close up photo of raisins and dates

Intermittent Fasting – The Beginners Guide

Fasting is done for spiritual reasons by people following Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, etc. On the topic of fasting there are many of us that have either tried intermittent fasting or know somebody who has given it a go. Intermittent fasting has become one of the most popular health and fitness trends. Everybody wants to either lose weight, or simply improve their health and lifestyles!

Muslims all around the world right now are partaking in Ramadan. We want to start of by wishing all of our Muslim followers Ramadan Kareem from the Vitz team! Ramadan is a month of fasting, prayer and reflection

 This weeks blog will explain all the basics of intermittent fasting including the different types and the potential benefits.

Intermittent fasting is essentially an eating schedule which goes through cycles of fasting and eating. Intermittent fasting is not about specifying what foods are going into our bodies, but focusses on when. It is an eating pattern!

flat lay photography of vegetable salad on plate

Here are few different types of intermittent fasting :

  • 5:2 Diet – With the 5:2 method, we consume 500-600 calories on two non consecutive days of the week and then eat normally on the other 5 days.
  • 16/8 Method – This is the most popular method at the moment. Here we essentially skip breakfast and restrict eating to an 8 hour window for example 14:00 – 22:00 and then fasting for the rest of the 16 hours.
  • Eat-Stop-Eat – This method involves fasting for 24 hours twice a week. So this would mean not eating from dinner one day all the way until dinner the next day.
  • Alternate Day Fasting – This method is what it says on the tin. Fasting for 24 hours every other day.
  • The Warrior Diet – This involves eating a smaller portion of raw fruit and veg during the day and then one substantial meal for the evening.

All these methods have something in common : less calories coming into our bodies. By reducing our calorie intake, all of these methods should cause weight loss… as long as we don’t go overboard in our eating windows!

photo of a burn fat text on round blue plate

As well as weight loss, there are a few other health benefits to intermittent fasting also :

  • Weight Loss – As already mentioned, intermittent fasting can help us lose weight and belly fat!
  • Heart Health – Intermittent fasting, may reduce a few of the risk factors for heart disease such as inflammatory markers, blood sugar and insulin resistance.
  • Brain Health – Intermittent fasting increases the brain hormone BDNF as well as potentially aiding the growth of new nerve cells.
  • Fights Inflammation – Studies have shown that fasting can decrease levels of inflammation and help promote better health.
  • Healthier Lifestyle – Intermittent fasting is more efficient as there is less meal prep that needs to be done as you do not need to plan, cook or clean up as many meals as before. This makes it easier to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Of course it is also important to state intermittent fasting is not for everyone. If you are underweight or have a history of eating disorders we would strongly advise against fasting as it could be harmful.

If you suffer from diabetes or low blood sugar, fasting can lead to spikes and crashes in your blood sugar levels, which could be dangerous.

pink doughnut on white textile

There are  small changes we can make to our lifestyle if we do not want to carry out intermittent fasting but take some lessons from it :

  • Let your body burn fat in-between meals. Do this by not snacking and being active throughout the day.
  • Avoid sugars. Instead we can eat fruits, veg, beans, lean proteins, healthy fats, etc. There are so many healthy delicious foods we can consume. Lets save the sugary treats for our cheat meals!
  • Avoid eating at night time.

Intermittent fasting can be great for various different health benefits with its various different methods. The important take away is to do what works for you.

If you decide to go with a fasting method, it is key to stay well hydrated, and to ensure food is nutritious and balanced.

Please do speak to a healthcare professional or your GP before starting a new dietary regime.

adult beans beautiful black coffee

Coffee – Is it Good or Bad for us?

Coffee is something the vast majority of drink. It is not surprising that after water, coffee is the most popular drink in the world. Over 400 BILLION cups of coffee are consumed each year. In fact, I have my morning espresso helping write this blog.

In Britain alone, over one billion pounds was spent on coffee, on average we Brits drink 2 cups of coffee per day. I know this is certainly true for me with my morning espresso and my afternoon latté.

There is an art to coffee with so many different types one can choose to create from an americanos and cappuccinos to affogatos and iced lattés. The coffee aficionados among us will also tell us there is beauty in the beans whether it’s Arabica or Liberica, etc.

All this coffee is being drunk, studied, created but just how good or bad is coffee for us? Lets find out!

coffee beans

The Good Stuff :

  • Antioxidant Dynamo – Coffee’s main rival tea usually gets a lot of love for the anti oxidants it provides however coffee is no slouch in this department. It’s filled with anti oxidants which also help reduce inflammation. Coffee has plenty of hydro cinnamic acids and polyphenols that can help play a part in reducing chances for cancer/ heart disease.
  • Energy Burst – Coffee is well known to give us the energy we need as well improving our physical performance. We have all had those mornings where we are walking zombies until we have had our first cup of coffee and then all of a sudden we feel on top of the world! The boost in caffeine stimulates our nervous systems. This is done by raising our adrenaline levels and releasing fatty acids that we can use for energy. Great for the mornings or before a workout!
  • Decrease Chances of Health Conditions – Various studies have shown a positive of drinking 1 -2 cups of coffee per day can help reducing the chances of numerous diseases compared to non-coffee drinkers.
clear glass teacup with coffee beverage

The Bad Stuff :

  • Sleep Trouble – Too much coffee consumption can really have a part to play on our sleep. Even though it may seem like caffeine doesn’t impact us because we can fall asleep, the quality of the actual sleep could be affected. Drinking 1-2 cups of coffee should not impact the sleep, however 3 or more cups per day can.
  • Anxiety and Jitteriness – Taking in too much caffeine can lead to jitteriness and anxiety. We are all different so 2 cups of coffee for somebody could be the perfect amount, however for another it could be way too much. If you are sensitive to caffeine it Is best to avoid it as much as you can.
  • Withdrawal – Caffeine can be addictive to some. When people who have been using to consuming caffeine stop consuming it they can get withdrawal symptoms. These can include headaches, exhaustion, irritability, etc.
coffee brown signage

Coffee Is often given a bad rep when it comes to health and wellness. Successful people in all walks of life drink coffee. Successful authors, personal trainers, business owners, music artists, etc.

Even successful athletes drink coffee! Italian footballers love an espresso before they start their days or before training. Most notably, the elite 5 time all star Jimmy Butler the basketballer has become a coffee aficionado. Whilst leading the Miami Heat to an NBA Championship finals in the bubble, Jimmy Butler had started making his own coffee which became so popular he started selling to other athletes within the bubble! He believes coffee is so beneficial for him he developed a passion for it which has led to the creation of his coffee brand – BIG FACE COFFEE.

Coffee like most things in life is great in moderation. According to various studies, coffee can have crucial health benefits for the average person. Going off the scientific evidence, coffee is very healthy for most people.

That said it is important to say there are the negatives aspect also. We would recommend to limit how much sugar is added to the coffee to get the maximum health benefits whilst drinking 1-2 cups of coffee per day.

Our summary is if you enjoy coffee carry on drinking it! If you do not like coffee that is also fine and you can go without.

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The Power of the B Complex

Our Vitz Burst supplement (launching in May!!) is jam packed with a Vitamin B Complex as well natural green coffee bean extracts.

In this week’s Thursday blog we will be talking about why a vitamin b complex supplement is so amazing.

Firstly, we need to know what vitamins are in the B Complex :

  • Vitamin B1 : Thiamine
  • Vitamin B2 : Riboflavin
  • Vitamin B3 : Niacin
  • Vitamin B5 : Pantothenate
  • Vitamin B6 : Pyridoxine
  • Vitamin B7 : Biotin
  • Vitamin B9 : Folate
  • Vitamin B12 : Cyanocobalamin
woman turning around on green fields

These are the 8 different vitamins that belong to the B vitamin family. You may be wondering what happened to B4, B8, B10 and B11 ?! It had actually later been discovered that these substances do not have the character of vitamins which is why the numbering of the vitamins are not continuous.

Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)

Vitamin B1 is commonly known as either the “mood vitamin” or the “morale vitamin”. Studies have shown those with a higher thiamine intake are less likely to suffer from anxiety/depression – hence its reputation as a mood booster. It also contributes to lowering blood pressure and increased energy levels

Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)

Vitamin B2 is commonly known as the “immune booster” By forming antibodies it helps to strengthen our immune systems. Another great positive of riboflavin is the effect it has on the liver, as it detoxifies the liver.

Vitamin B3 (Niacin)

Vitamin B3 is key for supporting our digestive system and for maintenance of our long term gut health.  Also, vitamin B3 is great for maintaining our healthy skin and nervous system.

Vitamin B5 (Pantothenate)

Vitamin B5 is mostly known as the “energy boosting” vitamin. Vitamin B5 is great for fatigue reduction especially! In our bodies, it is so important for conversion of choline into acetylcholine. Acetylcholine,  a chemical messenger, which carries electrical impulses between our nerves and muscles, allowing our bodies to function efficiently.

Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)

Vitamin B6 is commonly known as “the growth vitamin”. In protein metabolism, vitamin B6 is particularly important during growth. Vitamin B6 is necessary for our heart, brain and liver to function properly. This vitamin also helps regulate our sleep cycle by affecting the production of melatonin and serotonin in the brain. This is amazing as it gives us an extra bounce on our step.

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Vitamin B7 (Biotin)

This is the magic vitamin for hair, skin and nails! Biotin plays an important role in the metabolism of fatty acids.  This is essential for healthy skin, hair, nerves as well as other bodily functions.

Vitamin B9 (Folic Acid)

Folic acid is great especially for women during pregnancy as they have an increased need for folic acid during this time.

Vitamin B12 (Cyanocobalamin)

Vitamin B12 is commonly used as to boost energy levels. As well as this, it is also known as a “feel-good” vitamin as it also positively affects dopamine and serotonin.  

All of these vitamins work in perfect synergy with each other which is why the B Vitamin complex is so fantastic. When they’re all working together, they can support our immune system, mood, skin, energy and sleep levels. Just makes us feel better mentally and physically!

woman playing tennis on court

The Return of (Outdoor) Sports

We’re all very excited for March 29th with outdoor sports activities returning. With Gym’s opening up again on April 12th we can say goodbye to our Joe Wicks and Chloe Ting.

Being able to participate in these activities does so much for not only our physical health but also our mental health.

Whether we are playing a game of football on a Sunday morning or going on a top golf date it is so important to get back out to give your health (mental and physical) a big boost!

silhouette of man playing golf during sunset

Research has shown that exercising for around 150 minutes per week can help with our mental health to fight anxiety and depression.

There is something that is invigorating about exercising outdoors, it is said that exercising outdoors has more benefits than exercising indoors.

Physical exercise, whether it is team sports or individual focussed sports help our bodies function better but also help our mental health condition in a big way. Team sports help us keep engaged, energised and our morale is boosted by encouragement from our team members. Individual focussed exercise is also great as it is more thought provoking and stress reliving, an example of this golf.

Another big benefit of playing sports is that it can improve our brain power making it more efficient.

Research has shown that those who play sports have an ability to filter out noise and static. This in turn allows us to process information a whole lot better in different situations. In a situation where our brain is getting a lot of different info, it will filter to make us focus on the 5% that we need.

In essence, sports can improve the way our brains process information by allowing us to focus on the info that matters. It helps us cut the waffle.

photo of man running

 While we are enjoying ourselves playing sports outside its important to be as safe and cautious as possible. We need to play it safe.

Here are some things we can do:

  • Timing – We can choose to go to the gym / play our sports at hours where the location won’t be as busy as peak hours. Avoiding locker rooms and public toilets is the best course of action.
  • Hydration – As we are nearing summer it is key to make sure we are all hydrated! It can be easy to forget about something so simple but we must stay hydrated.
  • Sharing – We have to be as safe as possible and this means restricting sharing equipment, water bottles, face masks etc.
  • Sanitise – We must continue to be as clean as possible, that means making sure we are clean. This includes any equipment that is used.
  • Nutrition – Eating fruit and veg daily s a huge benefit as they are packed in essential vitamins.
woman drinking water

Finally, exercising outdoors can mean more pressure on our bones and joints. Check out our bones and joints blog to learn more on what we can do to have optimal bone and joint health.

Vitamins K2 and D3 are essential for great bone health. Make sure to supplement these to support your bones in the best possible way.