Summer is here, on and off, so I thought it was time for a few facts about Vitamin D and the sunshine!
You've probably heard about Vitamin D and it being something to do with the sun but possibly not sure what the connection is and what it means.
Vitamin D has many functions in the body such as helping form strong bones and teeth (a lack of vitamin D can lead to bone deformities in children known as rickets.) It also appears to protect against cancer and MS and is needed for calcium and phosphorus absorption.
The body creates Vitamin D from direct sunlight on the skin when outdoors, so between April to October in the UK most people should be able to get all their Vitamin D from sunlight. It is not known exactly how long you need to spend in direct sunlight to get enough Vitamin D as it varies depending on skin colour and how much skin you have exposed. However, don't forget, the longer you spend in direct sunlight, the higher your risk of developing skin cancer.
Between October and March in the UK we don't get enough Vitamin D from sunlight so have to get it form other sources.
During this time we get our Vitamin D from pastured whole eggs, liver, seafood, fortified foods and cod liver oil. Another source is supplements and this is recommended for some people including young infants and children and minority ethnic groups with dark skin.
However taking too many of these supplements over time can have a counterintuitive effect. For most people 10mcg is enough, but if too much is taken, calcium can start to build up in the body (hypercalcaemia) which can weaken bones and damage the kidneys and heart. Remember, always consult your doctor before taking supplements as it may not be suitable for some people.
Vitamin D has even been shown to help regulate moods and those with a Vitamin D deficiency as twice as likely to suffer depression. In one study, scientists found that people with depression who took these supplements noticed an improvement in their symptoms.
I hope you've found this interesting, learned something new and don't forget to come back again soon for more informative blog posts.
If you're interested in personal training with a Level 3 PT with Nutritional Advisor qualifications, then get in touch on the contact page above and we can start your journey together!
At the moment I am loving all the delicious fresh fruit and refreshing salads so I thought I'd write a blog about the benefits of it!
Fruits are a naturally occurring 'simple unrefined carbohydrate'. They contain fructose and glucose (sugar), vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, high levels of dietary fibre and are also relatively cheap and convenient!
Fibre comes in two forms, insoluble and soluble. Most fruits are in the form of insoluable non-starch polysaccharides (fibre). Fibre doesn't actually provide any energy for the body, but instead its role is to aid in transportation of food through the digestive tract.
Most of the vitamins found in fruits are Vitamin B Complex and Vitamin C. The first works to promote healthy nerves, skin, eyes, hair, liver and muscle mass as well as regulating metabolism, preventing fatigue and maintaining fertility. The latter supports the immune system, helps in the healing of wounds, aids tissue growth and repair as well as the formation of collagen and connective tissue, strengthens capillary walls and is a powerful antioxidant.
The energy in foods can't be released without certain vitamins and when it comes to carbohydrates, B vitamins are the most important as without them we couldn't utilise that energy!
The one thing to bare in mind when eating more fruit, especially if your goal is weight loss, is that it has a high sugar content, however, don't let this stop you increasing your fruit intake. There are some ways of reducing this by making different choices, for example, some research shows that green apples contain less sugar and more fibre than red apples. If you're currently eating a lot of 'refined simple carbohydrates', or processed foods, such as biscuits, cakes, confectionary and soft drinks, then a swap for fruit will be greatly beneficial as you'll now be getting all the vitamins and minerals that you wont get in the processed foods!
Extra: Keep in mind that when consuming processed foods that aren't nutrient-dense, we are taking on that energy without the vitamins to utilise the energy in them! This type of food is sometimes referred to as the 'anti-nutritent'.
I hope this has been informative and shown you the wonderful benefits of eating fresh, natural, fruit and vegetables! As always if you have any questions please comment below, and if you're interested in personal training then get in contact on the 'contact' page!
,I'm not one for drinking protein shakes very often, but sometimes after an early morning training session I will whizz one up for a protein hit post workout, especially if I am craving chocolate!
I have tried making them in so many ways, but this is definitely the best and my absolute favourite! It's so thick and creamy and comparable to a McDonalds Milkshake for those reasons so here it is, my favourite Chocolate Milkshake recipe:
1 Scoop of Whey Protein - I use the Extreme Milk Chocolate from Optimum Nutrition
1 Frozen Banana
200ml Unsweetened Almond Milk or Skimmed Cows Milk
15g Meridian Almond Butter (if using Almond Milk I don't add it)
5 Ice Cubes
Put it all in a food processor and blend until thick, creamy and ready to drink...or eat with a spoon!
Easy peasy and a really quick, delicious way of getting a bit more protein into your diet!
A lot of people consider nuts to be a great snack, and a healthy alternative to their usual processed high fat foods, and they do have many benefits as outlined below. However, you have to be aware of their high calorie and high fat content.
A portion of nuts is probably a lot smaller than you think. Have a look at the picture above, would you guess 100 calories to be only 3 Brazil nuts? I'm guessing not. It's always good to be aware of portion recommendations as it's very easy to eat a large quantity of nuts in one sitting. However, this could be where those extra calories are sneaking in, and could explain why you're not losing weight.
If you consider your diet to be very good, you're exercising regularly but not losing weight, but you are snacking on nuts, check how many you're eating. Don't necessarily cut them out, just stick to a smaller portion.
Here are some of the benefits of eating nuts:
1. Walnuts contain the most antioxidants of all the nuts and are great at protecting the body from the cellular damage that contributes to some serious diseases, cancer and ageing. They also have the highest Omega 3 content which fight inflammation. Not only that, but if you're struggling with PMS symptoms, the Manganese in Walnuts may help reduce this!
2. Cashews are most rich in Zinc and Iron. Iron can help prevent Anemia and Zinc is essential for healthy vision and a good immune system. On top of that they're also high in Magnesium which may improve memory!
3. Almonds contain the most fiber and are the richest in Vitamin E, and are a good choice of snack in moderation if trying to lose weight. They are less calorie dense which means you can enjoy more of them!
4. Pecans have been found to considerably lower LDL cholersterol levels and reduce plaque formation in the arteries therefore improving heart health! The Vitamin E found in Pecans may delay progression of degenerative neurological diseases.
5. A single Brazil nut contains more than 100% of our daily Selenium, a mineral which may help prevent some cancers. However, keep in mind consuming high levels of Selenium may be harmful, so stick to one portion.
6. Macadamia nuts are the most calorie dense. They contain the highest level of monounsaturated fat and this type of fat is known to reduce LDL cholesterol and blood pressure.
7. Pistachios are the least calorie dense with only 4 calories per nut. They are a great source of Potassium a mineral essential for a healthy nervous system, as well as Vitamin B6 which lifts your mood. Not only that but they slow your eating pace as you have to remove each nut from the shell.
8. Hazelnuts are an all around nut. Just like some of the others, they contain high levels of monounsaturated fats and Vitamin E.
I get told time and time again that 'I don't have time to exercise' or 'I don't have time to cook healthy meals', but how can this be possible?
It's so common to find women who hate other women nowadays, and it's such a shame. Some women, or girls, perceive other females to be competition, and as a result they aren't always very kind.
"A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle"
In other words, by giving kindness, praise and help to another woman, you will not lose anything yourself. It will not make your successes any less, you will not lose out by supporting others. The only change is the positive effect it will have on them.
Girl Power is all about creating a community of women supporting and uplifting each other. Let's create an environment that celebrates every one of us in every way by joining together and praising our achievements and successes.
It's so important to create a nurturing environment where we can learn and grow and in turn reach our goals and beyond.
Other women shouldn't be a threat to you, and you shouldn't feel as though you have to compete. One small act of kindness can go a long way, and while it's better to say nothing at all rather than something nasty, it would be better still if we could all say something nice.
Pay someone a compliment, give them a smile as you pass them in the street or show kindness in some other way. It doesn't need to be big, but it does need to happen.
One person at a time, we can make a change, and create the Girl Power community celebrating each and every one of us together.
When it comes to successfully losing weight or improving your fitness levels and health long term it can be the small changes that make a difference, so here are my top swaps to help you successfully change your lifestyle for the better:
We are always being told how good water is for us and how we should drink more of it. I happen to love drinking water and have no problems in drinking plenty throughout the day but I know a lot of people find that really hard.
So how much water should we be drinking?
National guidelines suggest 6 - 8 glasses a day, but this can be confusing. How big are the glasses? How full are they? Various organisations will have different answers. For example, the NHS recommend 1.2L a day, whereas some studies have proven 2L is correct and some say 3L! It depends totally on your body, and what it needs as we are all different. It's always wise to remember that we take in a lot of fluid from eating food, however that isn't adequate alone.
There are lots of products out there to help you drink more water and one of my favourites are the HydrateM8 bottles below.
They're motivational, pretty and really clear to understand. As long as you make sure you drink when you're supposed to according to the lines and times on the back, you should have no problem tracking your water intake and therefore ensuring you are staying hydrated!
Another great way to encourage water intake is by adding healthy flavours. For example, I love lemon slices in my water. It tastes delicious and I totally forget it's water! You can even buy 'Fruit Infusing' water bottles so it couldn't be any easier.
Let me know how you like to drink your water and any other products you use to drink more. There's many useful tools out there to help, so no more excuses, start drinking now!
Girl Power are Women's Personal Training Specialists in Burgess Hill offering Personal Training in a Private Studio.
Everyday women come up to me saying they would like to tone up, get fit and try lifting weights, but the men in the gym and free weight area intimidate them, and it puts them off.
A lot of women find it embarrassing trying new things that put them out of their comfort zone, especially in front of men in the gym and that's why Girl Power was formed.
I am passionate about teaching women how to lift weights, get fit and try the exercises they want to try without any pressure or embarrassment.
Our Personal Training Studio is completely private, taking away any insecurities and embarrassment, and is a nurturing place to learn new things.
During One to One sessions we will be the only two people in the studio, so you'll feel safe and secure and more relaxed when exercising.
If you're a woman wanting to be trained by a women in a private environment that's just for you and other like minded women, click on the contact page and get in touch.