Some vital nutrients can be not only be necessary for good health and life extension, but can also help you lose weight. Most people who want to lose weight think about the number of calories they eat. But a low-calorie diet that's also low in nutrients is just as bad for your health as a high calorie, fatty diet, because it can lead to low energy, mental fatigue and a decreased sex drive.
Here are 6 of the key nutrients that can help you lose weight while maintaining good health.
1. Fiber Helps You Feel Full
Most people only eat about 15g of fiber per day, even though the recommended daily intake is at least 25g. Fiber is essential to weight loss because it helps you feel fuller longer, and this can curb the temptation to snack on sweets and fatty foods while you're dieting. A higher fiber intake also helps prevent heart disease, some types of cancer (such as cancer of the colon) and type 2 diabetes. Fruit, vegetables, cereals and legumes are all good sources of fiber; drink plenty of water to avoid feeling bloated and gassy as you increase your fiber intake.
2. Omega-3 Fatty Acids Won't Make You Fat
Most people who want to lose weight avoid eating anything that contains fat, thinking that all fats must be harmful if you're trying to slim down. But, not all fats are the same, and some fats, when consumed in moderate amounts, are actually healthy. A deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids can cause dry skin and depression, as well as increasing your risk of heart disease. Omega-3 fatty acids can also help you feel full longer, reducing the urge to snack.
Add a fish oil supplement to your diet to increase your intake of this vital nutrient. You can also find omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, sardines, eggs and nuts.
3. Folic Acid isn't Just for Pregnant Women
Everyone needs to consume 400 micrograms of folic acid per day. Grain products, including breads and cereals, are often fortified with folic acid, but since many dieters are now on low-carb regimens, it's easy to miss out on the daily recommended intake of folic acid. Eat a folic-acid-fortified breakfast cereal each day; it will help protect you from heart disease and colon cancer, and you'll also be less likely to overeat later in the day.
4. Calcium isn't Just for Strong Bones
You should be eating at least 1,000 milligrams of calcium per day. Not only does this make for strong bones, it can help regulate blood pressure and help you lose weight.
5. Vitamin D Helps with Calcium Absorption
Dairy products in the U.S. are fortified with Vitamin D to promote calcium absorption. Vitamin D also helps prevent diabetes, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer and multiple sclerosis. You need at least 200 IU a day, so drink plenty of milk or use a fish oil supplement.
6. Iron Gives You Energy
If you're suffering from low energy levels, iron-deficiency anemia may be to blame. Iron helps your red blood cells carry oxygen through the body, and without it, your cells will be oxygen deprived and you'll lack energy. Take an iron supplement, eat iron-rich foods such as beef, shrimp, mussels and clams, and get plenty of vitamin C, since it increases iron absorption.