Motivation is hard to come by during winter months. Chilly mornings and short days make most of us crave warmth and comfort over putting our health first. The pounds pile on and then, when spring arrives, mojo can be difficult to come by.
When it comes to weight loss during the winter, making sure you have plenty of vitamin C in your diet will do wonders, for both weight loss and your immune system. A powerful antioxidant, cell repairer and metabolism booster, vitamin C can no longer be ignored.
The Many Health Benefits of Vitamin C
Vitamin C isn’t your average vitamin — it is essential for your body to function correctly. Without it, your immune system would fail, your eyesight would suffer, and the much-needed iron that keeps your red blood cells happy would fail to be absorbed into the body.
From the very proteins that hold your skin together (collagen) to your cartilage and bones, vitamin C really does make your body’s world go round.
So where does weight loss fit in? At a glance, vitamin C’s impact on weight loss isn’t determined by taking the vitamin alone. A 2005 study discovered that vitamin C intake, when combined with exercise, allowed subjects to oxidize 30% more fat during exercise. In a nutshell, the reaction between vitamin C and exercise increases your metabolism’s ability to breakdown fat in your body.
The same study went on to conclude that “higher vitamin C intakes are associated with lower body mass indexes.” When your body lacks or is deficient in vitamin C, your weight and body fat loss could be affected.
Look at Your Diet
Vitamin C is an extraordinary vitamin, which is also known as ascorbic acid. Surprisingly, vitamin C is not made in your body, so you have to find ways to get it into your system. Don’t worry though; foods rich in vitamin C can do all the work for you, as long as you remember to include them in your day-to-day.
To boost your weight loss during the winter months, a balanced, healthy diet is key to your success. Here is a breakdown of vitamin C rich foods to give you the best start:
- Citrus fruits: oranges, orange juice, lemons, limes, grapefruit
- Berries: strawberries, blueberries
- Guava, papaya
- Brussel sprouts
- Bell peppers
Like all things, vitamin C comes with a recommended dietary allowance. According to the Institute of Medicine, men should have 90 milligrams daily, and women should have 75 milligrams per day.
When your immune system needs an extra boost and your diet alone is not providing you with enough nutrients, a daily supplement can be taken.
Know Your Limits
Too much vitamin C in your diet can be detrimental to your body’s ability to absorb other essential nutrients. The side effects can be painful and cause abdominal cramps, diarrhea, sickness and nausea.
Adults should be consuming no more than 2,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily to avoid any potential health risks.
Although rare in the modern world, vitamin C deficiency is still possible. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, “people who get little or no vitamin C (below 10mg a day) for many weeks can get scurvy.” If not treated, scurvy can be fatal. So know the signs:
- Extreme fatigue and tiredness
- Inflamed, swollen or bleeding gums
- Loosening or the loss of teeth
- Small red or purple spots on the skin – particular on the shins
- Joint pain
- Wounds take a long time to heal
- Corkscrew hairs
If you are experiencing one or more of the symptoms above, get in touch with your doctor or GP immediately.
Although powerful and incredibly essential to your daily life, vitamin C will not make you lose weight by itself. If your calorie intake is higher than the number of calories you burn throughout the day, you are very unlikely to see the results you want.
To avoid the extra calories, relying on a vitamin C-rich, high fiber diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables will boost your weight loss success.
Ready to beat the bulge? Safe weight loss during the winter months isn’t only possible, but you can do it well. Vitamin C and exercise are the most powerful weapon in your weight loss journey.
Natalie Volokhina is a fitness trainer and mom, who’s dedicated to creating and working with content, sharing unique experiences and cases. Writes about lifestyle and wellness, immune system health, parenting and nutrition.