2. Calcium & Vitamin D
Strive for three servings of calcium- and vitamin D-rich foods a day. These nutrients often occur together in foods, especially dairy.
Calcium and vitamin D work together in your body, primarily to strengthen your bones. But if the latest research is any indication, both of these nutrients may flex some muscle in your weight loss success. Dairy foods are the prime source of calcium and vitamin D in the diet. In a study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, college students who came closest to meeting the three-a-day dairy requirement while eating an otherwise healthy diet weighed less, gained less, and actually lost belly fat, compared with students who consumed little or no dairy.
Moreover, vitamin D by itself may play a role in weight control. Extra body fat holds on to vitamin D so that the body can’t use it. This perceived deficiency interferes with the action of the hormone leptin, whose job is to tell your brain that you’re full. And if you can’t recognize when you’re satiated, you’re more likely to overeat.
You may also want to consider a vitamin D supplement. The latest research suggests that this nutrient may be a factor in protecting you from everything from heart disease to memory loss and even chronic pain. Evidence is mounting that we need more than the current recommended intakes, especially as we age, because older skin produces less vitamin D (and sunscreens block the body’s ability to use sunlight to produce this vitamin). That’s why the leading experts in vitamin D research are now recommending a daily supplement of 1,000 IU of vitamin D—the kind most readily used by the body.
Daily Recommended Calcium Intake
Men and women ages 19-50: 1,000 milligrams
Men and women age 51+: 1,200 milligrams
Daily Recommended Vitamin D Intake
Men and women ages 19-50: 200 IU
Men and women ages 51-70: 400 IU
Men and women age 71+: 600 IU