You may have noticed that in honour of ‘Ask a Question’ month, we are running a weekly Q&A on all of our social channels. Each week we have been diving into some of our most asked questions, from water consumption to the best vitamins to take to maintain a healthy immune system. This blog post dives into some of our most frequently asked questions, with a real focus on the detail.
Do I really need to drink 8 glasses of water per day?
Bearing in mind that the human body is made up of 60% water, the importance of hydration cannot be underestimated. We are constantly losing water, mainly through sweat and urine, and if you’re exercising or live in a hot country this will be increased.
Government recommendations are to drink around eight 8-ounce glasses, or around 2 litres per day and for good reason.
Even mild dehydration can affect appetite, energy levels, mood and concentration. If weight loss is a goal, research shows that drinking 500ml of water can temporarily boost the metabolism by around 25% and aiming for 2 litres can help you burn an additional 96 calories per day!
Water is crucial for our overall health, and particularly beneficial for the digestive system and our skin. Thankfully we have an inbuilt system that helps to tell us when we need to top up, so if you’re feeling thirsty, don’t ignore it!
Why is Vitamin D so important?
Every single cell in our body has receptors for vitamin D making it arguably the most significant vitamin for overall health. Vitamin D is actually a hormone produced in our skin in response to sunlight and has a wide-ranging effect on the body. Vitamin D helps to maintain bone density by encouraging the absorption of calcium, it supports the immune system, helps to protect nerve cells and support brain health, balance our sex hormones and plays a role in healthy digestion. Unlike most vitamins it is impossible to get enough through diet alone and in the UK, due to the position of the earth we simply don’t have access to enough daylight hours in order to produce adequate levels in our skin so it is crucial to keep levels topped up.
If you have darker skin you have additional reason to top up as higher levels of melanin reduce the skin’s ability to produce vitamin D.
Is it ok to eat junk food if I take vitamins?
In a nutshell – no. Sadly, you can’t expect to eat rubbish and top up with vitamins. Vitamins do not work in isolation and it’s far more beneficial to eat a varied diet than rely on supplementation. Eating whole foods in their natural form rather than processed and packaged by the supermarket or fast food outlets means that the wide range of nutrients in our food are able to work synergistically with our bodies, maximising our ability to absorb and assimilate all their nutritional goodness. However, we can’t cook from scratch all the time and it’s important to be realistic, aiming for an 80/20 rule works for most people and means you can have a treat now and again safe in the knowledge that for the most part your diet is giving you all the nourishment you need.
However, life is busy, eating on the go is common and stress is unavoidable so consuming vitamins through drinks or supplements can definitely help to give you a boost.
Are there any vitamins that can help me lose weight?
Certain nutrients can definitely be helpful when trying to lose weight. B vitamins play a key role in a healthy functioning metabolism, helping to break down carbohydrates, fats and protein and release energy from our food. B vitamins are multi-functional and work best as a complex.
The role of vitamin D is not clear-cut but we do know that a lack of vit D can contribute to feelings of low mood which might lead us to the biscuit tin! In this respect adequate levels of vitamin D may help to control appetite and cravings.
One of the key roles of iron is oxygenating the blood, helping to create energy from the nutrients we consume as well as carrying oxygen to our muscles and encouraging them to burn fat.
Magnesium is not a vitamin but a mineral, involved in over 300 enzymatic processes in the body and another key player to keep energy levels steady. You may like to think about increasing your magnesium intake if you’re hitting the gym more regularly, not just to help with energy but to ease muscle cramps, aid recovery and encourage relaxation as well, try bathing in magnesium salts post-workout.
Again, not vitamins but important nutrients for weight loss are L-carnitine and chromium. L-carnitine is an amino acid which helps to transport fatty acids from food into our cells and fuel our built in ‘powerhouses’ – the mitochondria, where they are burned for energy. Chromium, a mineral, contributes to macronutrient metabolism and the maintenance of normal blood sugar levels, helping to avoid peaks and troughs, ensuring a steady stream of energy and a more balanced appetite.
If you’ve got a burning question you’d like to ask us, message us directly on any of our social channels and a member of our team will be happy to answer.