How well do you know your ABCs when it comes to vitamins A, B and C? Take our quiz to upgrade your foodie brain – and boost your energy, workouts and wellbeing while you’re at it, too.
What can help with DOMS?
A daily dose of ginger can reduce post-exercise muscle pain by 25 per cent, found the University of Georgia. As well as the ability to relieve stomach upset and nausea, ginger contains compounds shown to curb inflammation, reduce oxidative stress and modulate other healing mechanisms within the body. Let your foam roller know that it has a new partner in crime.
Taking vitamin D throughout a tough training regimen will help prevent…
a. Your bones from breaking
b. Your muscles from aching
c. Your bowels from evacuating
According to the Journal Of Foot & Ankle Surgery (where’s your subscription?), by upping your bone density, vitamin D can reduce the risk of stress fractures when you do high-impact exercise. Your main source of vitamin D is sunlight, though small amounts are found in foods such as fatty fish, eggs, meat and some fortified products. Guidelines only recommend supplementation if you have a vit D deficiency, so ask your GP or pharmacist for advice if worried.
If you’d like a bit more pedal power, try some…
a. Dandelion root extract
b. Decaffeinated green tea extract
c. Grapeseed extract
A study by the UK’s Anglia Ruskin University and University of Hertfordshire found that cyclists went 10.9 per cent further over one hour after four weeks of taking decaffeinated green tea extract. Why? Their bodies burned more fat as fuel, preserving their glycogen reserves for a better performance.
Too much vitamin D can be toxic
The good news, according to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, is that toxicity from too much vitamin D supplementation is rare. It’s generally associated with large doses over a prolonged period of time, not sun exposure or dietary sources.
Calcium supplements up bone strength by…
a. 2 per cent
b. 20 per cent
c. 200 per cent
While calcium is needed for strong bones, a daily pill will only strengthen them by 2 per cent, says the British Medical Journal. Prioritise the likes of milk and tofu, as well as green leafy vegetables, nuts
and canned fish such as sardines for your calcium quota. Supps are recommended in some cases, but speak with your doc about what’s best for you.
What’s a great partner for the vitamin C in your citrus juice?
a. Green juice
b. Green tea
c. Black coffee
Vitamin C helps your body squeeze out green tea’s antioxidants, found 2007 Purdue University research, while coffee blocks the absorption of key nutrients
Natural remedies don’t come with any health risks?
Natural doesn’t always mean safe. Many herbal supplements can interfere with other medications, such as St John’s Wort, which may help lift a low mood but can also reduce the effectiveness of
the contraceptive pill. Always consult your GP first.
You can’t have too much beta carotene
It’s the nutrient that makes carrots orange, and is a powerful antioxidant, but a 2015 University of Colorado study found that over-supplementation may increase risk of lung cancer and heart disease by 20 per cent. Get it from natural sources, like carrots, sweet potatoes and kale.
What should you reach for if you’re suffering from allergies?
b. Vitamin C
Answer: a Probiotics may help to alleviate symptoms of hay fever and other nose-based allergies, say researchers at Vanderbilt University, Nashville. That said, they caution that more research is needed and probiotics shouldn’t replace your usual remedy meds. You know the sneezy drill: check in with your pharmacist or GP. Bless you!
Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to…
Answer: A AND b
Your body turns vitamin D into a hormone needed to produce high-quality eggs, according to a 2014 study published by the Endocrine Society, while a University of Sheffield team found that 82 per cent of IBS sufferers they tested were vit D deficient. Seek out a dietitian or specialist for advice on both.
Taking vitamin C can reduce your chances of catching a cold by…
a. 3 per cent
b. 30 per cent
c. 300 per cent
Cochrane Library analysed 72 studies and found that a vitamin C supp a day does little to keep the sniffles away, and it only lessens the duration of a common cold by 8 per cent. Spend your money on vitamin C-rich mandarins and capsicum instead.
Folic acid and other B vitamins are good for brain health
These supps have long been thought to protect against memory loss in old age. But a 2014 study in the journal Neurology found that two years of supplementation had no positive effect on cognitive function. During pregnancy, folic acid is a must for your growing baby’s development – but if you’re not pregnant or planning to be, there’s probably no need to take a supp (ask your doc or a dietitian for advice). High-folate foods include fortified cereals, green vegies and legumes.
Vitamin B12 supplements can help with your acne flare-up
A study in Science Translational Medicine found that vitamin B12 tweaks how genes behave in facial bacteria, prompting the bacteria commonly linked to acne to start pumping out inflammatory molecules that can trigger a breakout. Best to speak with
a dermatologist about how to manage any
Which of these can boost energy?
If your magnesium levels are low, you’ll use more oxygen when active, meaning your body has to work harder and you’ll tire sooner, according to research published in the Journal Of Nutrition. Aim for 270mg in your diet per day (130g of spinach contains about 150mg).
Cranberry capsules can lower your risk of urinary tract infection by how much?
a. 10 per cent
b. 15 per cent
c. 20 per cent
It’s estimated that nearly two-thirds of women will suffer with a UTI in their lifetime, so it’s worth taking precautionary measures. However, a BMJ study found that once you have an attack, cranberry juice can’t help. It’s just like your mum always said: prevention is much better than cure.
Which of these nutrients may help if your libido is low?
If you’re feeling about as sexy as a toilet brush, up your iron intake. A study in the Journal Of Sexual Medicine says not getting enough can make you feel anxious and tired – both key issues in female sexual dysfunction. Look to iron-rich foods such as meat, fish, wholegrains and legumes, and check with a pro if you think you’re low.
Which office woes could vitamin B help prevent?
a. Crying in the toilets
b. Getting annoyed at the mild-mannered IT guy
c. Reaching the end of your tether in the long line waiting for the printer to work (again)
Answer: All three of them
if you’re feeling the strain of your 9 to 5, you may be lacking in B vitamins. After 90 days of supplementation, subjects in a study by The University of Swinburne reported a 20 per cent decrease in job-related stress. Or appeal to your boss. That can work wonders, as well.
Cobalamin is essential for your body to tick like clockwork. By what name is it better known?
b. Vitamin B12
This hardworking wonder vitamin sustains your physical, emotional and mental energy. And a Nutrition Research paper suggests it’s crucial in old age for guarding against dementia and reducing your risk of stroke. Vegans take note – it’s only naturally found in meat, fish and dairy products, so consider B12-fortified foods (think: some soy milks, yeast spread and vegetarian meat substitutes) or ask your doctor about a supplement.
Omega-3 can help you get more…
Omega-3 can help you get more…
a. Hot sex
b. Good friends
c. Sound sleep
After four months of supplementation, children in an Oxford University study slept for longer with fewer disturbances. The lead professor believes the results would be the same for adults, so jump back to page 30 for your best foodie sources. Time to sleep like a baby.
A trusty multivitamin will totally compensate for that sugar overload
That would be good, wouldn’t it? Alas, there exists no supplement that works as a universal antidote to less-than-perfect lifestyle choices – multivitamins included. However, given that a review of studies in the Nutrition Journal found that regular multivitamin users tend to eat a balanced diet, exercise frequently and not smoke, chances are that a blue-moon Maccas binge won’t do your health any significant harm.