds, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, pumpkin seeds, pecans, pine nuts, sunflower, seeds

Deficiency can cause night blindness, dry skin, dry eyes, loss of appetite, poor bone growth, and weak tooth enamel.

Overdose may cause headaches, blurred vision, irregular periods, fatigue, cracked skin, joint and bone pain, rashes, loss of hair, vomiting, liver damage.

vitamin-b Vitamins of the B complex

Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) helps the body cells convert carbohydrates into energy. It is also essential for the functioning of the heart, muscles, and nervous system.

It is found in avocado, orange and watermelon, in asparagus, cauliflower, dried beans, peas and potatoes as well as in sunflower seeds. Whole grains, fortified cereals and pasta and soy foods are a good source of B1.

Deficiency can leave one fatigued and weak. It can cause depression, muscle cramps, hysteria, loss of appetite and beriberi (common with chronic alcoholism).

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) is essential for turning carbohydrates, fat and protein into energy. It is important for body growth and producing red blood cells. It is also important for vision.

It is found in kiwi, green leafy vegetables, avocado, asparagus, broccoli, mushrooms, and  spinach. No nuts contain a significant amount of B2. Enriched and Fortified Cereals are also a good source of this vitamin.

Deficiency can cause visual problems, and can cause cracks and sores around the mouth and nose.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin) is important for the conversion of carbohydrate, protein, and fat into energy. It helps maintain healthy skin. It assists in the functioning of the digestive system, skin, and nerves.

Rich in B3 are bananas, cantaloupe, kiwi, peach, tomato, watermelon, artichoke, asparagus, avocado, broccoli, carrots, corn, green pepper, kale, Lima beans, mushrooms, peas, potatoes, summer squash, sweet potato, almonds, chestnuts, peanuts, peanut butter, pine nuts. Enriched or fortified grain products are also a good source.

Deficiency may cause diarrhea and mouth sores. In extreme cases it may cause pellagra.

Overdose may cause high blood sugar and uric acid, hot flashes, cardiac arrythmias, ulcers and liver disorders.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) is essential for the metabolism of food. It is also essential in the formation of hormones and “good” cholesterol.

It is found in avocado, oranges, bananas, artichoke, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, corn, Lima beans, mushrooms, potato, sweet potato, winter squash and whole grain cereals. No nuts contain significant amounts of B5.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) helps the body break down proteins and make red blood cells. It helps maintain normal brain and nerve function. It plays a role in the creation of antibodies in the immune system.

It is found in avocado, bananas, watermelon, beans, broccoli, carrots, peas, potatoes, spinach, sweet potatoes, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and fortified cereals.

Deficiency can cause anemia, dizziness, nausea, irritability and convulsions.

Overdose can cause nerve damage.

The higher the protein intake, the more need there is for vitamin B6.

Vitamin B9 helps the body make red blood cells, as well as components of the nervous system. It is needed to make DNA. It helps maintain normal brain function, and is a critical part of spinal fluid.

Folate and Folic Acid are both forms of B9. Folate occurs naturally in fresh foods, while Folic Acid is the synthetic form found in supplements.

Great source of B9 are avocado, bananas, blackberries, cantaloupe, kiwi, orange, strawberry, tomatoes, artichoke, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, corn, green pepper, kale, Lima beans, onions, peas, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potato, almonds, brazil nuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, macadamias, peanuts, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pistachios, pecans, pumpkin seeds and walnuts.

It has been proven to reduce the risk for an NTD-affected pregnancy by 50 to 70 percent. Before and during pregnancy, a woman should have enough Folic Acid since it is vital for proper cell growth and development of the embryo.

Vitamin B12 is important for metabolism. It helps to make red blood cells. It is important for nerve cell function.

It is only available from fish, poultry, meat or dairy sources. Supplements and enriched foods such as fortified cereals are available for vegetarians.

Deficiency can cause anemia (especially in vegetarians and the elderly) and nerve damage.

Important note: Excess of one B vitamin may cause deficiency of others

vitamin-c Vitamin C is an important antioxidant. It protects body tissue from the damage of oxidation. It is needed to form collagen, a tissue that helps to hold cells together.

It can be found in citrus fruits, apples, avocado, banana, berries, cantaloupe, grapes, guava, kiwi, lemon and lime, orange, peach, strawberry, tomatoes, watermelon, in many vegetables, especially the cabbage family and green leafy vegetables, as well as in asparagus, artichoke, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, corn, cucumber, red pepper, kale, Lima beans, onions, peas, potatoes, spinach, squash, calcium fortified cereals.

  Deficiency can cause muscle weakness, bleeding gums, easy bruising. In extreme cases can cause scurvy.

vitamin-d Vitamin D is known as the "sunshine vitamin" since it is manufactured by the body after being exposed to sunshine. 10-15 min of sunshine 3 X a week is adequate. It strengthens bones and teeth because it helps the body in the absorption of calcium and magnesium. It also helps maintain adequate levels of calcium and phosphorus in the blood.

Mushrooms are a good natural source of vitamin D as well as D-fortified soy or nut milks and cereals.

Deficiency can cause rickets in children, bone softening in adults, osteoporosis.

Overdose can cause calcium deposits in organs, fragile bones, renal and cardiovascular damage.

vitamin-e Vitamin E is an antioxidant and defends cells against damage by free radicals, protecting body tissue from the damage of oxidation. It is important for the health of red blood cells and the use of vitamin K.

It is found in apples, bananas, blackberries, kiwi, green leafy vegetables, brown rice, vegetable oils, soybean oil, wheat germ, almonds, brazil nuts, pine nuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds.

Deficiency is rare. It can be seen primarily in premature or low birth weight babies, or children who do not absorb fat properly. Causes nerve abnormalities. It is used to minimize the appearance of wrinkles, and to help heal minor wounds without scarring.

vitamin-k-neo Vitamin K is fat soluble. It plays a critical role in blood clotting. It regulates blood calcium levels and activates at least 3 proteins involved in bone health.

Foods rich in vitamin K are dark green leafy vegetables, cauliflower, collard greens, broccoli, kale, spinach, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts and vitamin K fortified cereals.

Deficiency can cause defective blood coagulation.

Overdose can cause Jaundice in infants.

 

 

 

Understanding Fat loss

 

 

If you are like many people, you have probably been through the fat loss process more than once in your life. Lose weight, increase energy, look fabulous and feel healthy, are your main concerns.

Therefore you have tried every single new diet on the planet, spent countless hours in the gym sweating breathless on fancy equipment or within demanding boot-camp groups, to end up seeing little or no results at all.

So, what can you do? You are so tired of trying to lose a couple of pounds and then seeing them coming back again and again, but you are not willing to compromise with a “big you”.

First of all, there is hope. You can lose your overweight and keep it off forever. Remember, this is not gonna happen overnight, no matter how much weight you have to lose. It is not a matter of a fancy diet or some miraculous fitness plan. It has to do with a different approach to nutrition and fitness and, mostly, with commitment.

Before we go on giving valuable tips, let’s talk about fat and fat loss.

It is true that gaining weight results from taking in more calories than we expend. But what does this exactly mean?

Our body uses a process to turn food into fuel- the so called metabolism. When the body’s metabolism doesn’t function correctly we end up with excess weight.

The food we consume is mainly one of the three following categories:

Protein– complex chains of amino acids- is the basic building block of life and essential to almost every chemical reaction in the human body. Food rich in protein includes meat, fish, fowl, eggs, cheese, nuts and seeds. Many vegetables fall in the same category but unlike animal protein, they don’t contain all the essential amino acids.

Fat provides glycerol and essential fatty acids, which the body cannot make. Fat is found in meat, fish, fowl, dairy products and the oils derived from nuts and seeds as well as from some vegetables.

Carbohydrate includes sugar and starches that are chains of sugar molecules. Carbohydrate provides the quickest source of energy.

Today’s nutrition in most of the world’s developed countries is primarily low-fat, high-carbohydrate based. Less fat in a food means higher percentage of carbohydrate and sugars in order to keep it tasty.

During the last 40-50 years there has been a huge campaign against fat, which is accused for weight gain and health problems. Just a quick tour in the super market and you will be bombarded with lean meat, low fat cheese and yoghourt, low fat margarine or butter, low fat cookies and pasta and cereal and… and…and… You name the food, we’ve got it in this list. Surprisingly, though, the number of overweight people and severe health problems such as heart attacks, diabetes and strokes has increased immensely!

Think, for a moment, of your typical daily menu. Some milk or coffee with bread, or bagels, or biscuits and cakes, for breakfast, or maybe some skimmed milk with low fat cereal and fruits if you are a healthy eater. Then a sandwich at work or pasta for lunch and then maybe some lean protein with salad (either with a “rich” sauce or with no or too little oil) with potatoes, rice or pasta as a side dish. Not to mention a couple of cookies for snack, or that juicy burger at lunch break or the endless sports nights in front of TV full of pizzas and sodas. Fat and carbs, what a killing combination!

Even when you try to stick to a healthier plan, just because you try to eliminate fat, you end up eating too much carbs and sugars (in the form of low fat products or excess amounts of fruits and starchy vegetables).

Carbohydrate is transformed to glucose, the main fuel for the human body to function. Excess consumption of carbs leads to excess production of glucose that the body cannot use right away, therefore, it stores it in the form of fat- belly fat, fat on thighs or in the mid-section in general and the most dangerous inner fat that wraps around our inner organs or circulates in our blood in the form of cholesterol.

Accumulated fat over time leads primarily to severe health problems, low energy and a very ugly and depressive figure.

So weight loss should focus on fat loss and not only on reduced calories intake. To achieve fat loss and keep it for life, we have to change mentality, first, and then change our habits. A different nutritional approach along with some physical activity will transform our bodies forever. Keep reading the following posts to discover the best strategies for permanent fat loss and better health. 

 

Tips for Life Fat Loss


 

 

If you really want to lose weight and get fit, there are certain points you must take into account.


First of all, get to know your health indexes: cholesterol levels, blood pressure, blood sugar levels etc, all information provided by your typical annual check-up. Don’t forget to check your thyroid. Imbalances of the thyroid hormones lead to metabolic disturbances. The problem, once diagnosed, can be controlled with proper medication and make a significant difference to your efforts.


Nevertheless, there are a few tips that can help you on your fight against accumulated and stubborn fat.


Never follow too low calorie diet plans. Your metabolism is the mechanism that transforms food into energy. The less the food levels in your system, the lower your metabolism becomes. When you start cutting off calories, you begin to lose weight, at first. Soon enough, though, you may reach a “plateau”, that your brain interprets as a state of “famine”. In order to protect your body from starving to death, your brain blocks the metabolic function, preventing you from losing any more weight. When your metabolism is blocked at a very low level it is almost impossible to lose weight by simply reducing further your food intake.
As a consequence, the proper way to a thinner you is by keeping your metabolism busy, i.e. keep eating. The secret here is when to eat and what.


Research has shown that three main meals per day or up to five smaller meals throughout the day are perfect for keeping your metabolic rate active. In any case, you should never go more than six hours without eating. This routine, combined with the proper type of food, will start showing positive results on your scale, will protect you from mood swings and cravings, will fill you up with energy and finally will help you stick to your plan and succeed.


Drink a lot of water, 8 to 10 glasses per day, or even more if you like. You may even consume 2-3 cups of herbal tea (avoid normal tea or coffee, since too much caffeine may eventually block your metabolism) or some fresh fruit juice (watch out for sugar, though) but do not include those beverages to your daily water intake. Water will keep you well hydrated and will help dissolve excess fat.


If you should eliminate only one food from your menu, this is sugar. Taking into consideration all the different kinds of food where sugar is well hidden, even among the healthy ones (i.e. fruits, breads, cereals etc) you realize you should NEVER add extra sugar to anything that enters your mouth. On a later post we’ll discuss in depth the consequences of sugar in our body.


 Last but not least, get active. Do some sports, discover weight lifting, yoga, pilates, practice to run a marathon or simply WALK! Yes, walking briskly for at least 30 min three times a week is the most efficient way to jump-start your metabolism. Even if you haven’t followed a routine for ages, or have health problems that prohibit intense training, walking is the perfect workout for anybody, with amazing results and no unpleasant side effects.


Finally, remember this: the key to fat loss is commitment. Make one change at a time, be it in nutrition or exercise, give your body time to re-adjust and follow it through to the very end. The more time you need to lose a pound, the more permanent the result is. Follow those tips for fat loss and enjoy the new self of yours for life.   

 

The Best Strategy to Lose Belly Fat Fast

 

woman losing belly fat

Despite what you may think, belly fat is the easiest fat you may lose when following any diet plan.

The best strategy, though, to lose belly fat fast, consists of 3 key components:

 

Get enough water

 

It hydrates the inner organs and systems in your body. The endocrine system is the one regulating your metabolism. When the glands are well hydrated, they work properly speeding up your metabolism and helping you lose weight faster. You should aim for 8-10 glasses of water daily to ensure that your metabolism works at full speed. Don’t count juices and milk to your daily fluid intake and avoid at all sodas as the sugars or artificial sweeteners that may contain hinder weight loss.

 

Eat right

 

Replace processed and packaged food with fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats and healthy grains like oats. These foods give you more energy, keep your body nourished and help you lose excess fat and calories.

 

Get physically fit

 

Move your body to burn calories. A regular exercise plan such as walking for 30 min per day helps your body burn off excess fat.Follow an exercise program that will get your heart rate up and build lean muscle, like running, walking, swimming or biking. Begin by working out 3 times/week and gradually increase your frequency to every day.

 

Follow these 3 simple rules and soon enough you will see your mid-section shrinking. It is the best strategy to lose belly fat fast and feel fit and full of energy throughout the day.   

Fitness food

So, you found the perfect routine, you do it each and every day but still the results are not worth the sweat and the pain? Maybe the food you are consuming is sabotaging your efforts. With the right choice of food  you may fuel your muscles, burn more fat and boost your cardiovascular health. Have those 9 power foods before and after your workout to see results in no time.

 

Spinach

 

popeye eating spinach

 

This green leafy vegetable contains a compound that increases protein synthesis by 120%. Although you have to consume 2 pounds per day to see significant results, adding spinach to your daily nutrition plan will eventually make a difference

 

Pineapple and Papaya

 

pineapple and papaya fruits

Both of these tropical fruits are loaded with bromelain and papain, enzymes that help break down proteins for digestion and have anti-inflammatory properties to speed up your post-workout recovery.

 

Salmon


 

salmon fillets

Researchers found that cyclists who took fish oil for 8 weeks had lower heart rates and consumed less oxygen during intense bicycling than a control group did. The fatty acids in fish oil need to become incorporated into muscle and heart cells to have an effect, and that takes weeks of consumption-so either take fish oil pills each day, or try to eat fish rich in fatty acids multiple times a week to see similar results.

 

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or Pasta With Meat Sauce

 

peanutbutter and jelly sandwichpasta with meat sauce dish The perfect post-weight training meal has about 400 calories, with 20 to 30 grams of protein (to build new muscle) and 50 to 65 grams of carbohydrates (to repair old muscle). Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or a small bowl of pasta with meat sauce are the best choices.
 

 

Pork Tenderloin


 

pork tenderloin dish

Lean meats are a great low-calorie source of protein, and scientists found that eating more protein may reduce the fat around your midsection. People who ate 20 more grams of protein every day than the average had 6 percent lower waist-to-hip ratios.

 

8 Ounces of Chocolate Milk


 

a glass of chocolate milk

 

British researchers found that milk does a better job than water or sports drinks at rehydrating the body after exercise. The reason is, milk has more electrolytes and potassium. Adding chocolate gives milk the perfect balance of carbs, protein, and fat for speedy muscle recovery.

 

 

 

Coffee

cup of coffee and coffee beans

Caffeine blocks a chemical that activates pain receptors. Taking a caffeine supplement (equal to two cups of coffee) after exercise reduces muscle soreness more than pain relievers can.

 

Green Tea


 

a cup of green tea

Scientists found that participants who consumed three cups of green tea every day for a week had fewer markers of the cell damage caused by resistance to exercise. So drinking a few cups every day may help your muscles recover faster after an intense workout.

 

Cold Water

 

a glass of cold water Drinking cold water before and during exercise can help improve your endurance.  It is the most direct way to reduce core body temperature, so it takes you longer to heat up and slow down.