You also need more fiber. Fiber increases the energy usage of digestion. If you eat more fibers rich food, you use more calories. For example, if you eat 24 grams of fiber a day, it uses extra 90 calories a day and it may result in up to 9 pounds of weight loss after one year. Vegetables, fruits, and unprocessed grains are good sources of fibers, but if you cannot get enough, you may want to depend on fiber supplements. Although it is costly, it is worth it. One problem you may encounter is that if you are not used to take fiber supplement, you will have a gas problem. You may want to start with small amounts and gradually increase it, or take a “gas problem free” fiber supplement, though it is quite expensive. I prefer to buy fruit for that price!
Eating a balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, meats, fish, daily products, and gains, most of us can get enough vitamins and minerals. If you are not getting enough of them, however, it is hard to lose weight and keep a healthy body, and you may need to rely on supplements. Ideally, we want to get everything from food, but it is not easy. Probably you are already taking some types of supplements such as vitamin C or a multivitamin. That is good, but if you take huge quantities of many different supplements blindly it could harm your health instead of helping.
Three vitamins/minerals that women need to pay special attention to are Vitamin D, calcium, and iron. It is well known that most of us are Vitamin D deficient, and need to rely on the supplement. It is essential for the formation of bones and if you don’t have enough, your bones may get brittle. It is also known that vitamin D deficiency causes weakness of muscle. Recent studies also indicate that the deficiency may be related to increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cognitive impairment in older adults, severe asthma in children, and cancer.
Although both men and women suffer from osteoporosis, women are at a higher risk after menopause. If you don’t have enough calcium (and Vitamin D) in the body, it is very difficult to create strong bones. Most women don’t recognize the symptoms until they actually break a bone. Of course, just taking extra calcium does not help to create strong bones. You need to do weight baring exercise to make bones stronger. The calcium is also used for other functions in the body such as sending signals in the nervous system. If there is not enough calcium in the blood stream, calcium is actually extracted from the bones. This accelerates the bone loss.
Because of menstruation, women tend to lose iron far more than men. That is why some women get anemia. However, they tend to be under-weight rather than over-weight women, and if you are worrying about losing weight, probably you don’t need to worry about it. In fact, if you have too much iron in the body, it may cause some types of cognitive problems.
Since the symptoms from deficiencies of vitamins and minerals in our body are very subtle, to find what you are missing, you need to visit a doctor and ask for a blood test. Your doctor will tell you what to take after the blood test. After 6 months or so, you may want to do the blood test again to see whether the problems are solved or not. You don’t want to keep taking extra vitamins or minerals; they could harm you if you have more than you need.
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