How Does Vitamin E Help the Body?

How Does Vitamin E Help the Body?

Just like most other vitamins, there are a number of ways in which vitamin E can help your body. Men need about 4mg a day, while women should consume around 3mg a day. Though  it is good to note that your body can store excess vitamin E, so you may not need to have it in your diet every day. 

What is Vitamin E?

Vitamin E is an essential mineral required for the human body to function properly. It is vital in maintaining healthy skin and eyes. It is also a large contributing factor to the immune system as it helps the body fight infection. Vitamin E is consumed through eating a balanced diet, however a person struggling to consume enough vitamin E on a daily basis can take supplements.

Benefits of Vitamin E

When it comes to the advantages of vitamin E, some of these may be more obvious than others. While you may know that this vitamin helps with cell damage, you may not think too much about the various implications of this. We’ve gone through some of the main benefits of vitamin E below:

Antioxidant 

Vitamin E is an antioxidant. It helps fight against free-radicals that develop in the body and therefore helps prevent or delay chronic illnesses. By protecting cells from oxidation it prolongs the life of cells and makes them more healthy. 

Skincare 

This vitamin is also known for its skincare and nourishment properties, and is therefore included in many such products. Research suggests that a person that applies moisturiser or skincare products that include vitamin E on a regular basis will be more protected from UV exposure and have generally younger-looking skin. Vitamin E furthermore assists the body in repairing damaged skin from burns and scars. This is due to its cell restoration ability.

Anti-Ageing

Due to its lipid-replenishing ability, vitamin E will slow down the ageing process of the skin. This reduces wrinkles and lines that come with ageing. It is common for skincare and beauty products to advertise the fact that they are high in vitamin E.

Nail Health

A person with high levels of vitamin E will have healthier nails. Your nails should therefore look healthier, and taking vitamin E should help in reducing the possibility of cracking or nails appearing yellow. It should also reduce the risk of peeling.

Cancer 

A person undergoing chemotherapy may suffer from radiation induced toxicities. Supplementing with vitamin E or increasing your intake of this vitamin reduces the risk of damage that can be done through anticancer therapies. Vitamin E also slows down and in some cases stops types of cell damage. This type of damage leads to some cancers, so vitamin E can be effective in preventing certain types of cancer.

Deficiency and Recommendation

Eating a balanced diet can provide adequate levels of vitamin E. Foods such as nuts, seeds, leafy green vegetables and many cereal products all contain ample levels of vitamin E. Therefore it is uncommon for a person to be deficient in this nutrient. 

A person suffering from a deficiency is likely to suffer from nerve and muscle damage, resulting in stiffness of movement and feeling weak. Due to its large contribution to the immune system, another sign of a vitamin E deficiency may be a weak immune system that is not able to combat infections efficiently.

As mentioned above, you only need a few milligrams of vitamin E a day. A person still struggling to consume this recommended amount can meet their required levels through regular supplementation. Most people simply choose to use a couple of easy tricks to get more vitamin E into their diet. You could try snacking on sunflower seeds or adding a tablespoon of wheat germ oil to your cooking. Either of these options will give you more than a day’s worth of vitamin E, so you can just do them sporadically.

If you are concerned about your vitamin E intake, it’s a good idea to see your doctor. A blood test should reveal any serious vitamin deficiencies, and you can then adjust your diet or start taking supplements.

Sources

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-e/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318168#Risks-and-considerations

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.3109/02841869409121771

How Can I Naturally Burn More Fat?

How Can I Naturally Burn More Fat?

In order to burn fat, a person will need to be in a calorie deficit. This is where a person is burning more energy than they are consuming. The body will not be able to get all the required energy from food stores and it will then burn the body’s fat stores to aid with the energy demand. Over a long period of time, this will cause a person to lose weight. 

Burning Fat Naturally

There are a number of ways a person can burn fat naturally, all of which are pretty straightforward. Diet and exercise you’d undoubtedly guess! But did you know that sleep can make a big difference to how much fat you burn? We’ve explored each of these methods of naturally burning fat in a little more detail below:

Diet 

A person eating a well-balanced diet and expending more energy than they are consuming will burn fat. If an individual eats high volume low-calorie foods, this will cause the body to feel fuller for longer and the body will naturally begin to target fat stores to help the body function through the day. This only works over a sustained period, a diet that targets fat loss, while still being considered healthy can be one in a caloric deficit of 500cals. A person eating a diet putting them in a dangerous deficit (higher than 500) will likely feel rundown throughout the day, unwell and in extreme cases can cause serious health implications. 

Exercise 

By performing daily exercise over a long period of time a person can burn more fat, like all fat burning methods, a person will need to make sure they are in a calorie deficit otherwise the body will not target fat stores. All exercise requires energy and therefore can burn fat, there are however particular methods of exercise that are more suited to burning fat. The best and widely considered method of training to burn fat is Endurance/cardiovascular training. Endurance/cardiovascular training over a long period of time at a low intensity is effective at gaining a calorie deficit. This means the body is active for much longer periods of time whether as weight training and other methods will have rest periods.

Sleep 

Diet and Exercise are the most obvious methods of naturally burning fat. However, Sleep is also a very important factor to consider when looking to burn more fat. You can make a big difference to your hormone levels by having the daily recommended 6-8 hours sleep a night. Sleep deprivation impacts the body’s ability to regulate its appetite. This is due to not producing the chemical Leptin. Leptin suppresses appetite and hunger spikes throughout the day, being able to consume calories at a gradual rate throughout the day, while not overeating will help a person stay in a calorie deficit and target fat stores

Burning Fat

There are many different ways to burn fat, this page lists three ways that it can be done naturally. It is not uncommon for people to use supplements that can aid the body in burning fat stores. Before looking to burn fat it is important a person looks at medical guidance. Burning fat will mean the body systems are working hard and will likely require energy output, by combining a diet that is too far in a calorie deficit with strenuous exercise will put a person under a dangerous level of stress which will be harmful. Therefore research and consideration are always encouraged to anyone looking to burn fat either naturally or through supplements and medication.

 

Sources

https://www.self.com/story/calories-for-weight-loss

https://thesleepdoctor.com/2018/04/10/sleep-deprivation/

https://www.nhs.uk/news/lifestyle-and-exercise/could-exercise-be-as-effective-as-medication/

https://www.healthline.com/health/how-much-cardio-to-lose-weight

10 Superfoods to Add to Your Diet

A food referred to as a ‘superfood’ is one that offers large nutritional benefits while being low in calories. Typically this will be a food that is also full of vital vitamins and minerals that largely benefit the body and help with everyday bodily functions. Nutritionally rich foods will often contain antioxidants too. 

Antioxidants help the body neutralise free radicals that occur in the body as a result of energy production when the body breaks down food. Free radicals damage the body’s cells, leading to illness and disease. Over time, this can also cause aging.

What one person classifies as a superfood may differ from another, due to factors such as allergies and dietary requirements. But either way, by incorporating food with high vitamins and minerals into your diet, it’s possible to lead a healthier lifestyle. Especially if you regularly eat this type of food. 

Types Of Superfoods

There are many different types of superfood, some of them more obscure than others. You probably know about berries like cranberries being a superfood, but did you know that dark chocolate is considered to be one too? We’ve looked at ten great superfoods below:

1. Berries

Berries such as blueberries, raspberries and cranberries are dense in amino acids and a range of antioxidants. High in vitamin C and vitamin E, berries help prevent a number of different cancers and against heart disease. A person that consumes berries on a daily basis is likely to have lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

2. Soy

Eating soy has clear health benefits to the cardiovascular system and helps reduce blood pressure. Research suggests that regular consumption of soy helps prevent age-related memory loss and the impact of aging on bones. Soy is low in saturated fats, while high in vitamins, minerals and polyunsaturated fats (healthy fats).

3. Leafy Greens

There’s no doubt that vegetables are an important food source in a balanced diet. Leafy green vegetables are all high in vitamins A, B, C, E and K. They are also high in fibre and therefore good for the digestive systems, helping with regular excretion as well as preventing constipation. This type of food also helps fight against obesity and is good for an individual’s mental health and wellbeing.

4. Dark Chocolate

A small amount of dark chocolate consumed in moderation has great health benefits due to being high in flavonoids. This helps reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer. It is important to note that chocolate bought in a shop will typically be high in sugar and other unhealthy ingredients. You should therefore try and consume it in moderation and in its most pure form, where possible.

5. Green Tea

While most people drink green tea, rather than incorporate it into foods, it’s still considered a superfood. Not only is green tea rich in antioxidants, it also has polyphenolic compounds, both of which have anti-inflammatory properties. One of the most common antioxidants found in green tea is catechin, which research has suggested can protect against certain chronic diseases. These include cancer, heart disease and diabetes. It’s also been suggested that green tea could help with weight loss, though evidence is inconclusive. 

6. Turmeric

You probably know turmeric as the yellow spice that gives many curries their distinctive colour. What you may not realise is that turmeric contains curcumin, which has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which can help in the treatment and prevention of diseases like diabetes, cancer and heart disease. Curcumin has also been shown to help with pain reduction and speeding up the healing process. To absorb as much curcumin into the blood as possible, it’s recommended that you consume turmeric with fats or black pepper.

7. Avocado

While we often use avocado like a vegetable, it’s actually a fruit – rather like tomatoes. Avocados are full of nutrients such as minerals, vitamins, healthy fats and fibre. Eating avocado could reduce your risk of things like heart disease, some forms of cancer, metabolic syndrome and diabetes. 

8. Garlic

Who doesn’t like garlic? When a recipe calls for two cloves of garlic, they surely mean about eight cloves, right? Luckily, garlic comes with a number of medicinal benefits, so we don’t need to feel too guilty about adding it to just about every meal. It’s a good source of vitamins C and B6, as well as manganese, selenium and fibre. Not only this, but research suggests that garlic can help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure, and support your immune function. There is additionally speculation that some of the sulfur-containing compounds in garlic could help prevent certain types of cancer.

9. Seaweed

Seaweed is actually the name for particular sea vegetables that are rich in nutrients. The nutrients you can find in seaweed include fibre, vitamin K, iodine and folate. Seaweed also contains unique bioactive compounds, some of which could reduce risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. 

10. Sweet Potatoes

Bet you never thought you’d see any type of potato on a list of superfoods! Unlike white potatoes, sweet potatoes are a highly nutritious food, full of things like potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and fibre. They also contain carotenoids, which is an antioxidant that is said to reduce the risk of certain cancers. 

Incorporating Superfoods in the Diet

While eating superfoods has clear benefits, it is important that anyone looking to lead a healthy lifestyle is mindful of eating a balanced diet overall. For example, someone with allergies or an intolerance to a certain food group may not benefit from eating a certain food even if it is considered a superfood with clear health benefits! It would be more beneficial for them to simply find healthy foods they enjoy eating on a regular basis, have access to and are able to incorporate into their diet.

Sources

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/303079#how_to_incorporate_more_superfoods_into_your_diet

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/soybeans

https://www.healthline.com/health/what-are-flavonoids-everything-you-need-to-know

How Can You Burn More Fat?

How Can You Burn More Fat?

The human body stores fat in order to keep the body insulated and in order to store energy. How much fat your body stores can depend on a number of factors. These include your age, genes, hormones and lifestyle. 

Excess fat can cause health implications such as heart attacks, high blood pressure, cancer and mental health issues such as depression. Therefore it is not uncommon for people to want to explore a number of ways to burn fat in order to lead a more active and healthy lifestyle. In order to burn fat, the body must be consuming fewer calories than it is burning (Calorie Deficit). Entering into a deficit for a sustained period of time will cause the body to use fat stores for energy.

Calorie Deficit

Recommended calorie deficits can depend on various things, such as a person’s lifestyle and age. It is important that when dieting for fat loss and looking to enter into a calorie deficit for a long period of time, that a person does not go into a too low deficit. This will likely cause the person to feel rundown and unwell. 

A general starting point that is considered healthy and sustainable is a deficit of 500 calories per day. A tool that is often used for this is a calorie calculator, this is used to see what the maintenance calories for an individual are in order to function day to day as well as calories required for a surplus or deficit, depending on what is required. 

The different methods to achieve this deficit and therefore burn fat are shown below.

Fat Burning Methods

There are three main methods of burning fat – through exercise, diet and supplements. We’ve explored each of these in a little more detail.

Exercise 

A more active lifestyle and exercising on a regular basis will require more energy. Therefore, the more calories you burn which will in turn directly target the body’s fat stores. All forms of exercise require energy and therefore the consumption of calories. However more strenuous exercise, typically endurance and high-intensity exercises are likely to require more energy expenditure and therefore will be better suited for burning fat.

Diet 

Eating a healthy, more balanced diet will assist with burning fat. This is best achieved by making sure that calories consumed are from foods that are less calorie dense and are considered to be high volume, therefore helping the body to feel full. Foods that are good sources of fibre, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains all contain are less calorie-dense.

Supplements 

Dietary supplements are often combined with regular exercise and a balanced diet to achieve optimal results. Fat burners will target the body systems in a number of ways, they can help reduce a person’s appetite. This means that they will want to consume less food whilst increasing the body’s person’s metabolism. This results in a potential greater calorie deficit. When choosing to begin supplementing with fat burners, it is recommended to seek medical guidance and be aware of the recommended dosage. Over exceeding the dosage can result in discomforts such as feeling uneasy throughout the day, a faster heart rate or diarrhoea.

A list of ways to lose weight naturally

The following list contains various ways which may boost your metabolism and increase thermogenesis in your body. All of these have been backed by Scientific Research!

  1. Drink Unsweetened Green Tea and Black Coffee
  2. Drink Ice Cold Water
  3. Avoid Liquid Calories
  4. Eat More Slowly
  5. Include Eggs in Your Diet
  6. Drink Whey Protein
  7. Intermittent Fasting
  8. Include Chilli Peppers in Your Food
Sources

https://www.verywellfit.com/body-into-fat-burning-machine-1231548

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-lose-weight-as-fast-as-possible

https://www.healthline.com/health/do-fat-burners-work

How Does Vitamin C Help the Body?

Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is a vital vitamin the body needs in order to function on a day to day basis. Your body requires vitamin C to aid the immune system, healing injuries and maintaining bone health. 

Lack of vitamin C can also lead to things like scurvy. Unlike a few centuries ago though, when people were travelling long distances by boat, and couldn’t include fresh fruits or veg in their diet, scurvy is now pretty rare. 

Benefits

There are a number of benefits to getting enough vitamin C in your diet, and not just preventing scurvy! We’ve listed some of the most important health benefits below: 

Reduced Risk of Serious Illness 

Vitamin C is an antioxidant and these are important to help the body fight against free radicals. Free radicals are unstable atoms that can easily react with other molecules. This can result in unwanted damage being caused to the body. Therefore, reducing the number of free radicals in the body will prevent illness and contracting diseases.

Prevents Against Iron Deficiency 

Iron is essential in an individual’s diet as it assists in the transportation of oxygen around the body. Without iron, the red blood cells will struggle to support the body and vital organs that need such nutrients will have a harder time functioning. Ample levels of vitamin C in the body assist in absorbing iron from food sources. A person lacking in iron is at risk of developing anaemia. Although only a temporary condition, this causes the person to be tired and weak and therefore unable to function properly on a day to day basis.

Regulating Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is the force of blood flow against the walls of blood vessels in the body. A person with high blood pressure over a long period of time runs an increased risk of cardiac arrest and other serious heart diseases. Research indicates an ample amount of vitamin C on a daily basis helps relax the blood vessels and strain on the circulatory system in everyday life and while exercising. It is important for an individual looking to manage their blood pressure to remember that relying solely on vitamin C is not advisable. You should also consider all elements of your diet, and how much exercise you do on a regular basis.

Shortens Recovery Time From Illness 

Vitamin C plays a key role in the formation of white blood cells – these are the body’s defence mechanisms in fighting infections. Therefore, a person that has contracted an illness may look to supplement with vitamin C. They can also increase their consumption of foods high in vitamin C in order to shorten recovery time. 

Protects Your Memory

Oxidative stress and inflammation of the brain and nervous system over a prolonged period can promote the early onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. This can consequently cause a decline in the memory, language and thinking skills of an individual. Studies have shown that low levels of vitamin C are linked to cognitive impairment. Therefore the studies suggest that a high intake of vitamin C can help preserve this ability as a person ages.

How Much Vitamin C Do I Need?

You should be able to get all the vitamin C you need from the food you eat. The majority of adults need around 40mg of vitamin C a day.  And as a single orange has just over 50mg of vitamin C inside it, that’s enough to cover your recommended intake! 

Vitamin C in the Diet

As mentioned above, to maintain vitamin C levels, most people can do this by eating a balanced diet. Oranges, broccoli and spinach can provide high levels of vitamin C, and many other foods have some amount of vitamin C in them. It’s good to keep in mind that it’s not possible to store vitamin C in the body over a long period of time because it is a soluble vitamin. As a result, it can only be maintained through regular consumption. 

The daily intake advised for an individual depends on age, condition and body composition. The most important thing is for each person to look at their own dietary requirements and seek medical guidance for vitamin C when looking to lead a healthy lifestyle. Someone who takes vitamin C supplements should make sure the recommended daily intake is not exceeded, as this can be harmful.

Too much vitamin C can lead to things like diarrhoea, flatulence and stomach pain. This is only if you’re taking over 1,000mg per day, and the symptoms can be reversed once you stop taking supplements.

Sources

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-c-benefits#1.-May-reduce-your-risk-of-chronic-disease

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-c/

https://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-benefits-of-vitamin-c

A Guide to The B Vitamins

How do the B Vitamins help the body?

The body requires vitamins and minerals in order to function to an optimum level throughout the day. These are vital for the body systems. B vitamins are split into smaller subcategories due to their composition, different B vitamins contain different nutrients. These subcategories and shown below.

Thiamin (vitamin B1)

This is essential in order to help the body convert carbohydrates into energy. By having the recommended amount of B1 on a daily basis it helps greatly with muscle function and therefore the heart. As well as helping with the function of the brain and the heart. Eggs, Fruit and Liver are all high in B1. The recommended daily intake of B1 in the diet for a male is 1mg and 0.8mg for a female

Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

This is vital in the breakdown of macronutrients in the digestive system, then into energy and into the bloodstream. It also plays an important role in the maintenance of the skin and eyes. Eggs, Oats and Mushrooms all contain B2. It is important to be aware that the overexposure of these foods to sunlight will deplete the B2 contained in the food, therefore storage should always be done out of sunlight. The recommended daily intake of B2 in the diet for a male is 1.3mg for a male and 1.1mg for a female.

Niacin (vitamin B3)

Similarly to B1 & B2, vitamin B3 aids the body systems in everyday functions. Everybody system in the body will require some level of B3 in order to operate efficiently and effectively. In particular the nervous system and maintenance of the skin. B3 is found in Eggs, Milk and Fish. The recommended daily intake for B3 is 16.5mg for a male and 13.2mg for females.

Pantothenic acid (vitamin B5)

This vitamin is essential for making red blood cells and converting food that is consumed on a daily basis into energy. It aids in the transportation of oxygen to the organs and is found in Chicken, Beef, Eggs and Broccoli. It is often used for many treatments such as acne, conjunctivitis and diabetic nerve pain. The recommended daily intake for both a male and female is 5mg.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 helps the body maintain energy levels by helping to breakdown and store Protein and Carbohydrates that are consumed on a daily basis. It aids in the formation of Hemoglobin found in red blood cells that are then transported around the body to vital organs and the muscles. It is found in Eggs, Milk, Potatoes and Milk. The recommended daily intake for a male is 1.4mg for a male and 1.2mg for a female. 

Biotin (vitamin B7)

Biotin is an essential vitamin for the body. It is only needed in small amount and is found in a varying range of foods, albeit in small amounts. Therefore it is easily consumed in a person’s daily diet. It aids mainly in the breakdown of fat in the body. The body is able to make B7 in the bowel therefore it is very uncommon for a person to be deficient in this vitamin. The recommended daily intake for both a male and female is 0.03mcg. 

Folate and Folic Acid

This vitamin greatly assets in the production of red blood cells that transport oxygen around the body to the vital organs and the muscles. Folic acid is found in foods while folate, is the manmade form of the vitamin, that is engineered in a lab. Folate helps with a range of treatments including the prevention of certain types of cancer. Broccoli, Chickpeas and Brussel Sprouts. The recommended daily intake of Folic acid is 200mcg a day for an adult. 

Vitamin B12

Similarly to Folic acid, B12 plays a vital role in the creation of red blood cells and supplying oxygen to the vital organs and muscles. It also aids the body in the conversion of food into energy to help the body function on a daily basis. B12 also allowed the body to use Folic acid stored in the body. A B12 deficiency will lead to a person being anaemic. Without sufficient red blood cells, a person will feel weary and weak throughout the day. Eggs, Cheese and Meat all contain B12. The recommended daily intake of B12 for a person on a daily basis is 1.5mg for an adult. 

B Vitamins in the Diet

A person eating a balanced diet can obtain all these vitamins through the consumption of food. However, a person struggling to met the recommended daily intake of these vitamins can consume supplements. It is important that the recommended dosage is not exceeded as the overconsumption can lead to health implications.

Sources

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-b/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK114311/

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/287720

Protein Sources for Vegan Diet

Best Sources Of Protein For Vegan Diet

Protein is essential for muscle growth and the repair of body tissue. Consuming complete proteins is vital for body function. A complete protein has all 9 essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein and therefore your body requires all essential amino acids to function correctly. Individuals who follow veganism may struggle to consume all 9 amino acids as vegetables typically do not contain them. Food derived from meat, on the other hand, typically contains a complete protein profile. 

However there are multiple sources for which you can get your protein hit and still follow the vegan diet. And if a wide variety of these foods are consumed, it will mean that your body will receive enough protein for optimal body function. These examples are the following:

Quinoa

Quinoa is a seed that comes in a variety of colours. This is a complete protein, therefore contains all 9 amino acids that are essential in the diet and for muscle growth and repair. Quinoa holds the status as a superfood – this results in high demand and quinoa can be bought in most UK supermarkets. There is 4g of protein per 100g of quinoa – it’s more nutrient-dense than oatmeal and rice, and therefore a much healthier option.

Tofu

Derived from soybean, tofu has been a popular choice as a vegetable protein for many years. Popular cooking methods are stir-fry and baking. Soybeans are used to make soy milk, which is the most popular alt-milk in the market due to soy’s high protein to low-calorie ratio. It is high in amino acids as well as calcium and iron. There is 8gs of protein per 100g of tofu. When the soybeans are processed, tofu is commonly pressed into blocks. It is a low-calorie food source and often eaten by vegans. 

Oats

As a complex carbohydrate, oats are a popular choice for most people’s diets. Complex carbohydrates release consistent energy throughout the day and are a preferred choice for breakfast. Oats are high in double and insoluble fibre and therefore help lower cholesterol. They are also high in protein – per 100g, there is 10g of protein in oats. 

Vegetables

Vegetables are some of the most nutrient-dense food sources a person can possibly eat and are also typically high in protein. Examples include spinach, broccoli, asparagus and sweetcorn. These all contain high protein as well as other essential vitamins and minerals. They are also all low-calorie options as a source of protein when compared with food such as steak, therefore should not be neglected in a balanced diet.

Chickpeas

This food source contains 19.5g of protein per 100g and is a great source of vegan-friendly protein. Chickpeas greatly assist the digestive system in function and reduce the risk of many diseases due to being high in antioxidants. They are furthermore high in iron, zinc and a range of B vitamins. 

How Much Protein Should I Eat?

For every kilogram of your body weight, it’s recommended that you consume 0.75g of protein. So an adult weighing 64kg would need 48g (64 x 0.75g) of protein a day. 

Many vegans struggle to get this much protein in their diet, but a few worry about too high a protein intake! There is some evidence that suggests that too much protein could be bad for you. But the research has primarily concentrated on diets high in animal protein such as red meats and dairy. Studies show that those with existing kidney problems may be at risk if they eat too much protein, but for most healthy people, it can be beneficial in preventing muscle loss. 

Vegan Protein in the Diet

A person looking to lead a vegan-friendly diet and eating the recommended daily intake of protein should always make sure they vary food sources. This is in order to get the range of nutrients contained in the above foods, as well as many other foods that are high in protein. Recommended protein levels will vary due to a person’s age, body composition and possible health conditions. Therefore it is important a person seeks medical guidance and pays attention to information on the packaging of foods if they’re unsure if they are meeting the required protein intake on a daily basis.

Sources

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-tofu#heart-health

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/best-sources-protein-vegans

https://www.myfooddata.com/articles/vegetables-high-in-protein.php

https://dietitianwithoutborders.com/does-broccoli-have-more-protein-than-steak/

A Guide to CLA

What is CLA and How Does it Help Burn Fat?

CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) is a polyunsaturated omega-6 fatty acid which is largely found in meat and dairy. CLA has a number of health benefits and is considered to be a necessity to a balanced diet. People who follow a vegan diet will struggle to obtain CLA through a natural diet. They will therefore need to use supplements to ensure they get the recommended amount.

Contemporary studies may also support the belief that CLA can assist in preventing cancer. However research for this is still in its infancy. Although most CLA supplements are marketed for their anticancer properties, athletes and participants in bodybuilding in more recent years have been taking the supplement due to its fat-burning ability.

When it comes to taking CLA in supplement form, someone supplementing with CLA will likely be doing this due to its ability to maintain weight loss, retain mass and regulate diabetes. 

CLA for Fat Loss

Increased levels of CLA stimulates the human body to burn fats. The human body will therefore increase the enzymes and proteins responsible for the breakdown in fat.

Speeds Up Metabolism

Research shows that CLA will increase the speed of metabolism. By having a fast metabolism, the body will burn more calories while resting and during exercise. This means that a person with more CLA will be generally able to eat more without putting on weight. 

Mobilise Stored Fat

Providing the human body has increased levels of CLA, this will encourage the breakdown of triglycerides, which is the main compound in fat cells. A person with high triglycerides will likely also have thicker artery walls and therefore have increased risk of serious illness such as heart disease. It is important to factor in that illnesses such as these also need to be combated with limited sugary snacks and refined carbohydrates. Dietary CLA or CLA supplements will not prevent this on their own. 

Fat to Muscle Ratio

Due to reducing the ability of fat cells becoming larger, while assisting with muscle growth and endurance, a person participating in strength training on a regular basis will be able to work out harder and faster for longer. This will contribute to a stronger body system that requires more energy to support bigger muscle groups. Bodies with larger muscles will result in an increase of Basal Metabolic Rate – essentially you’ll have a better fat to muscle ratio. 

The Risks of CLA

The risk of CLA supplements has been in debate for years. Some research found no adverse effects, but other research has suggested that taking CLA continuously could lead to certain health problems. Supplementing with CLA may lead to an increase in C-reactive protein levels, which in turn can mean inflammation in the body. While this can be a good thing for fighting off disease, prolonged inflammation has been linked to chronic diseases like heart disease.

Other studies have suggested that CLA supplements could increase your liver enzymes, which could lead to possible liver damage. It is important to note though, that these health risks have not been associated with natural forms of CLA, only supplements. The two are slightly different, and it’s unlikely that naturally occurring CLA comes with adverse effects. 

So if you do decide to supplement, make sure you don’t do so constantly. You don’t want to give the CLA levels in your body a chance to build up too much, as this could lead to health problems. For further advice, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor. 

CLA in the Diet

A recommended baseline for an adult looking to supplement with CLA on a regular basis is 3.2 – 6.4 grams per day. Research shows that this can help contribute to weight loss. However, as with all supplementation for weight loss, this only works when combined with a healthy diet and caloric deficit.

Sources

https://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20040520/cla-weight-loss

https://www.hollandandbarrett.com/the-health-hub/weight-management/weight-loss/can-cla-help-lose-weight/

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/conjugated-linoleic-acid#dosage-and-safety

A Guide to Vitamin A

How Does Vitamin A Help the Body?

Vitamin A is an essential nutrient which is consumed in the diet through food. Vitamin A is also known as retinol, which indicates the primary role of the vitamin – ensuring the retina within your eyes keeps healthy. It has many other health benefits too, and is vital in helping the body fight infections. 

Benefits of Vitamin A

There are numerous benefits associated with vitamin A. It’s essential that you get enough of this vitamin in your diet, to reap the rewards! We’ve listed some of the main benefits of vitamin A below: 

Eye Health

Vitamin A helps to aid a person’s basic vision – a person with an ample amount of vitamin A is able to see more easily by dim light. A person deficient in vitamin A will likely lack sufficient rhodopsin. This is found in the retina of the eye. A person lacking in rhodopsin will struggle to see when light is dim. Due to this, vitamin A also negates the impact of age-related damage on eyesight.

Skin Health 

A deficiency in vitamin A makes a person more likely to develop skin disorders. This is largely due to vitamin A aiding in the body’s ability to remove dead skin cells. If the body is not able to do this, pores become blocked and skin will become itchy and irritated. In more serious cases, a person can develop acne, impacting a person’s self-esteem and even leading to mental health disorders. Due to this, it is not uncommon for medications to treat poor skin health to be rich in vitamin A. 

Lower Risk of Cancer

Research for this is still in its infancy. But studies carried out in recent years on vitamin A indicate regular consumption of this vitamin on a daily basis can mean a person has a decreased risk of cancers such as lung and bladder cancer. This is due to it aiding in the development of cells in the body.

Immune System 

Vitamin A helps the body fight against infections and disease and therefore strengthens the immune system, this is due to aiding in the development of white blood cells that fight infections and diseases. A person suffering from a deficiency is more likely to develop serious illnesses and take longer to recover.

Bone Health

While you may assume it would be calcium, Vitamin A is actually one of the main nutrients needed by the body to maintain healthy bones. Research indicates that a person with low levels of vitamin A is much more likely to develop fractures and bone breaks. An adolescent still developing will require vitamin A in order to grow and develop stronger bones. It is important to consider that other nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D are also important contributors to the overall condition of a person’s bones, therefore sufficient levels of all of these are required for overall bone health.

Symptoms of Vitamin A Deficiency 

Most people are easily able to get enough vitamin A in their diet. But there are a few exceptions, and certain groups of people, such as children, infants, as well as pregnant and breastfeeding women, are more at risk. If you see the following signs, you may have a vitamin A deficiency:

  • Dry skin and eyes
  • Acne and bad skin
  • Unable to see at all in reduced light
  • Delayed growth in children
  • Infertility 
  • Chest and throat infections 
  • Wounds not healing well

Most developed countries won’t see a high rate of vitamin A deficiency, but in developing nations it is more common. So if you’re an adult living in the UK, unless you’re trying for a baby or have recently given birth, the chances of having low levels of vitamin A are slim. 

Taking Too Much Vitamin A

While you’re unlikely to be deficient in vitamin A, there is a higher probability that you’ll ingest too much. According to the NHS, if you have on average 1.5mg of vitamin A a day over the course of many years, you could be putting your bones at risk. They may be more likely to fracture as you get older. 

The main cause of too much vitamin A in the diet is eating things that have high levels of the vitamin, such as liver or liver pâté, while also taking supplements or multivitamins. It’s therefore important to take your diet into consideration before taking supplements.

Vitamin A in the Diet

The recommended daily intake of vitamin A is 900mcg per day for a man and 700mcg per day for a woman. This is easily achievable through eating a balanced diet rich in vitamin A. Foods such as dairy products, eggs and some oily fish are good examples of this. A person struggling to meet these daily amounts over a long period can consider taking supplements but should also seek medical guidance and advice while considering the level of supplement to take.

Sources

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a-benefits#section5

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-a

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-a/

Why Should I Stretch Before Training?

Why is Stretching Important?

First, what exactly does stretching mean? Stretching is actually a form of physical exercise itself! It’s where a muscle, or muscle group, is moderately flexed. Typically you’d do this before, during or after exercise. Stretching allows your muscle tissue to lengthen, which comes with many benefits. We’ve explored a few of these below. 

Why Should You Stretch?

People have probably told you that it’s important to stretch. From P.E. teachers to personal trainers, everyone encourages you to stretch before, and often after exercise. But why is it so important? We’ve listed the top four reasons below:

Injury Prevention – Stretching helps to prevent possible muscle damage. This includes strains and sprains. By warming a muscle up and elongating it, through performing holds, over time this will allow muscle fibres to release stress and improve elasticity. There is therefore far less risk of injury when more strenuous exercises are carried out.

Performance – Athletes may choose to perform stretches in order to improve their performance. When exercising, muscles will contract and relax. By stretching before exercise, you can improve blood circulation to the active muscles and increase the supply of nutrients. This helps with recovery and the ability to perform at a high level for longer. 

Range of Motion – Closely linked to performance, stretching before exercise helps muscles become more pliable. The muscle can then achieve a greater range of motion. You can therefore improve your sporting performance.

Cooldown – After performing any type of exercise, it is important that you give your body enough time to recover. To help bring the heart rate down gradually, you can use stretching as a technique. This is often used to relieve aches and pains and prevent injury. At the same time, you’ll be getting blood back into a muscle that has been put under stress.

Types of Stretching

There are three main types of stretching. You’ll need to decide which method of stretching works best for you, as some are considered to be better than others! The first two methods listed are more common, but perhaps you’ve been recommended ballistic stretching before.

Static stretching – This is a form of stretching where a participant holds a position for typical 30 – 60 seconds. Static stretching allows muscles to become elasticised. However research suggests that the application of this method of stretching and doing it for long periods of time can hinder the muscle’s performance before exercise. This is because, before you even start your workout, your muscles are being put under a period of strain.

Dynamic Stretching – Usually performed for no longer than a few seconds, this allows the muscle to increase in length without suffering fatigue. Again, there is a risk though. You can cause yourself an injury if dynamic stretching is performed incorrectly or too rigorously. 

Ballistic Stretching – Sometimes considered a controversial method of stretching, this form of stretching uses quick and dynamic movements in order to warm up muscles. There is a risk of it putting strain on muscles before they are warmed up with ballistic stretching. This of course could mean possible injury.

Stretching and Wellbeing

Research not only highlights the importance of stretching for sports performers, but also for individuals in everyday life. Everyday activities such as sitting at a desk for long periods of time can contribute to tight hamstrings. This is simply because the person has not been active. Walking can then be more difficult. Injured or damaged muscles may not support your tendons and ligaments and can therefore cause injury.

Muscles can hold a lot of tension after exercise. This is particularly true at the beginning the day, when you’ve been at rest for hours, and at the end of a day, after a person has been physically active. By performing stretches, this will help you feel less stressed, which helps mental wellbeing.

People suffering from medical conditions may also be given a daily stretching routine to perform by their doctor or physio. This can help lessen the impact of the condition. Or it may simply aid the individual to live life without any discomfort. 

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stretching

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/how-to-stretch-after-exercising/

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/the-importance-of-stretching

https://people.bath.ac.uk/masrjb/Stretch/stretching_4.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/benefits-of-stretching#benefits

https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a19518988/stretch-every-day-result/

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