Four fat-fighting nutrients for better health

Published 10:00 pm Thursday, January 26, 2017

While it’s true we need a full spectrum of nutrients for our good health, I’d like to share with you four nutrients that will not only make you healthier, but also help fight fat.

The first nutrient is calcium. Scientists aren’t really sure how calcium helps burn fat, but researchers at the University of Tennessee found that obese people who went on a low-calorie diet that contained three servings of calcium-rich foods lost 70 percent more weight than those who ate just one serving of calcium-rich foods a day.

Good sources of calcium are fat-free milk products, spinach, kale, broccoli and white beans. If you decide to take a calcium supplement, I recommend 1200-1500 mg. a day. If you choose calcium carbonate, it should be taken with food. If you choose calcium citrate, take it on an empty stomach. Choose one or the other, not both. 

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The next fat-fighting nutrient is omega-3 fatty acids. According to the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who ate a balanced diet including omega-3s lost one more pound of torso fat than women on the same diet, but minus the omega-3s. Omega-3s slow your rate of digestion, which makes you feel fuller longer. This helps you eat fewer calories. Omega-3s also reduce inflammation, a major risk factor for diabetes, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, heart disease, migraines, stroke, thyroid disease, dental issues and cancer.

Good sources of omega-3s include enriched eggs, tofu, shrimp, walnuts, salmon, tuna, flax and flax seed oil.

The next fat-fighting nutrient is fiber. Fiber is a great addition to your diet, because high fiber foods are nutrient-rich, filling and low in calories. According to a University of Minnesota study, individuals who stuck to high fiber diets lost two to three pounds more per month than those who ate lower-fiber diets.

Fiber also triggers hormones that control appetite. Good fiber sources include whole grain breads, brown rice, oatmeal, oat bran, apples, carrots, pears, beans, and artichokes.

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that also helps fight fat by helping to speed up your metabolism. In addition, B12 increases hemoglobin in the blood. Hemoglobin helps red blood cells transport oxygen to all parts of the body. This helps produce energy to help you exercise.

Good sources of B12 include nutritional yeast, B12 fortified dairy, and eggs. Be careful though if you choose to take a B12 supplement. Taking too much of one B vitamin will rob you of the other B vitamins. For this reason, I recommend you take your B vitamins in the form of a B complex supplement.

Nutrition or exercise question? Email me at David Crocker of Landrum has been a nutritionist and master personal trainer for 29 years. He served as strength director of the Spartanburg Y.M.C.A., head strength coach for the USC Spartanburg baseball team, S.C. state champion girl’s gymnastic team, and the Converse College equestrian team. He served as lead trainer to L.H. Fields modeling agency and taught for four semesters at USC Union. David was also a regular guest of the Pam Stone radio show.