Milk is a nutritional powerhouse. It contains nine essential minerals and vitamins. Besides calcium, it provides:
- Potassium for healthy blood pressure, fluid balance, and muscle contractions
- Phosphorous works together with calcium for strong bones
- Vitamin A maintains healthy skin and immune system, also for night vision
- Vitamin D promotes absorption and use of calcium and phosphorus
- Riboflavin helps produce energy in all body cells
- Vitamin B-12 together with folate makes red blood cells and plays role in cell growth and division
- Niacin helps body's enzymes function properly
- Protein needed to build, maintain and repair muscle
Although we don't have a complete understanding of just why calcium is such a potent fat-buster, scientists are closing in on the reason. Restricting calcium (not uncommon when women are dieting) sets the body up to preserve what calcium it does have. Low calcium sets up a hormonal response that ups fat storage and also slows down fat breakdown for energy. Bottom line: More calcium means less fat stored and more fat burned!
So do the calcium supplements you're taking for strong bones also work for weight loss? Not exactly. The calcium found in milk is nearly twice as powerful as calcium pills for preventing fat storage and tripping the fat loss switch. Although the research is preliminary, it appears that the package of nutrients found in milk work all together for lasting weight loss.
To lose weight and body fat, nutrition experts recommend trimming 500 calories a day from your usual diet, limiting fat to about 30 percent of your total calories, boosting your calcium intake to at least 1000 milligrams a day, and adding physical activity throughout the day.
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