Yes, we all love it – and there’s plenty of it to be bought right now, direct from The Cheeseman – the delicious, Cortina brand, in a range of divine flavours. It’s real dairy ice cream too – the healthiest kind. Dairy has been getting a lot of good press in the past few years, and as more and more studies are completed, more weight gets added to the argument that eating some dairy every day is an absolute must. Less weight, however, will get added to your waistline! It seems that not only are dairy products essential for the provision of vitamins and minerals, most especially calcium, they are also highly beneficial in maintaining a slender figure. This makes ice cream a healthy option all round. It’s a real, sweet treat, yet it’s packed with vitamins, minerals, protein and natural energy. It isn’t even a high calorie food. Half a cup, or 75 grams, of vanilla ice cream, contains just 145 calories. That’s hardly a hefty amount! We’re not suggesting that you eat it by the litre without any regard. We are suggesting that treating yourself to ice cream is definitely viable even if you’re actively slimming, and if you’re not – no harm done. Because, in the process of enjoying this popular treat, you’ll be gaining a number of significant and proven health benefits.
Calcium, for a start, is a powerhouse of such benefits, and in particular, recent research has found in numerous studies, that calcium actually helps you shed fat specifically around the tummy area. Not just in this spot, though. Calcium will help you shed more weight, and faster, all round, than those whose diets contain little of it – so the various studies have proved. So, eating some dairy products every day, and hence, calcium, is definitely going to help you in your trimming down efforts, both round the belly, and everywhere! It also helps you maintain muscle mass while you are slimming down – and this is important, no doubt about it. When trimming your waistline, the last thing you want to be eating up is your own muscle mass! You want to be burning fat, not precious lean muscles. Calcium is still best known for building bones, but it has so much more to offer. It helps control blood pressure, reduces the risk of colon cancer, and lowers the chances of developing kidney stones.
Getting some regular vigorous exercise, even twenty minutes a day – brisk walking, swimming, running, cycling – and cutting back in a sensible way on food intake, is the obvious way to lose a few pounds. But maintaining weight loss once one’s ideal weight has been attained, is a challenge. Various recent research studies suggest that consuming calcium rich dairy foods helps prevent those lost pounds from creeping back. Those on diets low in dairy and calcium tend to regain weight quickly once they revert to normal eating. Those taking regular dairy foods, keep the pounds off. Calcium may be a big help in dropping pounds, but actual dairy foods are twice as effective as calcium alone in augmenting weight loss. With the same level of calorie restriction, you’ll lose approximately twice as much weight and twice as much fat on a dairy-rich diet, and you’ll also preserve more lean body mass.
Furthermore, when you don’t get enough calcium, your body responds by releasing hormones to maintain calcium levels, including calcitriol. This hormone has an effect on fat cells, sending signals to activate the genes involved in making more fat out of sugar, and slowing fat breakdown. Living with high calcitriol levels, which result when calcium intake is low, is like living on high adrenaline all the time. Too much calcitriol can cause the walls of the small arteries to constrict, spelling bad news for blood pressure.
In a recent study on osteoporosis in a sample of 800 women in the USA, the women with the lowest calcium intake were most likely to be obese, while those with the highest were most likely to be of normal weight – and those who had the highest calcium intake did not gain weight in midlife. The level of calcium intake that predicted zero weight gain was 1 000 to 1 300 milligrams a day. So go for it! Include delicious Cortina ice cream in your diet.